A baby boy was born in China to a surrogate four years after the death of his parents.
In a case which has no legal precedent in the country, the boy's grandparents had obtained legal rights to the frozen embryos of their deceased children.
The young couple, Shen Joe and Liu Xi, were undergoing IVF (in vitro fertilisation) treatment when they died in a car crash March 2013, days before their embryos were scheduled to be implanted. As they were both only children, their parents were determined to continue the family blood lines through surrogacy, according to the Beijing News. The couple had four frozen embryos stored at a hospital in Nanjing.
Surrogacy remains illegal in China and there is no legal precedent about the inheritance of frozen embryos. This meant that the deceased couple's parents had to fight a lengthy legal battle over the embryos.
The intended grandparents won the right to the frozen embryos. However, because of the legal grey area over untransplanted embryos, they could only be transferred to another institution. With no medical institution in China willing to take them, the frozen embryos were driven to a hospital in Laos, where surrogacy is legal.
The embryos were implanted into a 27-year old surrogate. She then travelled from Laos to China to give birth to the child there on 9 December 2017.
In a last legal step, all grandparents had to submit DNA samples to prove their relation to their grandson to gain custody and Chinese nationality for him. In March 2018 they had a small gathering for the 100-day birthday of their grandson, called Tiantian.