China's health body probes hospital after surrogacy claims

By Reuters   May 6, 2024 | 07:15 pm PT
China's health body probes hospital after surrogacy claims
Women train with plastic baby dolls as they take part in a nursing skills class for confinement carers, at Yipeitong training centre in Shanghai, China, March 2, 2023. Photo by Reuters
China's National Health Commission said it was investigating a hospital in the southwest megacity of Chongqing for its alleged involvement in surrogacy, which is illegal in China, after wide circulation of the issue on social media.

The incident comes after a series of official investigations last year related to the issuance of fake birth certificates at a time when China is trying to boost its birth rate.

Chongqing Angel Obstetrics and Gynaecology Hospital has been cooperating with illegal surrogacy agencies, a post on Chinese social media platform Weibo said on Sunday.

Surrogate mothers would use forged ID cards to give birth in the hospital and forged birth certificates would be made after the babies were born, according to the post, made by a user called Shangguan Zhengyi, who describes himself as a volunteer fighting child trafficking.

A team had been set up to investigate and verify the situation, the local Chongqing health committee said in a statement on its website on Sunday in response to the post.

"Once verified, it (the hospital) will be dealt with seriously in accordance with laws and regulations."

Chongqing Angel Obstetrics and Gynaecology Hospital did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.

The Weibo post on the hospital was one of the top trending items on Monday, drawing hundreds of comments.

"This industry always seems to have existed," said one comment by a user called Wensheng. Another user called XJ said: "This is an industrial chain, not something that can be accomplished by one person."

China said last year it would "severely crack down" on illegal activities related to the use of assisted reproductive technologies such as the buying or selling of sperm or eggs and surrogacy.

It suspended a hospital and judicial institute in Wuhan in November after they were accused of surrogacy and issuing fake paternity results.

Birth certificates are required in China for obtaining household registration and are necessary for vaccinations, medical insurance enrollment and application for a social security card.

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