Now, parentage is a click away! | india | Hindustan Times
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Now, parentage is a click away!

A Web site is offering to find surrogate mothers for couples unable to have children on their own, although legal uncertainties surrounding the practice have already led it to be closed down once.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 16:57 IST

A Chinese Web site is offering to find surrogate mothers for couples unable to have children on their own, although legal uncertainties surrounding the practice have already led it to be closed down once.

Lu Jinfeng, the founder of the Web site, http://www.aa69.com/, claims in media interviews to have paired more than 20 women with infertile couples since opening the site in January 2004. As of August, the site had 360 couples registered for the service, about 240 of them from overseas, although it was constrained by a dearth of willing surrogate mothers, Lu was quoted as saying by the Yantai Daily newspaper.

The site says it offers up to 100,000 yuan (US$12,500; euro10,500) to surrogates, who must be healthy, under age 32 and at least 1.57 meters (about 5 feet) tall. Couples are charged 11,000 yuan (US$1,375;euro1,155) in fees.

However, China has no laws governing surrogate motherhood and authorities in the eastern city of Suzhou where the site was first registered closed it down after about one year.

"The site was reported to us and after investigating, we judged it to not be legal and closed it down," said an officer from the Suzhou police's Internet supervision department who refused to give his name or other details.

The site has since reregistered in the central city of Wuhan. Lu, 29, could not immediately be reached for comment, although reports said he ran a gift shop with his wife before starting the Web site. Calls to numbers listed on the site for its head office and agents in several Chinese cities rang unanswered. Surrogacy remains controversial in many countries due to fears of baby selling, and several U.S. states have laws criminalizing the practice. Japan's Supreme Court last year rejected a couple's request to register as their own sons boys who were born in the United States to an American surrogate mother.

Surrogacy usually involves a woman becoming pregnant, either using her own eggs or by the implanting of another woman's egg into her womb, in order to give the child away to another couple. A surrogate mother may or may not be the child's genetic parent depending on the arrangement.

Lu's Web site doesn't address the legal issues, which would likely be complicated by China's strict family planning rules limiting most women to just one child.

However, the Web site states that it doesn't accept requests from fertile women or "singles or those of unclear background."