Hanoi jails two over commercial surrogacy racket

By Thanh Lam   July 9, 2020 | 01:10 am PT
Hanoi jails two over commercial surrogacy racket
Vu Thi Lieu, Pham Thien Thuan (back row) and Hoang Minh Quang at the Hanoi People's Court in Hanoi, July 8, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Lam.
Two people in Hanoi were imprisoned Wednesday for operating a surrogacy business worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Hoang Minh Quang, 44, was sentenced to two years and Vu Thi Lieu, 30, to 15 months, while accomplice Pham Thien Thuan, 33, received a suspended sentence. All three were charged with "organizing surrogacy for commercial purposes," and were not detained prior to trial.

Quang had met Lieu at a hospital in Hoang Mai District early last year, recruiting her into a surrogacy ring on learning she had to sell eggs to make a living.

Scouting hospitals for potential clients, Quang touted services priced at VND400-600 million ($17,300-25,980) while Lieu hunted surrogates, for which she received VND290-310 million a head. All surrogates were paid VND5 million a month, and had their living expenses taken care of.

After collecting either sperm or embryos from clients, Lieu would send the surrogates to hospital to request implantation.

From April to August last year, the three had organized five surrogacy procedures, making over VND1.4 billion ($60,731), though only three cases proved successful.

Quang received over VND1.2 billion ($51,989), while Lieu and Thuan made around VND190 million ($8,231) in total.

At the trial, Quang said he had no knowledge his actions were illegal, and that he would refund all his clients, whom he tried to assist based on humanitarian grounds.

Vietnam legalized surrogacy in 2015 to provide opportunities for infertile couples, but only allows the use of a surrogate for humanitarian purposes, drawn from among family members only. Using surrogacy for commercial purposes is considered illegal and punishable by up to five years in prison under Vietnam’s Penal Code.

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