Chinese Surrogacy Dreams: Starting a Family in the Land of Traditions

on November 6, 2012

Chinese Surrogacy“Every morning when I am washing myself, my son holds on to my legs while calling me Dad. And I feel that a beautiful day has just begun…” — ‘Qin’ Chinese Father via Surrogacy

The Global Times reports on the story of a Beijing man (called Qin, although that’s not his real name) who realized his dreams of family life in 2011.  The fascinating story describes their path to surrogacy, issues nationalizing their new son, and the social stigmas attached to same-sex parents.

Surrogacy is actually forbidden in China, but it is becoming increasingly popular among gay couples, as well as heterosexual couples frustrated by infertility.

Chinese society is very family-centric, and having a family is a central component of many long-term relationships.   According to Qin, “children are the third leg of a family and vital to maintaining a relationship.”

Chinese society has become more tolerant of homosexuals in recent years. The new acceptance of Gay relationships has awakened the cultural requirement to establish a “true family” including children, which is common among Chinese people.  Such a possibility would have been unthinkable for gay couples just a few years ago – beyond the scope of imagination.

Surrogacy was prohibited in China following a circular issued in 2001 by the Ministry of Health, but not proscribed by law. “You know, many things can be settled with money here,” Qin said . The couple spent around 500,000 yuan ($80,075) on the procedure up until the child was born.

But Qin’s adventure did not end with the birth of his son.  As in many European countries, a significant challenge is to arrange legal citizenship for the new child, as well as getting both parents name of the birth certificate (which is now an option in countries where same-sex marriage is legal – but not China).

In China, a person does not become a real citizen until he obtains a household registration, or hukou, which requires a series of documents including a marriage and birth certificate. To overcome these obstacles, Qin spent some 60,000 yuan on the services of another agency.

The Global Times report includes a fascinating look at changing attitudes of gay relationships among the traditional Chinese, and the communist government.

According to official Chinese government publications, homosexual families are not recognized or protected by laws in China, and homosexuality is classified as a form of “mental disease.” It also added that homosexuality violates “social morals.”

As a result, adoption for gay couples is not an alternative in China.  Plus adoption for single gay men is also dissuaded.  For example, the Adoption Law of China stipulates that if a male without a spouse wants to adopt a child, their age gap has to be at least 40 years.  These adoption policies only fuel the growth of surrogacy.

Read the full article at The Global Times


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