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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Surrogacy Finds New Business Through Social Media

The National Health and Family Planning Commission and other departments have banned fertility clinics from using surrogate mothers. A notice issued in April further prohibits websites from publishing any information about surrogacy and orders the removal and blocking of all related information.

The ban on providing surrogacy information extends to all media, as well as health care workers, nurses and social agencies.

Illegal surrogacy has existed for many years as some couples have sought other options to have a baby. Service centers have given otherwise infertile couples the chance to have a baby while earning large amounts of money. However, surrogacy has been plagued by such problems as sex-selective abortion and surrogate mothers refusing to give up the baby.

In 2001, the government issued a notice that banned surrogacy services in hospitals and health care centers. This year, the National Health and Family Planning Commission and 11 other ministries and commissions said that illegal surrogacy is one of the main problems that need to be solved this year.

But surrogacy services have found a new advertising channel: social media.

According to a Beijing Youth Daily investigation, some surrogacy service centers have Weibo, WeChat and QQ accounts for advertising. Some surrogate mothers also publish the announcements through their own social media accounts.

A surrogacy service center called Feifan Yunyu, which claims to have experience with overseas surrogacy, has a website, WeChat and QQ accounts, phone number and a hotline for customer information. It also published at least one article per day about advances in surrogacy technology and posts articles on subjects such as parenting.

Other official WeChat accounts list VIP services and expenses, successful cases and other detailed information.

Some individuals claiming to provide surrogacy services actually run illegal sex transactions.

A QQ user born in 1996 told a reporter that she provides sexual surrogacy, also known as “cohabitation surrogacy,” in which clients have sex with the surrogate mother. If she becomes pregnant, the client takes her home to protect the infant. When the baby is born, the client also has to take care of the surrogate mother for the first month. Cohabitation surrogacy has few success cases and costs the father at least 300,000 yuan.

According to Beijing Youth Daily reporters, most surrogate mothers come from the countryside. Many of them help friends enter the business as well.

Social media may be the government’s biggest challenge in cracking down on illegal services because accounts can be easily terminated and replaced once the user suspects something is wrong.


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