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China bans surrogacy although demand is rising


02-21-2017 09:39 BJT

Surrogacy has once again become a hot topic in China now, as a recent People's Daily report recommended that authorities consider allowing the limited use of voluntary surrogacy, in cases of couples who have been unable to have children. But on social media, most internet users were strongly opposed to any form of surrogacy. Many countries besides China have banned the practice as well. What're their major concerns? Is there hope the surrogacy ban in China will be lifted?

"We are a couple who have difficulty having a child, can we have surrogacy?"

In China, the answer is NO.

Sixteen years ago, surrogate techniques were banned in a legal paper on assisted reproductive technology, which is still in effect today.

"We will continue severely punishing surrogacy violations and ensure that people have access to safe, regulated and effective assisted reproductive technology services," Mao Qun'an with China National Health & Family Planning Commission said.

The announcement follows recent discussions on whether to allow surrogacy in China to help couples have a second child under a new policy, which has been just carried out since last year.

The policy change has made another 90 million women eligible to have a second child. But half of them are over 40 years old, facing higher pregnancy risks.

Earlier this month, a People's Daily report recommended that authorities consider allowing the limited use of voluntary surrogacy in some cases.

That made a big splash, with over 80-percent of people opposed to it, according to a poll on Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform.

Some fear more girls will be abducted and forced to do surrogacy.

Others doubt voluntary surrogacy is realistic, as most people are driven by financial interests, which will make women breeding machines.

Some also have concerns that more men will have mistresses and legalize their kids in the name of surrogacy.

Some Chinese have to go abroad to arrange surrogacy, and the US is a major destination.

Surrogates will receive about $30,000, but the overall cost to the Chinese family receiving the child can be as high as $225 thousand.

"They're always saying 'thank you thank you thank you so much' and honestly, it just feels good to be appreciated and that somebody is depending on you to give them what they've been wanting for so many years," Tere Banuet, surrogate from California, said.

Inside China, there is already a black market -- an underground service that's undocumented and unregulated.

Perhaps for such a complex matter involving legal, ethical and social issues, reaching a consensus is not likely in the short term.

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