Monday, December 16, 2013

Canadian fertility consultant received $31K for unwittingly referring parents to U.S. ‘baby-selling’ ring

The statement of facts says Hilary Neiman, who was sent to jail for her part in
the affair, paid Leia Picard, pictured, about $10,000 on three occasions for referring
would-be parents, who ended up paying the American lawyer as much as $150,000
for babies born to the surrogates.
A Canadian consultant was paid tens of thousands of dollars to refer customers to a so-called “baby-selling” scheme in the United States, according to a court document filed as the first-ever prosecution under this country’s fertility-treatment law ended with a guilty plea from Leia Picard.

Ms. Picard and her company — Canadian Fertility Consultants (CFC) — were fined $60,000 Friday for federal offences that also included illegally paying fees to women to donate eggs or act as surrogate mothers. The Assisted Human Reproduction Act, designed to prevent commercialization of “assisted-human reproduction,” allows only legitimate expenses to be reimbursed.

The agreed statement of facts submitted by the defence and prosecution opens a rare window on the surrogacy world, where “carriers” recruited by Ms. Picard through Craigslist or Kijiji would be paid bonuses of up to $7,500 for giving birth to twins, or having to undergo a Caesarian section — on top of flat fees of as much as $24,000.

The most striking revelations in the document, though, concern the U.S. baby-selling ring.  (more...)

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