‘Test-tube son is yours’: China court orders man to pay child support after test proves he is father following consensual fertility therapy

‘Test-tube son is yours’: China court orders man to pay child support after test proves he is father following consensual fertility therapy

A man in China who refused to provide for his test-tube son following a divorce has faced an online backlash after he was ordered by a mainland court to pay child support.

The child’s father, surnamed Wu, and mother, surnamed Tan, are from the coastal province of Jiangsu in the east of the country.

Due to Wu’s inability to father children, the couple turned to fertility therapy and welcomed their son into the world in April 2011.

“After years of marriage without children, the couple sought medical advice and discovered Wu was unable to father children due to congenital factors,” Shen Zhanwang, a judge of the First Civil Decision at Yixing People’s Court told Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation.

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Under the law in China, a child produced by fertility treatment agreed by both parents comes with the same rights and obligations as a child born naturally. Photo: Shutterstock

Tan suggested using a test-tube method to produce a baby and Wu consented.

However, soon after the birth of their son, the marriage began to deteriorate, leading Wu to file for divorce.

Although Wu’s initial divorce request was denied by the court, the couple chose to live separately, with Tan taking care of their son alone.

In July 2022, Wu filed for divorce again, this time questioning the paternity of the child, even alleging he was the product of an extramarital affair conducted by Tan.

Even though Tan provided paternity test results during the proceedings, which Wu acknowledged, he still refused to pay child support for his son.

Ultimately, Yixing People’s Court granted the divorce, awarding custody to Tan and ordering Wu to pay child support.

The ruling was based on Supreme Court provisions which stipulate that children conceived through consensual artificial insemination are considered to be the legitimate offspring of the couple, with equal rights and responsibilities under the Marriage Law.

Sun Ruojun, Associate Professor of Marriage Law at Renmin University, said: “IVF, or in-vitro fertilisation, is legal in China. Whether it’s artificial insemination using the husband’s sperm and the wife’s egg or using third-party gametes.

“Once the couple sign a contract for IVF and the procedure is successful, they are the legal parents of the child.” Sun told Jinan Daily.

Wu has faced a barrage of criticism online, with many lambasting him for evading his responsibilities.

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Online observers have heavily criticised the father and offered sympathy to the child and his mother. Photo: Shutterstock

One person said: “This man is despicable. If he didn’t want to support the child, why agree to IVF in the first place? Now he simply wants to dodge responsibility after divorce.”

Another said: “This is still his child. How could he refuse to care for him?”

“Poor kid. If he had been given to the father, he would have been treated badly,” a third person added.

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