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Why surrogacy business flourishes despite ban?

By Wang Qi (People's Daily)

16:03, February 10, 2012

Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online

A Guangzhou couple who had "octuplets" as a result of hiring two surrogate mothers has sparked a new round of nationwide discussion over the ethics of reproduction and the lack of rules on utilizing surrogate women in 2011.

The news reveals the chaos in the surrogacy market. According to China’s Marriage Law and Population and Family Planning Law, marriage is a precondition for giving birth. Obviously, the couple has violated China’s family planning policy.

At present, most countries hold a cautious attitude towards surrogacy. In the countries that have legalized surrogacy, only non-commercial surrogacy is allowed because surrogacy can cause a series of social and ethical problems. Furthermore, multi-fetal pregnancies may have an adverse impact on the health of surrogate mothers and babies.

High profits and low risks are the root cause of the flourishing surrogacy business despite the ban. A surrogate mother can earn more than 100,000 yuan if she gives birth to one baby for her client, and the intermediary agent can also reap good profits.

Although the Ministry of Health has banned surrogacy and the trade in sperm, eggs, and fertilized eggs, the ban only applies to medical institutions and medical workers, and the punishment is too light, thereby making it difficult to regulate the surrogacy market.

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