Most of China’s elite and wealthy people enjoy shopping for luxury goods while visiting America. Now, an increasing amount of wealthy Chinese couples are looking to the U.S. for something that is a bit more of an investment: a surrogate mother.
According to a report by the Beijing News, there is a growing trend among Chinese couples looking to hire American women as surrogates for their children. “Seeking an American woman for surrogate pregnancy is kind of an emerging luxury consumption among wealthy Chinese couples,” said Guo Yu, a consultant at a Beijing-based agency that offers surrogacy plans and packages.
Many people are opting to find an American surrogate because it will ensure the baby has U.S. citizenship and pave the way for the parents’ streamlined immigration to the U.S., Guo explained. Such surrogacy comes with a hefty price tag, but it's still cheaper than other alternatives. “The cost for hiring an American woman for surrogacy stands at about one million yuan [$164,196],” Guo said in the report. “Yet, it is still a cheaper option than the EB visa, which requires a minimum investment in a job-creating business of $500,000.”
In the same way some brands and corporations market their products specifically to Chinese consumers, the lucrative business of surrogacy has many U.S. fertility clinics and surrogacy agencies creating Chinese-language websites and hiring Mandarin translators at their facilities to help make their services more seamless. American law states that anyone born in the country has a right to citizenship, and once a citizen is 21 years old, he/she can apply for green cards for his or her parents.
While surrogacy within China has been prohibited since 2001, overseas surrogacy is technically not illegal. In the past, many couples have found surrogate mothers in Thailand, India and Ukraine to overcome fertility issues, but they are increasingly turning to the U.S. because of immigration and the health care system.
Another factor that has some Chinese couples choosing American surrogates is a desire for “designer babies.” While most couples still use their own eggs and sperm, making the child biologically theirs, Reuters reports that more and more people are open to egg donation, to get what some clients believe are smarter and better-looking children. “Lots of clients that are Chinese do use tall, blond donors,” Jennifer Garcia, who works at Extraordinary Conception in California, where 40 percent of clients are Chinese, said in the report.