Belgian mother charged over 'surrogacy fraud'

8th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

Investigators in Ghent detained the 31-year-old woman, identified only as Sonia R.

BRUSSELS - A Belgian woman suspected of selling her newborn twins and conning couples whom she met online by offering to be a surrogate mother was arrested and charged Friday with fraud, prosecutors said.

Investigators in the northern Belgium city of Ghent detained the 31-year-old woman, identified only as Sonia R., on Thursday night after hearing about her alleged activites on a Dutch television programme and charged on Friday.

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 coupled 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.

With the case stirring up a media storm, several Belgian senators have proposed to ban the sale of children and compensation payments for surrogate mothers.


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