Human egg black market still exists as college students targeted

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/15 20:10:02

Young women on the street of Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province Photo: VCG

China's underground trade in human eggs has provoked heated discussions in the past months, with experts saying these illegal practices will not last long. Charlene Choi, 36-year-old Hong Kong singer and actress who said Tuesday that she had frozen her eggs, reignited the discussion.

Media have been reporting on these cases since 2016, and reports have put the topic under the spotlight again this year. 

A female interviewee in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, claimed that she had been drugged for over 10 days while her eggs were surgically harvested and sold to illegal fertility agencies so that she could repay a 60,000 yuan ($8,728) debt, according to, citing an audio clip. 

There are still many organizations that recruit women to sell their eggs in the name of donations, offering 10,000 to 100,000 yuan in so-called "nutrition fees." 

According to these news reports, the prices for eggs vary, and are based mainly on the women's educational background and customers' preference for their height and looks. 

The women supplying the eggs are often tempted by quick money, and neglect the effects to their own health. 

During the procedure, the injections used to stimulate the ovaries might cause the donor to go through mood fluctuations, abdominal distension, swelling of the ovarian region, and other serious symptoms. 

In October 2016, a 17-year-old girl was injected with hormones in order to sell 21 eggs at once in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, and almost lost her life, according to 

Dong Yizhi, a research fellow with the China e-Business Research Center, told the Global Times that the National Health Commission is paying great attention to these cases. The Human Reproductive Technology Supplementary Code issued by the commission clearly states that "donating eggs is a kind of humanitarian action. It is prohibited for any organization or individual to use egg donations for commercial purposes."

"The Measures for the Administration of Human Assisted Reproductive Technology forbids medical institutions and personnel from carrying out surrogacy operations in any form," Dong stressed. 

The fact that university students are targeted is particularly alarming, as they are most susceptible to the temptation of a quick income, experts warned. 

"In China, this black market is definitely illegal, but there are no specific charges," Jia Ruiguo, a lawyer with Beijing Fangli Law Firm told the Global Times. 

"In the case of intentional injury or illegal medical practice during the process, the participant may be seen as an accomplice," Jia added.

Posted in: IN-DEPTH

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