These eight babies born to a woman by surrogate mothers made national headlines last year.
Nicola Davison of The Guardian reports on the upswing in business that the surrogate industry is expecting in the Year of the Dragon. She speaks to a woman surnamed Gao, a surrogate mother on the hunt for the next infertile couple seeking a womb:
Gao, who didn’t want to give her real name, also feels a sense of urgency. “I hope I can find the next client before March, as I’m already 32 and the time left for me [to be a surrogate] is limited,” she says. Like many surrogates Gao is from one of China’s remote regions, in her case the most north-eastern province, Heilongjiang.
Two years ago she received 200,000 yuan (£20,000) for her services to an infertile, middle-aged couple from the affluent former capital, Nanjing. Surrogates can earn anything from 100,000 yuan to over 300,000 yuan, approximately 120 times the average monthly salary of a graduate in Beijing. Though there is no specific law relating to surrogacy in China, in 2001 the industry was driven underground when the ministry of health banned trade in fertilised eggs and embryos, forbidding hospitals from performing surrogacy procedures.
Regulations are openly flouted. While there’s no official count, the Guangzhou-based newspaper Southern Metropolis Weekly estimated last year that there have been 25,000 surrogate children born in China in the past 30 years. More than 100 surrogacy agencies advertise online.
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