Since the beginning of the global Covid-19 pandemic, hundreds of surrogate newborns have been “stranded”, pending the reopening of international borders between China, Russia and Ukraine. The babies have either been placed in orphanages or in centers run by “nannies” since the Chinese customers who ordered the babies, had to return home before the borders were closed and their visas have been cancelled.
According to Dmitriy Sitzko, the Chinese Marketing Director at the Vera Surrogacy Center in St. Petersburg. “When the police finds several “undocumented” Chinese babies being housed with a stranger, it looks like an organ trafficking ring.
This boom in the surrogacy business began when the one-child law was abolished in China. Sometimes couples could benefit from this reform, for example when they were too old to have a second child. So, they circumvented the Chinese ban on surrogacy by placing orders through agencies based in Russia, Ukraine and Laos. The Cambodian government has already banned surrogacy due to this phenomenon, which exploits the women’s bodies, especially those living in precarity.
Already last May, France TV Info revealed a similar situation in Ukraine, a major hub for supplying surrogate babies for customers all over the world. Although some foreign clients had been able to obtain visas from their home countries, those from countries which ban surrogacy could not. Therefore, hotel rooms had to be converted into nurseries for over 100 babies.
The global pandemic highlights the dramatic consequences of marketing human reproduction and the urgent need to establish international agreements on banning surrogacy.
Despite the fact that it is totally illegal in France, and described by the government in the debates on the bioethics bill as a “red line” not to be crossed, surrogacy businesses keep attempting to force their way into the country. Following the trade fare called “Désir d’enfant” (Desire for a Child), held in Paris on September 6, where foreign businesses openly proposed their surrogacy services to French citizens, several associations decided to file a legal suit.