Los Angeles County residents are growing weary of maternity hotels in their neighborhoods, filing 60 complaints in the last month alone, according to a report by the county Planning Department.
The surge, from just 15 complaints spread over the previous five years, appears related to media coverage of a Chino Hills case in early December, which may have encouraged people to come forward.
The facilities are typically set up in single-family homes in quiet residential neighborhoods, particularly in the San Gabriel Valley. The Chino Hills site, which shut down after the city sued its owners, had been illegally subdivided into 17 bedrooms and 17 bathrooms, according to city officials. Neighbors complained of frequent comings and goings, and an overloaded septic tank caused a massive sewage spill.
So-called birth tourism is a booming industry, fueled by women from Asia who travel to the United States while pregnant. They live at boarding facilities for several months before giving birth, accumulating bills of as much as $20,000 by the time they return home with their American citizen babies.