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China bans surrogate mothers

A roadside billboard of a baby
China's 'one child' policy is designed to keep a lid on its massive population  

By CNN's Patricia Lai

BEIJING, China -- The Chinese government has begun implementing a law that prohibits surrogate pregnancy.

China's health ministry says medical organizations and officers are not allowed to carry out any form of surgery for surrogate pregnancy purposes.

Experts say the policy will affect a small proportion of the Chinese population but have said the complete ban -- if can be amended in the future -- is needed in China.

Li Xiaohong, director of Peking University First Hospital's Medical Center of Reproduction and Genetics, said the legislation is necessary because the issue has created a lot of problems in China.

Naming controversy

"There have been arguments concerning whose name should be put in the baby's birth certificate. A hospital would naturally put in the surrogate mother's name," Li said.

Another Peking University First Hospital professor told CNN clinics have the technology to do carry out surrogate pregnancies, but the country's legal system is not ready.

"I am supportive to a temporary ban. I hope it will be amended when the government comes up with a more complete set of laws," Professor Juo Wenli said.

Chinese media reports say hundreds of people have replied to "surrogate mother" advertisements offering generous rewards.

In Sichuan province, a young woman reportedly called up the Chengdu city government 14 times in three months offering to help people who cannot bear children. Most often, money is the prime motivating factor.

Many requests

Li Xiaohong told CNN the Medical Center of Reproduction and Genetics had received a lot of requests to perform the surrogate surgery before August 1 -- the implementation day of the law.

Some 80 hospitals and clinics in China can do test-tube baby surgery, while about 120 small clinics can also perform the procedure.

Chinese media quotes statistics from the health department saying 3 to 5 per cent of the Chinese population fail to have a baby.

Medical or surgical assistance is applicable to only one tenth of them, while fewer still can benefit from surrogate technology.

• The Chinese Ministry
• Chinese Foreign Ministry

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