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China Bans Substitute Mothers

Xinhua, 2 August 2001

BEIJING, August 2 (Xinhua) -- Chinese medical organizations and medical workers are banned from executing any form of substitute pregnancy technology as of Wednesday.

The rule was stipulated in the Methods on Administration for Human Assistant Reproduction Technologies published by the Chinese Ministry of Health.

Substitute pregnancy refers to a process in which semen and eggs of the husband and wife are fertilized in-vitro and then the fertilized eggs are planted into another woman who will become pregnant and give birth to a baby or babies for the couple.

Today's Beijing Morning Post reported that several years ago, substitute pregnancy technology was carried out in several hospitals and substitute mothers were usually siblings with wives of the original couples.

An official from the ministry explained that the ban should be introduced as the current relevant laws and regulations in China are not perfect.

Out of a concern for ethics, experts are also studying the possibility of applying the fourth-generation test-tube baby technology, said the official.

There is no fixed answer to the question whether there is a hereditary substance in cytoplasm or not. If it is proven there is a hereditary substance in cytoplasm, the baby produced via the fourth-generation test-tube baby technology will be a product of three partners

With the fourth-generation test-tube baby technology, cell nucleus will be taken from eggs of a mother of older age and planted into the cytoplasm of egg cells offered by a young female volunteer, forming the new egg cells of the first woman. Fertilizing the new eggs with semen of the first woman's husband in-vitro and moving the fertilized eggs into the first woman who will be pregnant and produce babies of her own.