Stigma of single moms in China Published: 2013-6-20 16:32:00

Unwed mothers

Being a single mother in China often means being shunned by traditionalists. Even today it is a difficult role in a society where marriage is considered the ultimate role for a woman.


      Situation of unwed mother

2 Social norms 

The social stigma attached to pregnancy out of wedlock leaves many women ashamed or afraid to reach out to their own parents.

Having a baby out of wedlock remains scandalous in China, especially for the mother.

2 Restraints

People who give birth out of wedlock need to pay a "social maintenance" fee to family planning authorities, which varies in different regions between half to six times the local average annual income.

2 Rare supports

A single woman can still give birth in a hospital, but she has to pay everything out of her own pocket because there is no reproductive insurance for single women.

Single women are not allowed to request for sperm donations at State-approved sperm banks. A couple would need to show their marriage certificate in order to receive the service.




Wuhan  Shanghai  Chongqing

For more, please click here.


If children are the future then it is important to ensure that those that are born are able to get a fighting chance to succeed in life, as well as ensuring that their mothers do not end up feeling that this miracle of birth is a death sentence for them. 

Wang Xixin, law professor at Peking University
The rights of unmarried mothers and their babies should be protected as long as the mother does not have a second child in contravention of China's family planning laws. Imposing a “social compensation fee” for having a child out of wedlock is both discriminatory and a violation of property.

@普罗旺斯的望角:I completely agree with fining unmarried mothers. They cause many problems, are not able to support their children and lack any sense of family responsibility. I think having a child should be a decision made between both the man and woman, which in the end is best for the child’s mental and physical health.

Legal Mirror
Whether you want to admit it or not, unwed mothers exist. From a social standpoint, they could even be seen as progress. This problem did not exist when the family planning policy was put into effect decades ago. Back then, marriage was a prerequisite for having a child. But now things have changed. Women are no longer just wives. They are independent. More importantly, they are economically independent. Chinese women are able to make their own decisions now more than ever, and some are deciding to have children without getting married.  

Solutions to this issue should not be based in morality, but rather proper analysis: Who comprises this group? What is their education background and income? Are they largely unplanned pregnancies? 

Ma Jinzhen, a lawyer from Tongchuang Law Firm
"Although the intention of the draft is understandable, it's hard to provide evidence to prove  if the father is married or not, because the information of the father's hukou (household registration) may not have been updated in time, This could create lots of problems." 

Yu Shaoxiang, an expert on social security at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Imposing the social compensation fee will definitely lead to increased abortions and abandoned infants. Depending on their economic situation, unmarried mothers may even choose to run away or even sell their children. This would create problems rather than solve them. 

@知风:For some unmarried mothers social compensation fees are not a big deal, but for others it’s making their situation worse. The rich can handle fines while the poor cannot, and this is unfair.

Try to live better

2 Be active

Some are now creating a new image for single mothers. These women are socially active, independent, warm and caring. And they are excellent mothers.

2 Mutual help

Online communities of single mothers seeking support and advice from each other are sprouting up.

Related Special

Unmarried mothers to pay ‘social compensation fee’

Posted in: Society

blog comments powered by Disqus