Tiantian is a baby boy born last year in China, to a surrogate mother. He was born 4 years after his parents died in a car accident. The story is a tragic one. The baby boy’s grandparents went through a long and complicated legal battle for the chance to bring their grandchild into this world.
Shen Ji and Liu Xi, the child’s parents were married for a couple of years and decided to give fertilization a try, after failing to conceive a child. Back in 2013, just five days before one of the fertilized eggs was to be transplanted in Liu, the couple died in a car accident. The heartbroken parents of the couple knew how much they wanted a baby and decided to make their dream a reality.
They fought for the frozen embryos left by their children for four years. Having no legal precedent, the court battles were long and hard. They were finally given custody to of the embryos but that was not the end of the problems. They could not take the embryos out of the hospital without another hospital willing to store them.
It was hard to find institutions willing to store them due to the legal ambiguity surrounding the case. As surrogacy is illegal in China, they had to search abroad for a mother willing to carry the baby. They eventually decided on Laos, where commercial surrogacy is legal but transporting the embryos there was another problem. No airline was willing to carry a thermos-sized bottle of liquid nitrogen and they had to transport it by a car.
One of the embryos was transplanted into the womb of a surrogate mother and she gave birth to a healthy baby boy in December that the grandparents named Tiantian which means sweet. The grandparents brought the surrogate mother into China on a tourist visa so she could give birth on Chinese soil and they had to take DNA tests to prove their relationship to Tiantian.
The grandparents are happy after the long and arduous battle with the courts and they plan to tell the boy about how he came into this world when he is old enough to understand. For now, they plan to tell him that his parents are working overseas.
“This boy is destined to be sad on his arrival into the world. Other babies have their fathers and mothers, but he doesn’t,” Tiantian’s paternal grandfather, Shen Xinan, told Beijing News. “We will definitely tell him in the future. How can we not?”