Taiwan to Possibly Legalize Surrogacy

December 18, 2013
By Gao ShuyingEditor: Leo Yin

Taiwan to Possibly Legalize Surrogacy
Top lawmakers in southeast China's Taiwan are considering legalizing surrogacy.[xinjiangnet/Ma Jing]
Top lawmakers in southeast China's Taiwan said at a recent plenary session of Taiwan's legislature that they will consider legalizing surrogacy.

Kuomintang (KMT) legislator Chiang Hui-chen said that the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee has deliberated proposed amendments to the Artificial Reproduction Act that would legalize surrogacy.

"The suggested amendments involve legal conditions related to couples who qualify to use a surrogate, surrogate mothers, surrogate agreements, surrogate agencies and the legal relationship between surrogate babies and their genetic parents as well as gestational mothers," said Chiang.

"Surrogacy has been discussed for nearly 10 years, but has constantly met with objections about the possible violations of women's rights that may occur," Chiang added.

"Although surrogacy has sparked heated discussion over the past few years, it is the first time that the issue has been formally discussed at a legislature's plenary session and we exchanged ideas in hopes of reaching a consensus," said Yeh Yi-jin, a legislator from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Taiwan's Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta said that she supports the legalization of surrogacy in Taiwan, but the authorities should develop complementary measures to better govern surrogacy arrangements.

Only women who have been diagnosed with infertility can apply to use a surrogate and surrogate mothers must be Taiwanese women between 20 and 40 and must have given birth before.

According to the proposed amendments, couples are also required to first file an application concerning the surrogate agreements between the couples and surrogate mothers with the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), and they must obtain the permission of the MOHW.

In order to prevent surrogate mothers from being motivated by financial gains, legislators have suggested limiting the number of times that a woman can be a surrogate.

"I have received many petitions from couples who are unable to have children but do not want to seek surrogates from abroad because of worries about expenses and medical safety," said Chiang.

The MOHW conducted a survey of public opinions on surrogacy in August this year and found that 83 percent of respondents had heard of surrogacy and 68.1 percent said that the current ban on surrogacy and assisted reproduction should be lifted.

Others voiced their concern that legalizing surrogacy will negatively affect the adoption of abandoned children and cause an increase in abortions of babies with potential birth defects.

(Source: Beijing Youth Daily/Translated and edited by womenofchina.cn)

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