Court documents lay out a plan that Erickson and Chambers came up with six years ago, before including Neiman in 2008: the women would arrange for surrogates to fly to Ukraine to be impregnated with donor embryos. When the surrogates were about 12 weeks along, the babies would be offered to prospective parents. Once a couple was found, Erickson would file a document in a California court, fraudulently claiming that the surrogacy agreement was in place from the start.This quote from law professor and blogger Julie Shapiro explains why this story is so abhorrent:
The scam was discovered when one of the surrogates, who was nearly six months pregnant, got nervous that she hadn't yet been officially paired with adoptive parents. She called an attorney, who called the FBI.
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Prospective parents approached by the defendants were told that the surrogates' previously arranged agreements had fallen apart. They learned that they could enter into a new agreement with the surrogate for between $100,000 to $150,000, which is on the upper end of typical surrogacy costs. It sounded like a tempting proposition, offering couples “a surrogate well into her pregnancy, after the greatest risk of miscarriage had passed,” according to the L.A. Times. “It would even be possible to choose the sex of a child. In addition, the babies were white — a condition set by many U.S. couples that makes it difficult for them to adopt.”
“Creating babies on purpose for specific people is seen as less risky because you know where that child is going if it all plays out well,” says Julie Shapiro, a law professor at Seattle University who blogs regularly about how the law defines the concept of family. “The idea that we create children and then essentially shop them around is morally quite different and unacceptable, and I think that's why the order matters so much.”