ICS Translations

Illegal and Viewed as Unethical, China’s Surrogacy Debate is Caught between Blood Affinity and Parenting

Actor Zheng Shuang’s rumoured abandoning her surrogate children has sparked debates on various issues including rising gender inequality, whether surrogacy should be made legal in China, whether surrogacy is ethical or not and so on. Although surrogacy has the capacity to bestow childless couple with the blessing of a child, it has its own consequences. And these take form when circumstances force intended parents to make choices of abortion, abandonment or adoption. From another perspective, the woman’s body is commercialized and becomes equivalent to a birth-giving machine. In most cases, poor women become a victim in the process as they consent to be the surrogate mother for a meagre amount of money paid as “inconvenience fee” in addition to the expenses. These women become victims of   exploitation, which is manifested in form of health risks and social stigmatization. Some experts believe that legalization and commercialization of surrogacy in China would lead to disastrous conditions as women and child trafficking continues. However, one may also point out that this might be a solution to deal with China’s population aging problem which is the result of women postponing marriage, delaying childbirth and her preference for one child. However, if surrogacy becomes legal, “moral responsibility” and “legal mechanism”


Snigdha Konar

Research Associate & Assistant Director, Institute of Chinese Studies

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