Two women detained for smuggling surrogates to China

By Nguyen Hai   September 16, 2020 | 11:44 pm PT
Two women detained for smuggling surrogates to China
Uong Thi Mai (L) and Uong Thi Trang are held at a police station in Nghe An Province, September 16, 2020. Photo courtesy of Nghe An Police.
Police in the north central Nghe An Province have arrested two women heading an illegal surrogacy ring that took over 20 Vietnamese women to China to deliver babies.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, police arrested Uong Thi Mai, 27, at a bus station in Vinh, capital of Nghe An while she was assisting a woman board a coach for Cao Bang Province near the Chinese border, which she would cross illegally for surrogacy purposes.

The same day, police detained Mai's elder sister, 31-year-old Uong Thi Trang. During raids made on their homes, police seized many ID cards, passports, and Chinese surrogacy related documents.

Investigators said Trang previously worked in China as a surrogate mother. Earlier this year, she returned to Vietnam and joined her younger sister to establish Facebook groups luring women seeking to act as commercial surrogates.

Those who agreed to become surrogates were taken to China to undergo embryo transfer and returned to Vietnam for embryotrophic therapy. The pregnant mothers would again re-enter China to give birth.

Each successful mother was paid VND330-350 million ($14,245-$15,110) while Trang's sisters earned profits of VND20-30 million per case.

Initial investigations revealed they brought over 20 Vietnamese women to China, earning around VND500 million.

Police are expanding their investigation into the ring.

Vietnam legalized surrogacy in 2015 to benefit infertile couples, but only on humanitarian basis. The rules state couples may only seek help from family members. Commercial surrogacy is punishable by up to five years in prison.

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