Stories of Chinese mothers travelling to the U.S. to give birth have become familiar. Global Times’ Xuyang Jingjing, though, describes a growing trend of Chinese couples seeking American surrogate mothers. The babies’ U.S. citizenship is a welcome side effect, but not the primary objective. Instead, prospective parents turn to America because of its higher success rate and “more developed and open” system for surrogacy.
Large demand and a fuzzy legal status have created an underground surrogacy business [in China]. Dodgy adverts can be found across the Web luring surrogate mothers with high pay, usually hundreds of thousands of yuan. There are also many agencies boasting a high success rate in helping desperate couples find surrogate mothers and clinics.
Lee Truong, in charge of international relations at Surrogate Alternatives, founded in 1998 in San Diego, says they have seen a significant increase in Chinese clients in the last 18 months.
“This year, about a third of our clients are from China, and of the babies already born and those still due in 2012, more than 30 percent are children of Chinese parents,” Truong told the Global Times in an e-mail.
Demand from Chinese couples has driven up prices for eggs from Chinese-American donors, according to a February report by The Los Angeles Times’ Shan Li:
A Caucasian woman normally gets about $5,000 to $8,000 for 10 to 14 eggs, Steinberg said, with the money technically being paid for the energy, time and pain associated with the “donation.” An ethnic Chinese woman can command $15,000 and up for her eggs, according to Steinberg and other surrogacy specialists.
“It’s supply and demand,” Steinberg said. “Chinese are the premiums.”
Commercial surrogacy in China has suffered varying fortunes since a 2001 ban on hospitals’ involvement cast it into a legal grey area. See ‘‘Womb Brokers’ Rise to Meet Demand‘ from 2008 and ‘Forced Abortions Shake up China Wombs-for-Rent Industry‘ from the following year on CDT.