In China, a baby is born 4 years after the death of his parents

A baby was born in China four years after the death of his parents, after his grandparents were able to recover a frozen embryo implanted in a surrogate mother, a Chinese media outlet reported.

The child, named “Tiantian” (“sweet-sweet” in Chinese), was born on December 9, 2017, revealed last week the Chinese news outlet Xinjingbao. His parents, Shen Jie and his wife Liu Xi, were on infertility treatment when they died in 2013 in a car accident.  The mom and the dad were the only children of their parents as a result of the one-child policy. Their death meant that the parents would have nobody to continue their genetic line.

The latter then embarked on a long legal battle to obtain possession of the fertilized embryos of their children in a hospital in Nanjing. Since surrogacy was illegal in China, they had to travel to Laos to find a surrogate mother. “We first thought about air transport, but the airlines all refused to ship the liquid nitrogen vial in which the four embryos were located,” a surrogacy specialist told the newspaper. The precious cargo had to reach Laos by road, after which the Laotian surrogate came to China to give birth.

The infant stayed in the hospital for two weeks while the four grandparents had time to undergo DNA tests to prove their parentage and nationality. “He smiles all the time, he has his mother’s eyes, but he looks more like his father,” one of the two grandmothers told the newspaper. The boy’s grandfather told the newspaper that he would wait for his grandson to be older to explain what happened to his parents. “In the meantime, we will tell him that they live abroad”.

Tiantian’s unconventional birth sparked a debate on Chinese social networks, where many commentators were calling for the legalization of surrogacy, highlighting the plight of many single-child parents after the one-child policy ended in 2016. “This is a rich and well-connected family, but there are many other people who have lost their only child who are not as fortunate. The state should help them”, suggests a user on the Weibo social network.

Emy Torres

Emy holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan and currently freelances part-time for The Talking Democrat.