Righthaven — with BABIES!

By J. DeVoy

No cute pictures of infants here — just a bizarre story from San Diego

Attorney Theresa Erickson pled guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud for her role in what federal prosecutors described as a “baby-selling ring.” (source.)  Technologically, the scheme was pretty simple: Women would travel to the Ukraine to get pregnant with the eggs and sperm of donors.  This was done overseas because, at least in California, nobody would perform such an IVF using both donated eggs and sperm without a pre-existing surrogacy contract.  [I learned just enough family law to pass the bar. Bear with me. – Ed.]  The conspirators apparently misrepresented to the San Diego Superior Court that such surrogacy contracts existed, though – a fact belied by having to go Ukraine to complete the procedure.  Indeed, there was no underlying surrogacy contract, and no surrogates. (source.)

Once the pregnancy was into the second trimester, the conspirators would start shopping the babies to prospective parents.  The conspirators apparently claimed that the original adoptive parents bailed out of the deal, and a new home was needed for the baby.  The targeted parents, believing they were picking up where another couple left off, paid more than $100,000 in fees, with the women carrying the babies receiving $38,000 to $45,000 in compensation. (source.)

So to recap: Defendants, a lawyer among them, make misrepresentations to the court about rights they don’t actually have – and that never existed – in order to make money off of unwitting third parties who believed they had such rights.  Gee, never seen that before! Nope, never ever!

Erickson’s sentencing is scheduled for October 28.

H/T: Brian, Ken and Patrick

One Response to Righthaven — with BABIES!

  1. mamamara says:

    My question, as the non-lawyer mother of two IVF babies, is that if these folks *didn’t* have rights, who did? If the eggs and sperm were donated for the purpose of making babies for someone else to carry, then the egg and sperm donors no longer had rights to them. And if they were donated eggs and sperm, there should have been paperwork somewhere. (At least, there would be in the US. Dunno about the Ukraine.)

    Now, if these folks in the Ukraine were taking eggs and sperm that couples had extracted for the purpose of making their *own* kids, that’s another matter. (And if that’s the case, I’d strongly encourage stringing them up by their toes.)

    I’m not sure that I could see the eventual baby recipients as having any grounds to claim harm. They knew they were paying for the care of a pregnant surrogate, so it’s not like there was misrepresentation there. Were they lied to about how much they were going to have to pay, perhaps? (That’s a metric buttload more than the average surrogacy contract, from what I understand.)

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