The public were recently treated to a recordingof a discussion by the family of Chinese actress, Zheng Shuang, about what to do about two babies which she had arranged to be born by American surrogate mothers. The babies arrived, awkwardly, after she had split up from her boyfriend, the babies’ biological father. The recording was released in the context of a bitter dispute between them and the father.
It’s not clear why Zheng, who is 29 and donated the eggs, wanted to employ other women’s wombs for these pregnancies. Perhaps she has some health reason, or perhaps it was to avoid disrupting her career. After the couple’s split, Zheng and her family have appeared to regard the infants as nothing but an embarrassing inconvenience. Interestingly, surrogacy is illegal in China, and the affair has not gone down well in the Chinese press. Zheng has also been dropped as the Chinese advertising face of the luxury clothing brand, Prada.
There are of course plenty of minor celebrities, and ordinary people too, whose romantic failures have left small children high and dry. Still, however foolish the earlier behaviour may have been, the maternal bond is generally still strong, and grandparents too tend to feel they have something at stake and frequently step in to help pick up the pieces. Those who pay for surrogates to bear children for them, like the Zheng family, by contrast often seem to feel no connection with the children when things go wrong.