Having babies from abroad

Updated: 2014-10-08 07:59

By YANG WANLI(China Daily)

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Having babies from abroad 

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow and his husband now have five children, all born through surrogacy and egg donors. They had twins in December 1999 and the duo will be 15 this December. CHINA DAILY 

The British Surrogacy Centre website contains a detailed price list for surrogacy with or without sperm or egg donations—for example, a $20,000 payment to BSC, legal fees of $10,000 to $16,000, and IVF surrogacy from $23,000 to $37,000.

For intended parents who need surrogacy with a donor's sperm or egg, an extra fee is charged. If the surrogate delivers twins, extra payment for each baby will be added.

"Because of the large amounts of money in this field, lots of agencies pop up all the time with the aim of ripping off clients from around the world," Drewitt-Barlow said. "The FBI is constantly looking into the claims from intended parents that have wired money to firms in the US, and those firms have closed down or gone bust."

To ensure that the surrogacy is legally protected, Drewitt-Barlow said, it is important that intended parents talk to the people involved.

All contracts should be signed in the state that the surrogacy is being carried out, Liu added.

"Never sign a contract or pay the fees in China. If you can't be in the US for some reason, you should do a notarization in the US embassy," she said.

Risks at home

But many Chinese parents also turn to the domestic market because of lower costs. Advertisements posted online or via messaging apps are easily found.

Many of these agencies are illegal. They sport fancy websites but can only be contacted through messaging apps like QQ or WeChat. Landline or cellphone numbers are seldom available.

Numerous efforts by China Daily to contact many of these agencies were unsuccessful.

One of them, called International Medical Service, based in Shanghai, responded by saying it has six years' experience of providing surrogacy services and even invested "millions of yuan" to build their own IVF clinic in Guangdong's provincial capital, Guangzhou.

A woman surnamed Li from the agency's customer service department said more than 500 babies have been delivered over the past six years through its services. An ordinary surrogacy costs 450,000 yuan ($73,300). She also introduced another package for "unlimited tries", promising that the client can have a baby for 650,000 yuan.

"If you wanted to decide the gender of your baby, a total of 850,000 yuan is necessary," she said.

"We have about 20 surrogate mothers, mainly from South China and aged between 26 and 32. The physicians serving in our agency are mostly from level-three (top level) public hospitals."