In March 2013, five days before Liu Xi and her husband Shen Jie were scheduled for the transplantation of one fertilized embryo into her womb, the young couple died in a car crash. Their untimely death thus put a definitive end to their prospect of building a family. The parents of the deceased couple, however, were not yet ready to give up the chance of having a grandchild that would not just carry the memories of its parents but also allow the family bloodline to be continued. Following a protracted legal battle both sets of parents won the rights over the four frozen embryos left by their late children.
Surrogacy has been forbidden in China since 2001, therefore a surrogate mother had to be found abroad. One was finally found in Laos, a country that still allowed commercial surrogacy at the time, and in December 2017, more than four years after his parents’ death, a baby boy named Tiantian, ‘sweetness’ in English, was born in a hospital in the southern city of Guangzhou. Legal complications continued even after the child’s birth as the grandparents had to carry out DNA tests to prove they were related to the boy and thus obtain his custody. In March this year, the grandparents celebrated the child’s 100th day on earth. Born out of love and technological prowess, this orphan boy epitomizes the fact that the reality of new technologies has gone way beyond fiction. Welcome to Reprodutopia!
Photo via Getty Images.