The government of southwest China's Yunnan Province has launched a crackdown on illegal surrogacy.
Officials with the provincial Health and Family Planning Commission said on Friday that the six-month campaign, involving 10 departments, will focus on spotting and punishing medical personnel and intermediary agencies that help perform surrogate pregnancy services.
Online, TV, radio and print media that carry surrogacy advertising will also be targeted, while authorities will step up supervision over the sale and circulation of assisted reproductive technology (ART) drugs and medical equipment.
Surrogacy is banned in China, but wombs-for-rent businesses have thrived in the world's most populous country, where studies indicate an estimated one in eight couples face fertility problems.
Advertisements for surrogacy services are easily found on TV and the Internet, calling out to both infertile couples and prospective surrogates.
No official statistics are available on the number of agencies offering surrogacy services in China, but Guangzhou's Southern Metropolis Weekly newspaper estimated in April 2009 that around 25,000 children had been born to surrogates in the past three decades.
China launched a nationwide cross-department campaign to crack down on illegal surrogacy in April. A similar campaign against ART abuse was launched in 2013.