Despite illegality, surrogate baby-making thrives

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, October 22, 2011
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Surrogate motherhood, illegal in China, is booming throughout the country under weak supervision as companies expand nationwide while leaving their customers and surrogate mothers unprotected by laws.

The surrogacy companies, hidden behind online websites that guide their customers to their locations only after receiving down payments, have established offices across the country and developed "baby-selling packages" to satisfy customers, Shanghai Daily has found.

A surrogacy agent company,, promised an undercover reporter posing as a customer that for 1 million yuan (US$156,622) the company would have five to seven surrogate mothers become pregnant by the customer's sperm all at once, simply to ensure one of the babies is a boy.

In China, many families, especially in the country's rural areas, have long sought to have sons rather than daughters. said a normal service to supply a baby with random gender would cost only about 150,000 yuan.

In what's bound to be a controversial business practice, a company official surnamed Wang said that fetuses carried by mothers and identified as female who are not wanted will be "terminated" at abortions.

In the unlikely event that all the babies are girls, the mothers have to keep becoming pregnant after abortions until they carry a boy to meet the demand, said Wang. In the much more likely event that two or more of the babies are boys, the customer chooses which mother to carry the fetus to term, and the others are aborted.

But the customer may decide to pay extra to "purchase extra babies, boys or girls," for 15,000 yuan to 30,000 yuan each, Wang said.

"What you have to do is to make sure that your sperms are active and pay the fees, then we supply the eggs and mothers to ensure that you have your son in two years," said Wang.

Some surrogacy companies are promoting even more expensive "baby packages" such as to supply customers with twins or triplets.

On one company's website,, surrogate mothers are being recruited if they meet certain requirements - age 20 to 28, above 1.65 meters tall, graduated from vocational schools or universities - as a way to "bring better genes to babies."

Mothers are ranked at nine different levels depending on their appearance, education level and other qualities, and they are paid 40,000 yuan to 120,000 yuan a year for carrying babies, depending on their rank.

The company, established in 2005, said it is headquartered in Beijing with branch offices in Shanghai, Wuhan and Guangdong and Shandong provinces.

Although the surrogacy motherhood business may be tempting to customers and surrogate mothers, they are not protected by any laws if they are cheated by the business.

A surrogate mother surnamed Zhao in Shanghai complained that her customer "disappeared" after a hospital check showed she carried a girl, and she ended up bearing the medical expenses of an abortion.

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