Belgian mother accused of 'surrogacy fraud' given conditional bail

11th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

Sonia R. was arrested last week by investigators in the northern Belgian city of Ghent.

BRUSSELS - A Belgium woman suspected of selling her newborn twins and conning couples whom she met online by offering to be a surrogate mother was granted conditional bail Wednesday, prosecutors said.

The 31-year-old woman, identified only as Sonia R., was arrested last week by investigators in the northern Belgian city of Ghent after they heard about her alleged activites on a Dutch television programme.

Because Belgium has no law making the sale of children a punishable offence, she was charged with "bad treatment" of the twins, which carries a sentence of two years, a prosecutors' spokeswoman said.

She was also charged with fraud which carries a five-year sentence.

Sonia R. is also accused by a Dutch couple of having promised to be the surrogate mother for their baby and accepted a total 1,050 euros during home-made attempts at artificial insemination.

The couple realised that Sonia R., who had said that she had not become pregnant, had also accepted 2,000 euros from another Dutch couple.

While Belgian authorites have found that Sonia R. bore twins in April, they are still looking into a claim from her ex-partner that the two babies were then sold for 10,000 euros to a friend to pay for comestic surgery.

"The statements on the sale of the twins are contradictory," said a spokeswoman for prosecutors in Ghent.

"The woman denies giving away the babies for money. She became pregnant with the twins by artificial insemination, at the request of a friend. The investigation must still determine who is the children's father and if there was a payment or not," she added.


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