Facing an economic disaster as their population ages and young workers grow scarcer and scarcer, China officially changed their one-child-per-family policy to a two-children-per-family policy over two years ago. So far the results have not been as good as expected, according to Egg donor and surrogacy agency ConceiveAbilities. Originally meant as a way to control the surging Chinese population when famine was still a real and nearby possibility, the Chinese government now feels secure enough on an economic scale to allow, if not a population explosion, then at least a spurt in population growth. This is a far cry from the draconian measures taken for the past fifty years, when the birth of a second or third child was met with social ostracism and usually banishment and/or imprisonment. But now the wheel has turned full circle, and a benevolent Chinese Communist government is encouraging families to bring more children into the post-Great Revolution world. In cities like Beijing and Shanghai this new policy is being met with open arms and rejoicing — but the vast rural areas of China are slower to trust the words of their overlords, and experts warn it will take at least a generation, if not longer, for rural families, the backbone of China, to begin allowing more children into their families. So it’s a race, of sorts, to see if China can produce enough children to replace the workers who are now getting ready to retire and expect their families, and the government, to support them in their old age.
Gestational surrogacy has been available to wealthy Chinese families since the early 80s, when women would fly overseas, usually to America or Canada, to have surrogate children which were officially ‘under the radar’ of the Chinese government and their strict child restrictions. But once social media became widespread in China during the past five years the stories about privileged Chinese families, usually high ranking members of the Chinese Communist Party, have fueled both outrage and then jealousy as middle class Chinese couples began demanding the same kind of opportunities, especially if there was a chance of influencing the gender of their next child. The Chinese custom of venerating a boy child and ignoring a girl child, while officially banned by the Communist government, is still so strong throughout the country that police authorities in rural areas routinely have to report the abandonment of girl infants by the side of the road or in filthy alleyways.
Up until the Trump election, the Chinese government was becoming extremely friendly towards surrogacy options for their female citizens. The long years of enforced birth control had left both a physical and psychological mark on Chinese women, and conception through regular means was tragically low and uncertain. So surrogacy seemed to be the answer, and fertility clinics in China were in a rush to find surrogate facilities in the United States, which has the highest rate of healthy embryos to full term delivery in the world.
But now that the Trump Administration has put in place billions of dollars worth of tariffs, the Chinese government is switching their patronage to Canada, encouraging all Chinese citizens to look into surrogacy agencies there instead of the United States.
Is this just a brief trend that will be over when social media tires of exploiting it, or is it to become a hardened state policy? It’s hard to say at this point — the only thing for certain is that the Chinese are growing more and more interested in Western surrogacy agencies, and are willing to spend however much it takes to get good results.