Surrogacy rampant despite bans
Updated: 2015-01-12 09:22
The footage run by CCTV shows a client (L) talking with a ovum provider (C). [Photo/IC]
Chinese authorities are being urged to take vigorous measures against the surrogacy business.
An investigation by state broadcaster China Central Television has found illegal surrogacy agencies in Beijing, Wuhan and Guangzhou that help their clients find ova, surrogate mothers, and unlicensed clinics for the surgery.
Some ova providers are students from universities or even high schools.
China's health authority banned surrogacy and trade of sperm, ovum and embryos starting from 2001 but weak enforcement has undermined the effort.
Bioethicist Zhai Xiaomei urges joint action by government departments, as well as legislation.
"The regulations issued by the health authority are far from enough due to the limited enforcement power of the department. What we need is a comprehensive law to address the issue of assisted reproduction."
On the other hand, Liu Ping from Peking University Third Hospital calls for a flexible management.
"The regulation should be more flexible. Surrogacy should be an alternative way to have a child for a family, in which the wife can't get pregnant."
The investigation reveals a surrogate birth could bring in 400,000 yuan, or about 65,000 US dollars, in profit, while a surrogacy firm's revenue could exceed 10 million yuan.
Meanwhile, health experts also warn that fertility medications and ovum collection procedures could lead to irreversible damages to sexual organs.