An increasing number of Chinese citizens who’re reportedly already past childbearing age are bypassing this limitation by hiring American surrogates, but according to critics, this poses a major national security risk.
First of all, it needs to be understood that surrogacy is illegal in China. And so what these Chinese citizens are trying to do — have kids by using American bodies — is understandable and, many would say, not innately wrong.
In fact, seeking surrogacy through U.S. parents isn’t in itself illegal in China.
So what’s the problem?
America’s “birth citizenship” policy, for starters, according to Emma Waters, a Heritage Foundation research associate and visiting fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum
“Chinese children birthed by an American surrogate gain and maintain the full rights of U.S. citizenship just by being born here — even though they will be raised in China. And there’s a bonus: When the child turns 21, the parents will have direct access to citizenship through a green card application,” she wrote for The Federalist.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) November 18, 2022
Another issue is the number of “rent-a-womb” clinics that are linked directly to China.
“It’s now common for surrogacy agencies in California to offer website language options in Mandarin. In many cases, the Mandarin-language version offers different videos, images, and text. Facilities with strong ties to China through residency, education, or employment history are also common,” Waters explained.
“Even though surrogacy is illegal in China, three California facilities — Global Fertility, Mlang Surrogacy, and Sunshine Surrogacy — list offices in China. Another California agency, Angels Creation Reproductive Center, shows an office in Japan which, given the website’s Mandarin language option, might be a front for Chinese clients. (At this point, we have no way of knowing.)”
Combined, these factors all create a national security risk.
“We have no idea who these children are. So should they come back and get involved in research in academia or purchase contracts or even apply for jobs in sensitive areas, we don’t have clear tracking to show that these U.S. citizens actually had a far more complicated background and path to the United States,” Waters told Fox News.
“When it comes to actually tracking who these parents are, who the children are or even what the Chinese involvement is, it’s basically impossible to do so right now. It really is the Wild West of fertility treatments,” she added.
“When it comes to Chinese infiltration into every aspect of American life, this is a huge red flag. We know that the Chinese government has infiltrated our social media with TikTok, defense contracts, farmland, entertainment and Hollywood,” she added. “It seems like a really obvious continuation of that is having U.S. citizens who are fully Chinese,” Waters concluded.
If you think Chinese investment in U.S. farmland is bad, what do you think about the Chinese “rent-a-womb” industry?
Unregulated international commercial surrogacy laws and CA’s lax state laws mean that Chinese nationals have unfettered access to American wombs for citizenship+ pic.twitter.com/iG3Gca4HQu
— Emma Waters (@emlwaters) April 18, 2023
The only comforting news is that the U.S. isn’t the only nation offering up surrogates. So are many others, including Ukraine.
“Until last year, Ukraine was the world’s second-largest surrogacy market behind the U.S., attracting foreign would-be parents with lower fees and a favorable regulatory framework. Crucially, that includes naming intended parents on the baby’s birth certificate, rather than the surrogate mother,” according to CNBC.
“But that all changed with Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. Reports quickly emerged of surrogate mothers relocating to bomb shelters and prospective parents trying to enter Ukraine to be united with their surrogates.”
That said, Waters does believe U.S. lawmakers should take action.
“The Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act requires data on foreign investment in U.S. land. Why not, at a minimum, pass a similar law tracking babies born to foreign nationals?” she wrote for The Federalist.
“This would ensure that the U.S. knows who the ‘purchasing parents’ and their children are. A similar law should hold U.S. fertility facilities and reproductive groups accountable for their role in promoting this industry,” she added.
She concluded the piece by calling for the House’s China Select Committee in particular to immediately pass legislation.
“The China Select Committee’s focus on Chinese investment is supposed to protect American interests. To achieve this goal, Congress must consider Chinese nationals who pay tens of thousands of dollars each to rent the wombs of American women. This growing practice offers Beijing a long-term pathway to subvert U.S. citizenship and infiltrate key industries,” she wrote.
“It’s time for Congress to act on this issue. In order to really show the magnitude of this issue, we need to require data and reporting on these foreign contracts,” she likewise said to Fox News.