Surrogacy agencies in China and the United States have begun catering to wealthy Chinese couples who are hiring American women to serve as surrogates for their children, reports Reuters.
Many of these couples are looking to American surrogates in an attempt to resist China’s 1979 family planning policy that restricts couples, in most cases, to one child. Families who violate this policy face the prospect of forced abortions, sterilizations and fines. Technically, Chinese who deliver a second child overseas are violating the one-child policy, but it is very difficult for the government to enforce this.
According to Reuters, an increasing number of pregnant Chinese women travel to America to obtain U.S. citizenship for their children by delivering there. As American citizens, these children may apply for Green Cards for their parents when they turn 21. The number of Chinese visitors to the United States has nearly doubled in the past two years.
The growing infertility rate also sends many Chinese couples to U.S. surrogates. More than 40 million Chinese are now considered infertile, reports the Chinese Population Association.
Shanghai businessman Tony Jiang and his wife Cherry were among these couples.
After two failed attempts at Chinese surrogates, the couple researched surrogacy in Thailand, India and the Ukraine. They eventually settled on the United States, as they were particularly impressed with it superior health care system. Jiang and his wife welcomed a daughter in December 2010, and later a set of twins (pictured). All three children were born in California to an American surrogate Jiang calls “my Amanda.”
Jiang’s story is not uncommon. Agencies in both China and the U.S. say the demand for American surrogates has rapidly increased within the past two years.
The Circle Surrogacy in Boston has handled six Chinese surrogacy cases in the past five years.
“I would be surprised if you called me back in four months and that number hadn’t doubled,” said Circle Surrogacy President John Weltman. “That’s the level of interest we’ve seen this year from China and the very serious conversations we’ve had with people who I think will be joining us in the next three or four months.”
This small but growing business of “designer babies” costs between $120,000 and $200,000 for the basic surrogacy package.
“If you add in plane tickets and other expenses, for only $300,000, you get two children and the entire family can emigrate to the U.S.,” added a Shanghai-based agent.