Bioethics News

Oligarchs and IVF are a potent combination

Olga Mirimskaya  

“Let me tell you about the very rich,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald. “They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft, where we are hard, cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand.”

This is a story about how much Russian oligarchs love their children. The lessons are that assisted reproduction creates problems and oodles of money buys you oodles of problems.

Olga Mirimskaya and Nikolai Smirnov were a happy newly-married couple. But not a typical couple. Olga had recently divorced one of Russia’s richest men in London, to the delight of its lurid tabloids. She is the chair of Russki Product, Russia’s largest domestic producer of grocery goods. Nikolai, a Stanford graduate, is the chairman of Zolotaya Korona, a Russian answer to PayPal.

According to Pravda, “Like many other couples these days Olga and Nikolai decided to take advantage of modern medicine and engaged the services of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic.”

Olga, who already had three children from her first marriage, was 50 and unable to conceive. So the egg for their embryo came from a daughter. Then the couple engaged a surrogate mother from Crimea, Svetlana Bezpyataya, a poor married woman with one child of her own, who had already been a surrogate several times before. The pregnancy went well, but the marriage of the two tycoons did not. They split up and everything went south.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.