Parents-to-be go to crazy lengths to choose their baby’s gender, from assuming pseudo-scientific sex positions to undergoing specialized in vitro fertilization procedures. But a couple from Guangdong, China tops the list: They’re standing trial for buying a baby boy on the black market, the Telegraph reports.
The couple, who live in the town of Shantou and are identified as the Chens in news reports, tried for years to produce a baby with the culturally valued Y chromosome. But eighteen years — and seven daughters — later, they got desperate, and allegedly purchased a boy through an illegal human trafficking ring.
According to the Daily Mail, the Chens were introduced via a mutual friend to the Wang family, who were looking to offload their baby boy. On Nov. 24, 2016, the Chens traveled to Fengshun County, in southern China, to meet the Wangs and discuss the possibility of adoption.
When the two families met, the Wangs allegedly assured the Chens that the baby boy had not been illegally abducted — but asked the hopeful parents to pay a $1,400 “nutrition fee” to take him home.
The Chens allegedly paid the fee and headed home with the boy. But when they arrived back in Shantou, they were reportedly arrested and informed that the child had been abducted and trafficked.
According to Chinese media outlet Caixin, boys aged 6 and under are a hot commodity on China’s adoption scene. The country’s black markets help fill the outsize demand, with human trafficking rings selling desired young boys to desperate Chinese parents.
Mr. Chen says he bought the boy to carry on his family name, according to a report by Meizhou Radio and Television. “I have seven daughters, and the oldest is 18 and the youngest is 2,” said the husband. “We prefer boys in my hometown, and that is why we wanted to adopt a boy.”
Chinese courts have yet to return a verdict on the case.
It’s just one of many wrenching stories that have gripped China in recent years involving “baby snatchers.” Notably, four years ago, a doctor in Shaanxi was sentenced to death for stealing and selling babies.