Russia issues first prison sentence for surrogate mother

Russia has handed down its first-ever conviction against a surrogate mother for human trafficking, Russian media reported on Wednesday.

A court in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk found Kazakh citizen Tamara Yandieva, 29, guilty of human trafficking and sentenced her to three years in prison, state news agency TASS reported. reported.

Although surrogacy is legal in Russia, authorities say Yandieva sold her baby, which breaks the law.

According to prosecutors, Yandieva flew to Cambodia in 2019, where she underwent the embryo transfer procedure with the surrogate parents.

Back in Krasnoyarsk, she signed a contract with Didilia, an international surrogacy and adoption center, and allowed the company to transfer the baby to her genetic parents in China once born in April 2020.

She was paid $13,000 after returning to Kazakhstan, independent news site Meduza reported.

Her case is part of a larger investigation into the Didilia company which involves 19 babies born to surrogate mothers. The nine defendants in the case include four surrogate mothers and the deputy chief physician of the Krasnoyarsk perinatal center.

Russian investigators accuse the company of luring Russian and Kazakh women to Krasnoyarsk to give birth to babies for foreign citizens in exchange for money.

Yandiyeva’s lawyer, Lyudmila Aivar, said she considers the verdict illegal and plans to appeal.

Russia has seen a backlash against overseas surrogacy in recent years, despite it being a lucrative commercial industry, with warnings that women and children are being exploited by wealthy foreigners .

The State Duma gave first-reading approval to a bill banning surrogacy for foreigners in May.

Previously, a Moscow court imprisoned several doctors for human trafficking after one of the four babies died of sudden infant death syndrome.

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