China launches campaign to crack down on illegal fertility treatments

China currently only allows married women to access fertility treatment. (Representative)

Hong Kong:

China will “crack down” on illegal activities related to the purchase or sale of assisted reproductive technologies such as sperm or eggs and the use of surrogacy in a six-month campaign to quell widespread public concern.

Fourteen government ministries, including the country’s National Health Commission (NHC), said in a statement that assisted reproductive technology can only be used in the country’s 543 approved medical institutions.

“The illegal application of reproductive technology has periodically occurred in recent years causing widespread concern in society,” said a statement from the NHC.

In a bid to standardize the application of assisted human reproductive technologies, the government said it would focus on cracking down on illegal and criminal activities, including forgery and trading of birth medical certificates, from June to December this year.

“The illegal use of human assisted reproductive technologies such as surrogacy and illegal collection of eggs seriously harms women’s health and rights,” the NHC said.

It states that issuance of false birth medical certificates has led to illegal detention and trafficking of women and other crimes which seriously violate the rights and interests of women and children.

The NHC said other measures would be implemented, including strictly managing patient identification, strengthening the approval and verification of human-assisted reproductive technology, and increasing penalties for medical institutions and personnel who violate the rules.

Concerned about China’s rapid ageing, political advisers to the government proposed in March that single and unmarried women should have access to egg-freezing and in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, among other services.

China currently only allows married women to access fertility treatments such as IVF and egg-freezing technologies.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV Staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)