Ask the Yangxifu: Western Woman Wants Baby, But Maybe Not Marriage, in China

(photo by Christopher Lance via

Marie asks:

I am a foreign woman in my early 40s working here in China. I met this 30 year old Chinese guy online, we became friends coz’ he speaks good english and quite smart, we dated twice and we have constant communication for more than 3 months now. ( We live in nearby China provinces)

Honestly, I was not attracted when I first saw him but I still like him enough to be willing to know him better.

Problem #1: He seems in a rush to ask me to be his gf while I’m telling him, hey, I need time. ( When asked why he’s in a rush, aside from the standard because I love you, etc..there is pressure on his side to have his own family.) I asked him before, what if I can no longer bear him a child ( my biological clock is ticking away…), his answer was: as long as we were together.

Problem #2: He is not financially capable of having a family ( he honestly told me he is a poor man). This makes me think, is he after my money? please don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging, its just a natural reaction.

As far as I’m concerned, this guy is serious, he’s been asking me to visit his hometown as he’d already mentioned about me to his mom.

I am already in my early 40s and desperately wants to have a child BUT I cannot just “throw cautions to the wind” and be his girlfriend just for the sake of having a chance to have a baby? Now, the guy seems want to give up because I’ve been rejecting him quite a number of times.

Now, I’m thinking am I that desperate? really need of your advice.


If you’re more interested in getting pregnant than getting married to this guy, having a baby might create more problems than just dirty diapers.

I’m not a lawyer, but what I do know about child custody in China should give you pause. When people in China divorce, the father generally retains custody of the children (this happened in the two divorce cases I personally know of — one was my sister-in-law’s previous divorce, the other a friend’s recent divorce). I don’t know what would happen with children out of wedlock; but given the situation with divorces, the laws may also favor the father. Obviously, none of this is legal advice but my own understanding, so I recommend consulting a divorce lawyer in China, who could give you solid advice on this situation.

Of course, the above assumes that you have the children in China and remain there. So technically, I suppose you could get pregnant and then leave the country. But that’s the equivalent of turning this guy into an involuntary sperm donor — highly unethical and something I’m certain he didn’t sign up for.

And I’m only focusing here on the baby issue. You’ve also put forth your own completely valid concerns about him as well. When you add it all together, this just doesn’t strike me as an ideal relationship for you, nor an ideal situation for having kids.

What do you think?

UPDATE: Marie reported via e-mail that she is no longer dating him. While they had stopped talking for a period of time, she reported “the guy and I are on speaking terms AGAIN.”


Do you have a question about life, dating, marriage and family in China/Chinese culture or Western culture? Send me yours today.

15 Replies to “Ask the Yangxifu: Western Woman Wants Baby, But Maybe Not Marriage, in China”

  1. I agree with Jocelyn. To use a guy’s body as an involuntary sperm donor just to have a baby is unethical. You do not love this man, and because of that I think it is selfish too. Perhaps that would break that guy’s heart to never get to see his child and the baby would not know their father. NO! Don’t do it. Perhaps you can get pregnant with someone you really love, or if you really can’t wait that long to have a baby, you should see a fertility specialist and do it in a fair and legal manner.

  2. Don’t do it!!!!! First of all, you have to like him . You have to like him as a whole also. Listen to me, don’t do it! How can you have a baby with someone you’re not attracted to physically and emotionally.

  3. @ Marie. I have to concur with Bruce. I would recommend that before you decide to marry him or not, ask yourself the most basic and fundamental question: do I love this man? Regardless of finances, peer pressure to have or not to have a baby, age, etc. you must be totally in love with the man before you can commit. Remember, love conquers all. I understand that at a certain age many women want to have a baby and not allow the biological clock to run on her chances. But don’t have a baby and don’t prolong dating the man if you do not love him. You can date him and both of you can be gf/bf for awhile to discover and explore compatibility. But in the end, if you do not love him, then don’t marry him and don’t have a baby with him. I wish you all the best!!!!!!

  4. Just adopt a baby from China. Problem solved. You don’t need a guy to have children in this day and age.

  5. Ok, I will play a devil’s advocate here.
    In an ideal world, you find love and marry and your biological children. Ideal world is created by a time when most people living on malthusian threshold. If you did not have a man who provide material support, your children would not survive. So women would have to marry or legally secure a man to provide for the offspring. Marital moral code was created to cater such social enviroment.

    With today technological development and economical liberation, even a woman can earn enough to support rearing of offsprings on her own. Such economical liberation often leads to increased divorce rate, increase single woman household, increaded families with women as breadwinners. The dependency on men has been greatly weaken. Like I said in other post, DEPENDENCY IS SIGN OF POVERTY.

    With changing social-econimical condition, moral code also evolves too. In most developed nations, value of filial piety is not longer important. Thus, traditional sexual relationship might not be stick to original code either. Marie, and many other women, are economically liberated and able to make more money than a lot of surronding men. Unfortunately, women had hard time attracting to men with less social economical status. Traditional love (based on men as providers) is difficult to find. Yet, human females suffer from menopause and infertility in later part of their natural life. It is great loss of human capital if intelligent women (who are often making more money than men) can not reproduce. I applaud these women seeking out whatever mean to reproduce. If more intelligent women do so, human have better chance to evolve in correct direction. Especially when women seek sperm donor, the decision will be even more logical to select more desirable trait for human species.
    As man, I do not like today world because we men have less power over women due to such economical liberation. Women do not have to secure or depend on men for their life and offsprings. But the world will change into it will be, not as what we want it to be.

    So at end, I will embrace this world as it is and encourage brave women like Marie to do what she is right for herself. You will know you have no regret in future. (I knew some women had deep regret that they did not take their reproductive matter into their hands due to following traditional value.)

  6. @Marie,
    I understand age pressure, fears…but I suggest, as previous comments, that you think about it for a long time. As we are talking about creating a new life from a person you don’t love as a partner.
    Opting for bank of sperm or adoption sounds like a better solution not only for you, but for the guy you and for your future baby.
    An if this is not enough..just think about it from a leal point of view…
    Would you like that in a future this guy takes your kid? I mean..imagine if for some reason this happens, that it could happen. Imagine that there is a legal process between you both, he proofs he is the dad and well….you can lose that baby.
    There are plenty of fish in this sea, if time is pressing you, still use a way that makes you feel proud and that is honest.
    Protect yourself and that baby

  7. It’s okay not to have a baby too. We don’t need to have children in order to have a happy, fulfilling life. If you’re not attracted to a person, why go thru a long term headache? Maybe you need to find a guy similar like me to have attractions hahahahahahh. You will find another prince charming soon.

  8. Am I the only one not reading this email correctly? Nowhere I see she is indicating to make the guy to be a sperm donor. She only worries she needs to have someone to have a family before it is too late. I don’t think this thinking is uncommon among older women who want to be a mother.

  9. You really seem not attracted to him at all. Don’t let your desire for a child make you settle into a relationship with him. If you’re not feeling 100% about him, don’t do it. As GGM wrote in “Love in the Time of Cholera”, you may find true love down the road, maybe even in old age. Life is not meant to be a happily ever after for everyone.

    With that said, this is the price some women pay for not being proactive enough or too selective in their youth (height of attractiveness).

    Though unlike many posters here, I don’t believe that strongly in a marriage to raise children. You could always go the January Jones route and do it as a single mother, whether it be from a one night stand or a sperm bank.

  10. Come on folks, be practical. He wants something from her, and she might get what she wants from him. Why not?

    This “you may find true love down the road, maybe even in old age” is exactly the fairy tail that made many women and men miserable.

    What’s wrong with finding a decent man to start a family with, even if you don’t feel the “love” all the time? That kind of “love” is mostly caused by oxytocin anyway, which usually wears off after a few months or weeks. 50% of the marriages end up in divorce in the US any way. I’d say if she went ahead with this guy and wants to make it work it would have at least a 50-50 chance.

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