Bioethics News

French surrogate mother cheats clients

A French surrogate mother has been arrested for fraud after lying to two gay couples about the death of their children.

The woman, 37, told the couples that their children, actually perfectly healthy, had died around birth; she proceeded to sell the babies to two other couples, one in Western France and the other in Luxembourg.

The woman was apprehended in the process of setting up arrangements with three other unsuspecting couples.

A defence lawyer said that woman was raped by her father as a teenager and suffers from “severe emotional neglect” and low self-esteem.

Interestingly, the woman had originally become involved in surrogacy for altruistic reasons. She had already had four children when in 2008 she offered her fifth child for free to a Parisian couple.

Deputy prosecutor Jean Dematteis has recommended that she be sentenced to a year in jail with nine months suspended and that all four couples in the case should be given suspended fines of 2,000 euros. All forms of surrogacy – including altruistic surrogacy – have been banned in France since 1994. 

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