China’s decision to scrap the one-child policy and allow couples to have two children is unlikely to reduce the number of Chinese mothers going to the United States to have a baby, according to industry insiders. Many mothers involved in “birth tourism” have a child in America to gain rights to US citizenship as well as previously trying to get round China’s one-child policy, they said. Chen Lei, the sales director at Xiduobaby in Shanghai, a firm that provides services for pregnant mainland women wanting to give birth in California, said the relaxed family planning policy was good news for similar agencies and had led to more potential clients contacting their business. “Lifting the ban only makes the business better because now couples are given more choice,” said Chen. “Their second child can easily get a hukou, or permanent household registration, back home and they can decide whether it will become a US citizen when the child turns 18.” READ MORE: US homes raided in crackdown on pregnant Chinese ‘birth tourism’ rings Lily Zhang, the owner of another agency in Beijing, said many of her clients opt to give birth in the US for the right to get a passport, even though they are eligible to have one or two children back in China. “Some have studied or worked in the US and wish for greater room for development for their children, so they choose to give birth there,” Zhang said. Zhang gave birth to her daughter in the US three years ago to avoid a hefty fine for violating the old one-child policy. “Not all families who choose the services are affluent, but they are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of yuan on this as an investment because they are discontent about aspects of life on the mainland, be it poor air or a stressful education. They wish to give their children more choice and control,” she said. The US Department of State said in a written statement that its immigration law does not rule anybody ineligible to give birth in the United States. “All visa applicants must demonstrate to the consular officer they have the means and intention to pay all the costs of their trip, including any planned or unplanned medical care,” the statement read. The birthing business presents a headache for local government and law enforcement in America because it is not necessarily illegal for foreign nationals to give birth in the US. A bill in the 2013 US Congress to limit birthright citizenship to babies with at least one American parent was never voted on. There is no official data on how many mothers from mainland China have given birth in the US, but anecdotal evidence suggests the number is climbing sharply, especially after Hong Kong’s government banned non-resident mainland parents giving birth in the territory. READ MORE: How US ‘maternity tourism’ operators lure Chinese mums An industry has been established on the mainland to help pregnant mothers give birth in the US, mainly in California. Tens of thousands of mainland mothers have given birth in the US, according to industry insiders’ estimates. US federal agents raided several “maternity hotels” in the Los Angeles in March for allegedly evading taxes and encouraging women to lie to immigration officials, but mainland mothers appear undeterred. Not all families who choose the services are affluent, but they are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of yuan on this as an investment Lily Zhang, owner of pregnancy advisory agency “You need to call the airline immediately after giving birth to book the baby cradle for your return flight because it will be taken very quickly,” said Zhang. “You see very pregnant women on every flight to the US and newborn babies going back to China.” Xiduobaby charges about US$98,000 to coach couples on how to get visas, including how to handle questions when arriving at US immigration control. Food and accommodation in the US are also provided and pregnant mothers are accompanied on maternity checks and helped with shopping trips. Some agencies offer pregnant women tips on how to dress so that their belly will not show and how to give tactful answers when stopped at customs at the airport. Xiduoubaby helped nearly 400 women gave birth in the US in 2014 and expects its business to increase. “We have to turn down clients because that’s the maximum of cases we can handle otherwise our service quality will drop,” said Chen. Zhang’s company quickly expanded last year, renting its own offices rather than sharing and taking on more staff. READ MORE: China’s population to peak in 2029 under two-child policy: family planning official The agency also expanded into services such as selling insurance and helping children enroll in schools after parents of US-born babies chose to live in mainland China. “I don’t see why mainland women have to sneak across a border to give birth. South Korea women have done it. Taiwanese women have done it. What’s so special about mainland women trying to do it?” said Zhang.