American Surrogate Mothers Help Rich Chinese Get Citizenship

The use of American surrogate mothers is becoming an increasingly popular way for wealthy Chinese couples to evade China’s one-child policy and secure US citizenships, according to Hong Kong’s Oriental Daily.

Growing interest from wealthy Chinese couples has prompted US surrogate pregnancy services to hire Mandarin speakers and build Chinese-language websites. One firm that gets 60% of its 140 clients each year from abroad will open a branch in California to be near the large Chinese community. It will also hire a representative in Shanghai to help attract Chinese clients.

Only the wealthiest can afford its service. The fee to the surrogate mother is $22,000. The agency gets another $30,000 to handle the introduction and process the legal paperwork. Add to that prenatal, birth and maternity care, and the actual cost can approach $70,000. The high cost of surrogacy in the US has driven many Americans to seek similar services in countries like India.

Similar services are illegal in China but thrive nevertheless to serve the demand from affluent infertile couples. But the richest couples are looking for more than a new addition to the family; they’re looking for an escape hatch from the one-child policy as well as a visa for an eventual escape to the US with their assets which are often illicitly obtained and vulnerable to seizure.

Children born in the US to surrogate mothers are US citizens who can help their parents secure legal residency to the same extent as if the mother had personally traveled to the US to give birth — but without the risks. Last year a dozen homes in Arcadia were shut down for hosting women who had traveled to the US on tourist visas for the secret purpose of giving birth. Their clients were deported before they could give birth.

Using surrogates also spares a Chinese mother with no English skills the risks of giving birth in a US hospital. One Chinese woman recently died in a US maternity ward because she couldn’t communicate with the medical staff.