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Black surrogacy market in China

(CRI Online)

08:52, March 28, 2013

The illegal market for surrogate mothers continues to thrive in some southern provinces in China.

In Shanghai, official statistics show that the annual number of babies born after parents use in-vitro fertilization or IVF exceeded 20,000 in 2011. But hospitals are far from able to satisfy demand, forcing many infertile couples to hire women to have children for them illegally.

The huge demand boosted the underground surrogacy market. In cities like Dongguan and Shenzhen, in southern China's Guangdong Province, the black surrogacy black market is active.

The cost of a whole set of surrogacy process may be up to 850 thousand yuan, and is still rising.

Di Guozeng, member of China Law Society says, the act of surrogacy is totally illegal.

"Surrogacy is actually borrowing a woman's womb to give birth to a baby. It's renting a woman's womb and making a profit from it. It's unethical because people and people's organ can't be used for trade. That's why currently China's law forbids surrogacy. So no matter whether the parties involved signed a contract or not, this civil act is invalid and won't be protected by law."

In fact, the surrogate pregnancy poses great threat to surrogate mother's health. Their health and economic interest is not protected by the law.

Some people say that the country should regulate the non-commercial surrogacy market, and give a chance for those couples who can't give birth to a child. But many experts in health and law still believe any form of surrogacy should be totally banned.

It's going to make simple relationships far more complicated. It even leads to the redefinition of "parent" in law. For instance, who should be the child's parents, the donor, the mom who conceives the baby or the parents in the contract or the genetic parent? It involves many parties. Di Guozeng says that disputes about the actual parent may cause a series of problems such as inheritance.

"After the baby is born, if the entrusting party doesn't want the kid, it's very possible the baby will be raised by the surrogate mother. One possibility is the surrogate mother will encounter health problems during the pregnancy and it's hard for the surrogate mother to get compensation. As for the entrusting party, if the surrogate mother refuses to give the baby to the parents in the so-called contract, then, the parents in the contract, first, they won't get their baby, plus, they need to shoulder the expenses of raising the baby."

There are some European countries in which surrogacy is legal. In the UK, surrogacy is legal but the law stipulates that any form of commercial surrogacy is prohibited. Also in the US, some female college students pay their debt or the tuition by providing eggs. In India, Thailand and some European countries commercial surrogacy is also legal but Qiao Jie director member of Chinese Society of Reproductive Medicine of Chinese Medical Association says the laws are made based on each country's own situation.

"All these are made on the characteristics of their countries and citizens situation and the possible consequences to their society. So, surrogacy is the most complicated part in the supplementary reproductive technology."

In 2001, the Ministry of Health, or MOH, issued a regulation stipulating that any practice of using a surrogate mother is strictly banned.

Recently, the MOH has collected experts' opinions on surrogacy. One expert said it would take at least five to 10 years for surrogacy to be legalized in China. Then some media misinterpreted the issue and reported that surrogacy would be legalized in China in five to 10 years. So the ministry reiterated that surrogate motherhood remains banned in China and it would step up its control over Assisted Reproductive Technology.

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