This is the kind of story you just never want to read: Thai officials said that they rescued fourteen Vietnamese women, seven of them pregnant, from a surrogate baby-breeding ring. The company, which was called Baby 101, would receive requests from childless couples, and sometimes the male partner would be able to send sperm to inseminate the surrogate mothers. Some of the women said that they had been tricked into participating, while others said that they had been told that they would receive $5,000 per baby.
Several people from China, Myanmar and Taiwan have been arrested in connection with the business and charged with working illegally in Thailand. One woman, who apparently ran the operation, was also charged with human trafficking.
“This is illegal and inhuman. In some cases it looks like they were raped,” said Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit.
Police are also not sure whether they have found all of the women who are part of the surrogate-baby ring. The company’s website depicts 40 women in various poses. The site advertises its services at $32,000 plus expenses. The company describes its as a “eugenics surrogate” and says, “We could create the finest procreation condition for your baby, mainly through the efficient embryo refining, only the superior left for implanting.”
A spokesman for Human Rights Watch spoke out in outraged terms, saying that there should be “full investigation and prosecution to the full extent of the law.”
As Anna North, writing for Jezebel, points out, this is every fear about surrogacy rolled into one – the possibility that the surrogates had been raped or coerced, the idea that babies could be sold, the frightening concept of surrogacy as a gateway to genetic engineering or even eugenics. And although this company’s horrible operations bears no resemblance to consensual surrogacy arrangments, it’s a chilling reminder of just how dramatically reproductive technology can be abused.
Photo from mahalie's Flickr.