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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Surrogacy gives birth to ethical issues

By Fei Erzi (China Daily)

16:02, December 28, 2011

A friend of mine, in her late 40s, has just had two babies. Well strictly speaking someone else had them for her. She and her husband hired a young, able-bodied woman from a village in South China to be a surrogate mother, who was sent back to her home after the two baby girls were born early this year.

A wealthy couple in South China's Guangdong province went so far as to commission two surrogate mothers this year and now they have eight babies five by the surrogate mothers.

It's mind-blowing, and the advancements in biomedical technology have brought dramatic upheavals to traditional concepts and values and raised many legal, ethical and social questions.

Medical institutions and medical workers in China are prohibited from conducting any kind of surrogacy treatments under the regulation on human-assisted reproductive technologies issued by the Ministry of Health in 2001.

The regulation decrees that the technologies shall be restricted to medical establishments for medical sake and conform with China's family planning policy and ethical values.

The prohibitions, however, are openly flaunted.

Initially, surrogate mothers were used by couples where the woman was unable to give birth for some reason, or because they had lost their only child and the woman was now too old to give birth.

This is not the case now.

There are a number of wealthy women, who do not want to disrupt their careers by having a baby. They are ambitious and give priority to their professional interest over their family. There are some who are worried about ruining their figures by becoming pregnant. These women want children but don't want the pregnancy. Surrogacy serves as an ideal solution for them. They get a ready-made child without undergoing the pains of giving birth to one.

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