Human Embryo Clinic Raided in Beijing

Beijing law enforcement officials on Monday shut down a clinic for illegally conducting in-vitro fertilisation and surrogacy services, according to the South China Morning Post:

An official investigation into the illegal clinic was triggered when authorities received accounts from undercover reporters at China Central Television, which aired its report yesterday after the joint raid was conducted that morning by police and health, food and drug regulators.

The illegal clinic, located in downtown Beijing but calling itself the “Hong Kong Fuchen Group”, had been operating without a licence for six years, providing reproductive assistance to couples, and for the last four years they had grown about 300 embryos annually, according to Song Hongbo , a salesman for the group who was quoted by investigative reporters posing as an interested couple.

It was unclear if the group had any real ties to Hong Kong. “We are registered as a hospital, but we do not have any qualifications to conduct this assisted reproductive technique,” Song said. The downtown office served mainly to sign people up for the service, which was then conducted at a separate and undisclosed clinic.

Despite speculation that China might legalize or soften its laws on surrogacy, China’s Ministry of Health announced earlier this month that it would ramp up efforts to pursue fines and jail time for medical professionals caught breaking the law. As domestic options have moved underground in recent years, Chinese couples have increasingly looked abroad for surrogacy solutions. For example, a growing trend of Chinese couples have sought surrogate mothers in America because of its more liberal system.

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