Key laws and policies
- Ethical Guidelines on Human Embryonic Stem Cell (January 2004)
- Administrative Measures for Assisted Human Reproductive Technology, Order of the Ministry of Public Health of the People’s Republic of China, No 14 of 2001
- Ethical Principles of Assisted Human Reproductive Technology and Human Sperm Bank, Order of the Ministry of Public Health of the People’s Republic of China, No 176 of 2003
Note: In the reforms of 2013, the Ministry of Public Health was dissolved and its functions integrated into the new agency called the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
- Reproductive cloning is prohibited by the Ethical Guidelines on Human Embryonic Stem Cell and the Regulation on Human Assisted Reproductive Technologies.
- Sex selection is prohibited, but a wide imbalance in the sex ratio at birth, especially in certain affluent provinces, demonstrates that it occurs. In the past it has been reported that wealthy Chinese were traveling to the US and elsewhere to evade restrictions on the use of PGD.
- In August 2001, the Ministry of Public Health of the People’s Republic of China issued the "Administrative Measures for Assisted Human Reproductive Technology," which prohibits medical institutions and medical staff from performing any form of surrogacy procedure. Any medical institution that assists a surrogacy arrangement may be subject to a fine of not more than 30,000 yuan (RMB) (Approx US$5000).
- In addition the "Ethical Principles of Assisted Human Reproductive Technology and Human Sperm Bank" (updated 23 June 2003), establishes the protection of children as one of seven fundamental ethical principles of assisted human reproductive technology. This principal is seen to be guaranteed and implemented by, among other things, the prohibition on medical staff performing surrogate surgery.
- In 2013, the Ministry of Health reaffirmed the surrogacy ban, while asking experts to ponder the related legal, ethical, and social issues.
- Note: The Administrative Measures Sanctions do not pertain to the surrogate mother or commissioning couple, and it has been reported that there is a significant "underground" practice of surrogacy in China. (See http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/03/world/asia/china-experiences-a-booming-black-market-in-child-surrogacy.html?_r=1.)
Sale of Gametes
- The above-mentioned Administrative Measures ban all forms of trade in fertilized eggs and embryos.
Permitted and regulated practices
- Egg donation is practiced in circumstances where an excess number of eggs (greater than 20) have been retrieved from an IVF patient and prior written consent has been given.
- Research cloning is specifically allowed.
Accountability and governance
In October 2014, six government departments held a meeting to review a special program on fighting illegal medical practices that had been in operation since September 2013. The meeting included discussion that "the NHFPC and the Ministry of Public Security dealt with illegal assisted reproductive technology cases in Hubei" (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/m/chinahealth/2014-11/05/content_18873249.htm).
- UNESCO, "National Legislation Concerning Human Reproductive and Therapeutic Cloning."
- Center for Genetics and Society, "Countries with laws or policies on sex selection."
- Ted Plafker, "Sex selection in China sees 117 boys born for every 100 girls," BMJ 2002;324:1233 (25 May)
- Carla K. Johnson, "Wealthy go to US to choose baby's sex," Washington Post, June 14, 2006.
- Jia Hepend, "China supports therapeutic cloning," China Daily, March 31, 2005.