Under the law passed by the current government a few years back, surrogacy in China law forbids the practice completely. Still, from time to time, we can witness several agencies facilitating surrogacy programs and plans to international couples from around the world. In this blog, we will take a brief overview of key aspects related to surrogacy laws in China.
Overviewing China’s perspective towards surrogacy
Surrogacy in China law
Currently, it is against surrogacy in China law to hire a woman ( gestational carrier) to bear someone else’s child. Moreover, medical facilities and healthcare professionals were forbidden by the Ministry of Health in 2001 from “practising any form of surrogate technology.” Likewise, it is strictly forbidden to trade in sperm, ova, or embryos. Besides, the regulations stipulate that surrogacy agencies can be fined up to 30,000 RMB (4,632 USD) for violations.
However, commissioning or offering access to surrogacy services is not prohibited, so agents arranging surrogacy abroad are readily available. On the other side, a black market and options for international surrogacy in China have emerged as a result of legal gaps and desperate couples.
An online gay dating service called Blued used to run a program called “Blue Baby” that connected users to qualified assisted reproduction services offered abroad. In July 2020, the service was discontinued after a media exposé. Besides, Flyers advertising surrogate agencies can frequently be seen in China’s public spaces.
Some of these companies operate covertly, with the demand appearing to come from those who lack access to adoption or reproductive assistance technologies. Moreover, most infertile couples and homosexual couples are unable to adopt due to China’s strict family planning laws. That said, an agent also stated that some of the wealthiest women in the country opted for surrogacy in order to keep up with their body shape in an undercover report by Youth Times in 2006. The US, where surrogacy is permitted in some states, is the most sought-after location for those looking for surrogates. Typically, the children are brought back to China by their parents to be raised.
Most Chinese people are against Surrogacy!
The practice, on the other hand, appears to be widely detested in Chinese society. In a 2017 survey conducted by the party-affiliated People’s Daily, 81.5 per cent of more than 7,000 respondents said they were against surrogacy. Viewers also criticized a recent short film by well-known director Chen Kaige in 2020 for allegedly romanticizing the practice. People may object for a variety of reasons, such as that it is unnatural or goes against traditional family values or that it objects to women’s bodies as reproductive devices and commercializes them.
The Women’s Federation of Lishi District in Lüliang, Shanxi province, further asserted that surrogacy may result in the exploitation of poor women by the wealthy, forcing them to earn a living by carrying babies at great risk to their health, in an article published on WeChat. The article cited a 2013 BBC documentary titled House of Surrogates, which looked into India’s legal but frequently extremely exploitative surrogacy market. Since then, commercial surrogacy in India is prohibited by a 2018 law.
In a similar vein, Doctor Tian Jishun argued that the legalization and commercialization of surrogacy would encourage some dishonest people or organizations to insist women partake in a surrogacy arrangement in order to derive monetary gains in an article published on the remote medical service platform Dingxiang in January. On Weibo, feminist bloggers warned against the dangers of allowing surrogacy before surrogacy in china law had more clearly defined guidelines regarding parental and reproductive rights and conjectured that some poor or male-preferring families might push their women to act as a surrogate in order to support the family.
Surrogacy ban may give rise to illegal markets in China
Others contend that the ban on surrogacy does not end the practice but rather pushes it onto the unregulated black market. According to experts, “Prohibition also enables the authorities to abdicate their duty to safeguard women from the risks of surrogate pregnancies.
According to some other experts, with proper regulation, the black market for surrogacy would vanish, the cost of surrogacy could be regulated, recognized medical facilities wouldn’t anymore abort children solely on the basis of their sex, surrogate mothers may have access to regular prenatal checkups, and doctors could detect complications.
In a surrogacy case, Chinese law does not directly address the parent-child relationship or define what a parent-child relationship is, according to an article posted on the Legal Daily website. Moreover, a lawsuit can be filed in People’s court by anyone who questions a parent-child relationship to establish or disprove the relationship. Under the current laws, it would require updating if surrogacy were ever made legal and regulated in China.
Violations of child’s rights is a major concern
The possibility of children’s rights being violated is another concern in the same regard. Some Chinese people worry that female children carried by a surrogate mother in China may end up being abandoned due to the continued preference for male children in many Chinese families. Similar worries exist when parents divorce before the children are born, as appears to have happened with Zheng, or when children are born with disabilities.
The Paper reported in January that a couple had terminated their agreement with a surrogate mother in southwest China after learning she had contracted syphilis while pregnant. Despite her financial struggles, Wu gave birth to the child, sold the birth certificate on the black market, and is now having trouble getting her daughter the household registration (hukou) she needs to attend public school and access other social services.
Surrogacy in China is currently been deemed prohibited by most surrogacy experts. So, we won’t recommend you to go along with your parenthood goals in this part of the world. Still, if you want to check some other options around the world, you can always connect with a renowned surrogacy agency for the best results.