No one knows precisely how many Chinese citizens travel to the United States each year for surrogacy, but fertility specialists say the demand is skyrocketing.“I’ve never seen anything like it,” John Weltman, the founder of Circle Surrogacy, told CNN.But in this case, money flowed of China and into America.
The influx of Chinese citizens seeking surrogates in the United States reflects, in part, the growing wealth and mobility of urban professionals in China.It has also been spurred by China’s decision to rescind its One Family One Child policy last year, allowing straight, married couples to pursue larger families.That’s when Andrea realized that she wanted to become a surrogate. She knew that the twins took when she started feeling “emotional.” (“A Whitney Houston song would come on the radio and I’d cry.”) After her doctor confirmed that the fetus had a heartbeat, she received her first stipend.She went online and found an agency in New Jersey called New Beginnings, which refers clients and surrogates to New Hope. They ask 20 different ways if you are thinking of killing yourself.” Andrea was proud to hear that she was “one of the best surrogates that the psychiatrist had ever met.”Two months later, Andrea returned to New Hope to have an embryo from the “intended parents”—known as I. For weeks after the procedure, she gave herself progesterone injections. The same day, she gave the hair salon two weeks’ notice. Of that, surrogates take home an average ,000 to ,000, with a bonus if they carry multiple pregnancies.Children are not allowed on the top floor: Their presence might upset clients who are unable to conceive. Reproductive labor is a growth industry, and the workers downstairs are lining up to apply for the job.
Upstairs, by contrast, the wealthy couples who will employ them often come from China, one of the fastest-growing markets for surrogate pregnancies.
She found the job exhausting; some weeks, she was working every day.
When Andrea’s brother and his wife were struggling to get pregnant, she offered to carry a child for them; they declined. On September 11, 2014, the doctors at New Hope transferred male twins into Andrea.
When you have the baby, they even provide a house in the United States where you can stay—all in one package.” At the very moment when Donald Trump is vowing to take a hard line with China and to bring working-class jobs back to America, Chinese couples are employing American women to perform the world’s original form of labor. She is not religious but is “into signs.” She grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, where she still lives. Andrea has carried twins for a Chinese couple before; when we meet, she is pregnant with her third surrogate child.
The money she earns is “not a survival thing,” she says, but it has improved her life.
Some of the couples, though, are pursuing a different and controversial reproductive service: surrogate pregnancy.