Growing Trend: 'Designer' American Babies for Wealthy Chinese
byKaitlin StanfordSep 25, 2013
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto
An eye-opening Reuters report has revealed a small, yet growing trend among uber-wealthy Chinese parents this week. For those who are seeking to dodge the country's strict "one child only" policy and score a U.S. green card at the same time, there's apparently a fool-proof plan out there: all you have to do is hire an American surrogate–for the bargain price of $120,000.
American surrogacy actually allows for lots of possibilities that attract foreign parents. Chief among them is of course the fact that a child born in a U.S. hospital will be automatically granted U.S. citizenship at birth. Another bonus perk to that? The entire family can get green cards and emigrate over once that kid hits 21. But for China in particular, where surrogacy is illegal, couples who are struggling to conceive find American clinics a helpful place to turn.
While there isn't much data just yet to show just how many parents have resorted to this measure, according to Reuters, a survey of surrogacy agencies indicates the Chinese demand for American surrogates has been clearly growing in the last two years. As a result, U.S. fertility clinics and surrogacy agencies are even creating Chinese-language websites and hiring Mandarin speakers to aid in its rising popularity.
Circle Surrogacy, a Boston agency, says they've dealt with half a dozen Chinese surrogacy cases over the last five years. And as president John Weltman told Reuters, "I would be surprised if you called me back in four months and that number hadn't doubled. 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."
Still, the growing trend hasn't come without some cultural tensions. In the U.S., where surrogacy has become a far more accepted practice over the last few decades, agencies encourage lots of communication and relationship-building between the parents and the surrogate. But according to the agencies interviewed, most Chinese parents would rather just keep things an even transaction. That probably shouldn't be too surprising, though. After all, surrogacy is so frowned upon in China that parents who seek it through foreign countries often have to keep it a secret and even fake their own pregnancies to avoid being found out.
But for those who do, it will cost them a pretty penny. The surrogacy packages Chinese agencies offer start at a hefty $120,000 and can run you up to $200,000. (Gulp.) Though as one Shanghai-based agent told Reuters, "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."