March 2, 2024

China cracks down on surrogacy agencies

Violating one-child policy

China’s draconian one-child policy is colliding with a rapidly growing demand
for surrogate mothers. According to a report in Reuters, the government is
cracking down on an industry which is marketing its services to wealthy but
infertile women in the cities.

The journalist described the ordeal of three young women in the southern city
of Guangzhou. They had been hiding in a flat when district family planning and
security officers broke in, and took them to a maternity ward. There they were
compelled to have an abortion – although the officials took the precaution of
forcing their thumbprints onto a consent form first.

The incident was reported widely in the state media and may have been staged
as a warning to burgeoning surrogacy agencies. "When you see this kind of
reporting it’s a kind of public education… a sign the government is going to
do something," said Siu Yat-ming, an expert on China’s family planning issues at
Hong Kong’s Baptist University. "They’re becoming more aware of the situation…
a lot of the (surrogacy) agencies are making a lot of money just like an
organized industry."

Family planning authorities estimate that around 25,000 surrogate children
have been born so far in China. Hundreds of agencies are openly listed on
Chinese search engines. They recruit poor village girls who are paid as much as
US$14,500 for a pregnancy – a fortune in areas where the average income is about
US$600. ~
Reuters, Apr 30