China Experiences a Booming Underground Market in Child Surrogacy
New York Times – August 2, 2014 – by Ian Johnson
The rise of surrogacy is often linked to the increase in wealthier, better-educated Chinese couples waiting until their late 30s to start a family, a trend that makes it harder to conceive. Some academics say China’s severe air, water and soil pollution contribute to increasing infertility, though that claim has not been scientifically demonstrated.
Regardless, failure to reproduce is less of an option than it is in the West. Tradition holds that couples must have a child. A folk proverb warns that “among the three unfilial deeds, having no offspring is the worst.” Some women think they must have a child or their husbands will divorce them. Some couples seeking surrogacy have sadder stories, sometimes hoping to replace only children who have died.
China’s unregulated market, with a network of roughly 1,000 baby brokers nationwide, often results in trouble.
One woman who asked to be identified only by her family name, Zuo, said a friend put her in touch with a woman from the countryside who had already given birth and needed more income. Another friend recommended a private clinic in Beijing that would conduct the embryo implantation and follow-up treatments; a surrogate mother requires months of hormone shots to prepare her body for the implanted embryo and prevent its rejection.
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