The Global Times recently reported that despite a law prohibiting surrogacy technology, surrogate motherhood is an increasing trend in China. With one in eight Chinese couples struggling with fertility, surrogate agencies are fielding more and more clients looking to start a family. One agent who works for a Beijing-based firm claims that for an additional fee, clients can even choose the sex of their baby and attempt to eradicate any genetic disposition towards disease. Test-tube technology raises questions about both the legal and moral implications of childless couples starting a family with a child carried by another woman.
To meet increasing demand for surrogate mothers, a Shanghai-based agency offers housing for before and during pregnancy, as well as medical care. An appealing prospect for young women from rural areas who want to make easy money, a young and qualified Chinese surrogate can charge RMB 100,000 (USD 14,757) to carry the baby to term. However, surrogates are not allowed to break their contract, with agencies withholding their identity cards to ensure they remain for the entire process. Also, the emotional toll of surrogacy can be hard for many young women to handle, especially if they also provided their own eggs for the child. Recalling the experience, one woman admitted, "the baby was born out of my body. Of course, I have hard feelings."
The answer for many couples with means looking to start a family, this underground business thrives despite its legal ambiguity.
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