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A debate about surrogacy, money, and the one-child policy has been stirred up in China after the story of one wealthy family who had octuplets with the help of five surrogates became public. The couple from Guangdong, whose name was not given by the press, had IVF after they turned out to be infertile. The mother gave birth to three of the babies herself, and had the other five through surrogate mothers. The family is now being investigated "thoroughly", authorities say.

It is well-known that China has a one-child policy, but surrogacy is also illegal in the country. Breaking the rules means risking jail time and fines, and in case a woman is still pregnant, sometimes forced abortion. I wonder what will happen to these eight babies now that their parents are being investigated. All we know is that a spokeswoman for the Guangdong Provincial Family Planning Commission told the press: ''This is not merely a case of excessive births but one about illegal surrogate pregnancies."

The BBC reported that a "complete international surrogacy package" will cost a Chinese family around one million yuan. That is about 157,600 US dollars. They mentioned that illegal surrogate mothers are often taken to Thailand and other Asian countries where surrogacy is legal, to come back to China to give birth as their pregnancies come to an end. Surrogacy packages apparently range from "economic" to "luxury". And in case you were wondering what that entails, making sure the surrogate baby is a boy costs more but would appeal to many Chinese families. Ugh.

There is no shortage of ethical questions in this short story, is there? Chinese people have been sharing their views on the family who had octuplets through surrogates in the internet. Many say it is unfair that rich people can break the law and just pay fines, and that this family should be taxed at least 80 percent of their income. Others are raising questions about the validity of the one-child policy, and pointing out that it will become more and more difficult to meet the care needs of the aging population.

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