March 5, 2024

Chinese black-market surrogacy is booming

Village women cash in

Fueled by high demand and high rewards, black-market surrogacy is booming in China, The Times (London) reports. Its source is The Paper, a state-run news website, which carried out a two-month-long investigation.

Agents charge commissioning couples anywhere between US$55,000 and $155,000 for a baby, gender guaranteed. It is also risky, especially if there are problems with the pregnancy or if the baby is disabled.

Everything about the transactions is illegal, from the surrogacy to gender selection. But couples are desperate. IVF is often unavailable. And after the relaxation of the one-child policy, many women want to have a second child, but they are too old. Other have lost an only child and they want to replace him.  

And the money is welcomed by poor villagers. The Times reports:

“My little daughter has done it several times. My older daughter just delivered twins for others. My daughter-in-law is now pregnant. I helped her for a few months until she was settled,” a middle-aged woman said. “If you can bring home hundreds of thousands of yuan, which mother-in-law would pick quarrels with her daughter-in-law?”

Residents in one village told undercover journalists that more than 100 local women were working as surrogate mothers. “Sometimes mother-in-law and daughter-in-law are doing it together. One villager would introduce another to the business, just like introducing each other to factory jobs,” one villager said. “They return home with branded bags, and they go out for another [surrogacy] when they spend all the money.”

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