A baby in China was born four years after the death of his parents. A legal battle over frozen embryos delayed the birth of the baby boy, but now his four grandparents get the wish that they wanted.

Baby Sweetie

The grandparents of baby Sweetie celebrated his birth more than four years after an accident killed his parents. Sweetie's maternal grandmother says that they gave him that name because they hoped that the birth would bring sweetness after the bitterness of the death of his parents and the legal battles that complicated his birth.

Shen Jie and Liu Xi were killed in Yixing, China, on March 2013 after a car crash. Before the accident, the couple had frozen embryos, hoping to use IVF to have a child.

After the crash, the couple's parents had gone through legal channels to obtain the frozen embryos. Before this incident, there was no legal precedent for parents inheriting their children's frozen embryos. During this time, the embryos were being kept at the Nanjing hospital.

Courts eventually granted the grandparents ownership of the embryos, but then they ran into another issue. The Nanjing hospital would only give them the embryos if there was another hospital that would be able to store them. Legal battles made it difficult for the grandparents to find another institution that would take them.

This legal battle set the grandparents back one year. The grandparents started to have to look abroad for solutions for their problems.


Legal battles were not the only problems for the grandparents. They also had to face the fact that surrogacy is illegal in China. To get their grandchild, the grandparents had to look abroad to Laos, where surrogacy is legal.

It was two years before they were able to find a hospital in Laos that would impregnate a surrogate. The grandparents had to pose as tourists and had to sneak the embryos into Laos in a canister of liquid nitrogen. They would not have been able to have the baby without authorization from the parents.

The embryos were implanted in a 27-year-old surrogate. She was invited to China to have the baby in a private hospital. Sweetie was born in December 2017.

To prove paternity, all grandparents had to provide blood for DNA tests to prove that the baby was their grandson. They also needed to prove this to establish that both of the child's parents were Chinese nationals.

The grandparents are happy that their bloodline is extended but are now faced with another question, what will they tell Sweetie about his parents? They say that they will tell him eventually.

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