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27 Jul, 2022 15:36

Surrogate mother sentenced for the first time in Russia

The woman is being accused of human trafficking and faces three years in prison
Surrogate mother sentenced for the first time in Russia

A Russian court has sentenced a surrogate mother to three years in prison for allegedly engaging in human trafficking. The verdict, which is the first of its kind in Russia, was announced to the public by the press service of the Krasnoyarsk regional prosecutor’s office on Wednesday.

According to case files seen by TASS news agency, Tamara Yandieva, a 29-year-old Kazakhstan citizen, allegedly tried to sell a newborn baby under the guise of a surrogacy service. The criminal investigation discovered that, in 2019, the woman posted an online resume looking for work and was subsequently offered to serve as a surrogate mother for a family in China paying a hefty fee.

Yandieva agreed and traveled to Cambodia to undergo a fertilization procedure. She then returned to Russia, where she gave birth in April 2020. The woman then received a birth certificate and legally transferred ownership of the child to a surrogate motherhood company called Didilia LLC, and got paid $13,000.

The newborn was supposed to be taken to China, but the procedure was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, the woman was informed she was going to be a defendant in a criminal case on human trafficking along with the owners of the Didilia company, who are accused of offering Russian and Kazakhstan women money to give birth to children who would then be sold to Chinese citizens. Another defendant in the case is a former special investigator who is considered to be the organizer of the scheme.

Back in April, a Krasnoyarsk court also sentenced the head of the legal department of the Krasnoyarsk Center for Maternal and Child Welfare to two years in prison for forging documents which were used to issue birth certificates for the transfer of newborn babies to Chinese citizens.

The investigation identified 19 babies in this case, who are now being held in an infant care facility and will eventually be transferred to foster care. 

While surrogate motherhood is legal in Russia, and there are many clinics that offer such services, the Didilia company is being accused of selling children, which is a criminal offense under Russian law and is equivalent to human trafficking. 

Russian lawmakers have recently introduced a bill that aims to prohibit Russian women from acting as surrogate mothers for foreign citizens. The bill has so far passed its first reading in the State Duma (Russian Parliament).