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Why surrogacy should not be tolerated?

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A very hungry caterpillar

Jan 20, 2021, 08:38

Chinese actress Zheng Shuang was reportedly considering forcing the US surrogate, who carried her child with her ex-boyfriend Zhang Heng, to terminate seven-month pregnancy in 2019 because their relationship came to an end.

The news took Chinese social media by storm on Monday and it remained a hotly searched topic on Weibo for a second consecutive day on Tuesday.

Some Chinese netizens, shocked and angered, said that Zheng should not be tolerated in entertainment circles in China due to "her lack of virtue."

A lucrative chain 

As medical institutions and professionals are banned from assisting surrogacy for reproduction purposes in China, many people seek surrogate services in other countries where this practice is legal. 

Among them, Ukraine is one of the largest surrogacy destinations for Chinese parents. Industry insiders estimate that each year 2,500-3,000 children are born through surrogacy in the country, of which one third are for Chinese customers, reported the South China Morning Post in June 2020.

Money is a major reason why Chinese customers choose Ukraine, a Kiev-based surrogacy agency called Ulovebaby which specifically targets Chinese clients told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

The agency sells the surrogacy services at around $50,000, said a staffer surnamed Kang, who works at the agency's China office in Central China's Hunan Province. 

"The price fluctuates according to clients' requirements," Kang told the Global Times on Tuesday, saying a package that guarantees "100 percent success" is more expensive.

The surrogacy price in Ukraine is "only one-fifth of that in the US," according to the agency's website. 

Kang declined to give the number of the agency's Chinese clients, but more than 12,500 potential customers have consulted the agency, its website shows.

Kang and his Chinese colleagues frequently promote their surrogacy services on Chinese social media platforms. Three or four times a week, they post pictures or short videos of pregnant Caucasian women, newborn babies and pregnancy test reports on WeChat, boasting that both the surrogate mothers and the babies they give birth to are healthy and "high-quality."

For those wannabe parents like the LGBT community who also need to purchase eggs or sperm, in a post in October 2020, Kang's company shared a photo of a young woman along with her age, height and blood type. "Look at the high-quality 'egg girl' we newly signed," read the post. "Her condition is so good that last time 25 eggs were taken from her body."

Kang said his agency takes care of the surrogate mothers. "We arrange more health checks for them than Chinese domestic maternity hospitals do," he told the Global Times.

Liu Ningguang, general manager for China of New York-based Global Fertility Genetics, which provides fertility treatment and surrogacy services, told the Global Times that many Chinese people have chosen to go to the US for legal surrogacy in recent years, given the relatively standardized commercial surrogacy practices in the country.

A surrogacy contract typically defines the legal responsibilities of both parties. The average cost of legal surrogacy, which includes clinics, drugs, surrogates and attorney fees, is around $170,000, he said. 

Prospective parents from China are required to complete a paternity test, birth certificate and travelling permit after the birth of the baby before taking it back to China legally, according to Liu.

During the pandemic, the surrogacy industry in many countries has been hit by visa suspensions and travel bans, leaving babies stranded as expectant parents were unable to enter the country. But this hasn't been evident in the US market, Liu said. 

In those cases, prospective parents can ask for a temporary guardian in the US to avoid the baby being stuck in a medical facility, he added. 

While such practices are illegal in China, the Global Times found a surrogate agency in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province, in an undercover investigation. A member of staff surnamed Yang working there said the surrogacy process is simple. "Before coming here, you need to do a physical check-up at hospital so as to know your own health condition, and then come here to have an ovulation induction."

"If you want a male child, you should choose the third generation test-tube baby technology, which costs about 500,000 yuan," Yang said. According to him, usually the surrogate mother can get 180,000 to 300,000 yuan after the baby is born. 

Risks and problems

Luo Ruixue, an expert on feminism and gender equality, said on Tuesday that many women would choose to become a surrogate mother in order to improve their living conditions, but in most cases they are not informed about the risks in surrogacy. 

"Unlike other work involving mental or physical labor, surrogacy brings great risks," she said. 

Providing surrogacy service for reproduction is illegal in China, and there have been torrents of criticism and anger online in China against surrogacy following Zheng Shuang's scandal. Most people disapprove of surrogacy as they hate seeing babies become a traded commodity, Luo said. "People are afraid that if surrogacy is allowed in China, the uterus becomes a production tool that can be rented and sold. In the situation of gender inequality, it might be possible that more women will become surrogate mothers, which involves the objectification of women."

The surrogacy industry could also develop services such as picking genders and genes and there may be unwanted babies that are abandoned, Luo said.

There are also many hidden risks for those seeking surrogacy services overseas. A Chinese woman surnamed Lin told the Global Times on Tuesday that she paid 450,000 yuan ($69,200) for a baby delivered by a surrogate Cambodian mother in 2016, but when the baby was brought back to China it was found that it was suffering from brain atrophy.

She blamed the company for failing to provide necessary living conditions for the Cambodian surrogate mother, which she believes to have directly caused her son's illness. But when Lin contacted the agency, they simply said they would "replace her baby with a new one or arrange another surrogate birth, as long as it could be verified that it was their fault."

Lin said that she knew of other people who were enquiring about surrogacy but were worried about whether the medical conditions were up to standard, especially in some Southeast Asian countries. "And the selection of surrogate mothers is not cautious and transparent as far as I know."

"Instead of simply supporting or opposing surrogacy, we should focus more on the women driven by poverty to become a surrogate mother," Chen Yaya, a research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

"Surrogacy is a complicated topic that has deep social roots. Strictly banning or legalizing it may worsen the plight of these surrogate mothers in some aspects," she told the Global Times. "We need more investigation and research to resolve this dilemma."

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pnp

You are speaking from the point of view of those who can conceive naturally;  please spare a thought for those who can't;  they have to turn to surrogacy to have babies.   Perhaps the thread should read,  Why Surrogacy SHOULD BE TOLERATED!  Surrogacy is not an evil that should be done away;  it helps many who can't conceive for various reasons, medical, elderly couples who have lost their only child etc.  What is needed is a set of rules to govern its use; there are too many unscupulous people capitalising on it at the expense of surrogate mothers and their clients.

pnp

Many Chinese women have long been renting wombs overseas to bear their babies in countries where surrogacy is legal, and no one complained, until now.  That's because many Chinese have come to accept it as long as it is not in China, where it is illegal.  What created this uproar now is the fact that a popular actress abandoned her babies from surrogacy overseas!  So, let's put this matter in perspective;  netizens are not up in arms over surrogacy per se, they are against this actress's behavior;  if they had such strong opinions on surrogacy, why didn't they scream about it long ago?  If surrogacy is so anthema to the Chinese, why is it such a lucrative business in China recruiting clients in China for renting wombs overseas?

Those making loud noises here against surrogacy only do so after seeing netizens' overwhelming negative response!

pnp
rén post time: 2021-01-21 10:20

Strange, it seems your piece is more about corruption in high places involving millions of $$  than about surrogacy!   It would help readers focus on the topic if you could keep your long-winded corruption piece in a separate thread.  Your point about corruption is taken, but it is misplaced, not suitable in a surrogacy thread!

pnp
wchao37 post time: 2021-01-20 16:27

"Just because the baby is born outside the country should not absolve the offender of his/her guilt in a Chinese court of law because the genome or DNA of the unborn baby is that of a Chinese citizen and so the case should be adjudicated under Chinese law, or else the dignity of Chinese lives suffers when an embryo carrying such genetic material can be objectified into a tradeable commodity."

You are obvious very emotionally upset by this surrogacy case!

Surrogacy may be morally wrong in your mind, and in the minds of others like you, but there is no legal precedent for prosecuting a Chinese woman for using that service overseas where it is perfectly legal.  You are proposing extra-territorial legal persuits;  reminds me of US using its sanctions law, which are not recognised elsewhere, to pursue extra-territorial legal action against Huawei CFO, for instance.

Repugnant as it is, surrogacy is legal in some countries, so those opposed to it can only use moral-suasion to discourage their fellow citizens using it, not by legal action!  China promotes itself as a rule of law nation, hence it should practice what it preaches!


wchao37
rén post time: 2021-01-21 10:20

"Yet Biden and his US are still getting China wrong. The US-China relationship is too important for the world for the US under any administration or political bent to still try to play a zero-sum game using some easy-peasy appeal to libertarianism versus authoritarianism."

Mark,

I get the gist of your message.  Let's wait and see what he actually does with that team you have mentioned here.  It is too early to tell because he has just barely warmed up for his role yet.

Remember what was done on the day before his second debate with Trump?

I will continue our conversation in THAT thread a little later.



rén

Surrogacy is corruption of the nature-given privilege to bear one's own children.

Moreover, underlying it is a bigger issue - namely, coming into wealth unanchored by anything cultural and then flaunting that wealth without thought of using it for the greater good for others, ultimately to oneself.

The netflix series Bling Empire is on now that depicts how young Asians coming-into-wealth are flaunting their wealth with nary a care about (a) where the wealth came from, (b) how hard it was by their parents to earn it, (c) good taste and behavior, and (d) what better good the money could have been used to help others up and make for a more livable world, thereby giving more meaning to their own lives without all the self-trappings of evanescent conspicuous consumption.

And that's also why there's a political value when each individual engages a deeper realization of the real human condition anywhere anytime in all of human history. 

.....because somewhere in the emergence of modern China, something has been giving way at the interface between legalism and confucianism which are the twin pillars of her society in its evolution to find the right balance between both approaches to meet the ever-changing challenges of the modern era.

All should realize that particular political value is about realizing (a) personal wealth even if coming from personal hard work and sacrifice could only have come about from support of one's business by workers, consumers and market perceptions.

Too many forget this socialist sentiment, or worse, have chosen to ignore it.  And that's how the rock of social consciousness gets chipped away, shaking the foundation of a stable and harmonious society.

That value is therefore important when considering governance. There is no place in good governance for corruption or misuse of power for personal gain at the expense of others. 

Corruption has been a perennial issue everywhere in the world, more so in emerging economies as they transit from poor to rich because some of the gatekeepers tend to think they can get away with it by making hay while sun still shines.

Although some mischief-makers will say corruption moves more money around faster in the market and thus can be condoned, realists think otherwise for a number of reasons:

(a) it is thieving and abuse of responsibility;

(b) it sets a bad example for the entire institution and generates mistrust while increasing cost of business, reducing operational efficiency and normalizing blackmails to socialize costs while privatising profits;

(c) it creates social tension when people start comparing - they work hard and get little, the perp signs a document and gets more than enough to last a few generations;

(d) the underhanded decisions made can destroy an entire sector, and weaken a whole nation, thereby opening it to future threats;

(e) the perp is also not likely to declare the theft since it is unearned income, and so the treasury loses tax collection, and

(f) the entities giving the bribes will add to their gains the value of the bribes given plus more thus increasing prices and inflation, and also get a shot at monopolizing the sector to the detriment of the industry.

Where then is there anything that is good for anyone, including the perp who will ultimately be caught?

What for corruption of office by outsourcing power mediated by easy money, so too surrogate corruption of childbirth by outsourcing births.

Which is why the central government has cracked down on all manners of corruption. Because like viruses, they knaw away at the very fiber of a progressive society that has to build upon past records for future performances which is the mandate of heaven.

One can appreciate why it has to be done and quickly, efficiently. Too much wealth has seeped out of the country chasing window-dressed assets in the west.  This was warned as far back as two decades ago. There are dozens of examples of starry-eyed and psychologically pliable bigwigs seduced by western trappings and scammed into buying window-dressing assets not worth their bricks. 

As a simple example, today Waldorf-Astoria in New York cannot be sold except at a colossal loss, furthermore mired in legalities. More pointedly, money for it came from state and citizen funds paid to provide insurance for individuals into their old age. 

Due diligence and risk management were sacrificed in the unfettered chase of acquisitions to meet wild expansion targets just because money came into the kitty.  However, from where those funds came must be the first and last questions to be asked and answered first, all the more important today when China is now the only nation to have recovered her economy from the pandemic. In other words, don't make the same mistake twice.

This is something which the central government has realized. The centralization necessary to eradicate corruption in order to create a healthier and more socially prosperous nation is however attracting the wrong labels by enemies in the west who have lost no time to say it is just an authoritarian regime when they should instead be seeing first the giant redwood beams in front of their own noses - their partisan political lobbying...

....otherwise why would so many US enterprises, for instance, be withdrawing their financial donations to the Republicans, if they had not been making campaign donations in the past in exchange for future approvals of their businesses, or the presidential pardoning of perps like Bannon?

Yet Biden and his US are still getting China wrong. The US-China relationship is too important for the world for the US under any administration or political bent to still try to play a zero-sum game using some easy-peasy appeal to libertarianism versus authoritarianism.

After all were the US a China instead, would it not be doing what China has all along been doing - taking care of her peoples and building herself for the future of all mankind?

That would be the remit of a good and enlightened superpower, wouldn't it? That would have solved all its US' own problems today, won't it?

Or is it because it's not what Bannon, Navarro, Pompeo, Pottinger, Mearsheimer, Sullivan, Goldman and so many others in the wormwood of the US forests would recommend without any rhyme or reason?

But do note, their credentials on China won't even fill a small matchbox.

Yet..... yet Biden is armoring another trumpish team that is anti-China to the core. Besides Blinken, Ratner, Campbell and Austin, there're now Tai, Haines, even Yellen. Why, one asks, when everything that Trump and his Republicans have done against China have been shown to be bad for the US and the rest of the world, from the rich in Europe to the poor in Asia, Africa and Latin America, does Biden still want to continue the same mistakes?

It's unnecessary to deploy a quantum computer for the answer - it's still the US playing a zero-sum marbles power game. That is, take a hard initial stance against China and see if she buckles at the negotiation table. If yes, win some, if no, rally the rest to prove the point that she is being intransigent.  (Note - nothing about the principles of being factually right or the negativities of being antagonistically wrong.)

But the US has been the one being intransigent. Would its CIA instigations in China's Tibet have enabled the Chinese Tibetans to enjoy the world's best high-altitude fast-speed train across impassable terrains so as to connect the province to the modern world, thereby raising their standards of living even to the extent they could invest more time and energies in restoring Tibetan Buddhism? Is that liberalism, democrats-style, or enlightened development with Chinese characteristics?

Likewise, Xinjiang and HongKong. If Pompeo chose the word 'genocide' for Xinjiang, will Biden really believe it is so having seen how the citizens there have been deradicalized and are now making a living where before they did not have enough?

If Biden really cares enough for Xinjiang to nullify his own Blinken and Campbell, when will he issue an executive order to rescind Trump's banning of US companies from buying Xinjiang cotton and tomatoes?  Or does the US still think it should not be helping the Xinjiang denizens which it is, presumably, 'championing' in the same way it had 'championed' the Tibetan denizens on the one hand but supported Isis on the other hand yet treating Islamists as an existential threat once not that long ago?  US SAT International History 101 = 5 marks.

As for HongKong, will Biden be using the crackdown on the riots like how Trump was using the pandemic despite knowing the virus had manifested outside China and long before the Wuhan outbreak = in order to try and demand reparations for 'exporting riots to the US'?

Can China demand reparations from the US for giving Diaoyu island to Japan and arming her Taiwan to form a necklace of military platforms facing her in the SouthChina Sea?

Biden and his new administration should take a harder look again at all of the US' policies against China. They should review their perception and superficial conclusions on what China has consistently all along been and shown. They should stop their instigation of some of the EC parliamentarians against her. They should muzzle the UK's attempt at re-poodling itself tory-wise against her government.

Their stench of corrupted geopolitics has all the while been overwhelming.








wchao37

Not just a reality-show or even a criminal problem it is very much a political problem.

Our Chinese system has the advantage that it can solve any problem swiftly as soon as one is identified as a political problem. 

That was the case with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and it is the case with this dangerous trend amongst the newly-rich Chinese youths to go after foreign passports through surrogacy.

Somebody up there needs to teach these youths a lesson or else the political purpose of our Xiaokang Society will become a joke.

Yes, I am serious.

This practice needs to stop lest the Chinese nation becomes the laughing stock of the world -- no women of any other aspirant, up-and-rising country hire foreign prostitutes to be the surrogate mothers of their own babies. 

Prostitutes?  What do you think these foreign surrogate mothers do in their spare time -- unmarried, but pregnant with some rich Chinese girl's baby?  They will smoke, dope and drink, and then rent their pregnant bodies to different men every night to their hearts' desire, and there is no way you can control what they do.

You can feel that young, rich but ignorant actresses like her might have inadvertently selected a prostitute to be her child's surrogate mother, not to speak of the unspoken but widely-understood implication that these newly-rich beneficiaries of the New Society will go to any length to fetch foreign passports.

Since surrogacy has already been determined to be an illegal practice in China, then the Chinese government is obliged to enforce such a ruling or law, since pretending not to see the problem is tantamount to the abandonment of its legal responsibilities.  

Just because the baby is born outside the country should not absolve the offender of his/her guilt in a Chinese court of law because the genome or DNA of the unborn baby is that of a Chinese citizen and so the case should be adjudicated under Chinese law, or else the dignity of Chinese lives suffers when an embryo carrying such genetic material can be objectified into a tradeable commodity.

Dangerous China-based agents of such practices should have been snuffed out a long time ago, but it is still not too late!

Performers have momentous responsibilities as behavioral role models in our newly-rich modernizing society. 

Either you give birth to your own child and perform your motherly duties or you don't. You don't have the right to throw fistfuls of yuan at the sacred institution of motherhood and risk the baby's life by having it gone through the dirty womb of a foreign prostitute.

Any way you slice it -- hiring foreign surrogates to carry Chinese babies to term is an unforgivable crime that beats the nation's political purpose of achieving Xiaokang Society.

emanreus
Newtown post time: 2021-01-20 10:30

The untold story is if the baby is born btt an American mother with US resident, and is united with her husband in China, the tax results are: loosing a million jackpot to uncle Sam's pocket because of stupidity.

Newtown

"Strictly banning or legalizing it may worsen the plight of these surrogate mothers in some aspects." Well you can't have it both ways; this is simply a recipe for doing nothing about the issue.