Parents of octuplets in China face hefty fines

December 21st, 2011 - 9:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Dec 21 (IANS) A wealthy Chinese couple who conceived eight babies through in-vitro fertilization may face hefty fines for violating the family-planning law.

The babies were conceived by the wife and two surrogate mothers through in-vitro fertilization.

The couple chose this method after other options failed, the Shanghai Daily reported quoting the New Express newspaper.

Director of Guangdong Family Planning Commission Zhang Feng said the parents should be fined for violating the law.

Under the Chinese law, families having more than one child are required to pay penalties.

To ensure a high success rate, the embryos were put into the uterus of the wife and two surrogate mothers. All the embryos survived and the babies were born in October 2010.

The family hired 11 nannies and a driver to take care of the babies, the newspaper said Wednesday. They spent one million yuan (about $157,500) on the test-tube procedure and are spending more than 100,000 yuan each month on raising them.

Guangdong health authorities have begun a probe into the surrogacy agency and the hospital that helped the couple conceive so many babies. China banned surrogacy in 2003.

Despite the ban, there is a thriving black market from where wealthy families hire egg donors or surrogate mothers.

Zhang admitted it is difficult to expose agencies involved in such activities.

In the latest case, the agency could face fines up to 30,000 yuan. But there is no law to penalize the surrogate mothers.

Some surrogacy agencies charge up to one million yuan for such services. Sometimes five to seven surrogate mothers become pregnant with the customer’s sperm, simply to ensure one of the babies is a boy. The other foetuses are aborted.

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