Police in Hanoi have arrested three suspects for having illegally run a surrogacy ring over the past four months.
Officers under the municipal police department confirmed on Wednesday they had apprehended and initiated legal proceedings against Hoang Huy Quang, 43, Vu Thi Lieu, 29, and Pham Thien Tuan, 32, for “organizing surrogacy for commercial purposes.”
Police records showed that Quang had been masterminding the illicit ring, while Lieu and Thuan assisted him in finding surrogate mothers and families in need of the service.
They looked for surrogate mothers by posting advertisements on social media and would meet the women in person to discuss in detail.
A surrogate was promised to be paid VND200 million (US$8,600) to VND220 million ($9,460) and given free accommodations and meals.
Meanwhile, Quang often spent time at local hospitals finding and getting acquainted with infertile couples, before offering to help them.
Families longing for children were required to pay VND450 million ($19,350) to VND550 million ($23,650) depending on how they negotiated the arrangement.
Twins would cost an extra VND30 million ($1,290) to VND50 million ($2,150). ‘Customers’ were also required pay a portion of the fee in advance.
The intended parents provided their embryos, while the ring members were in charge of having them implanted into the surrogate mothers in the hospital.
The first arrangement took place in April, when a Hanoi couple agreed to pay Quang VND450 million for the surrogacy service.
N., the surrogate mother, is now four months pregnant and conceiving two twins.
After subtracting the payment for N. and other medical expenses, Quang pocketed VND30 million ($1,290), while Lieu and Thuan each earned VND20 million ($860).
In June, N.D.C., a single man residing in Dong Da District, Hanoi wanted to have children and agreed to pay the ring VND550 million.
Lieu then looked for an egg donor to create an embryo with C.’s sperm.
The embryo was then transferred into a surrogate mother, who is now one month pregnant.
Apart from these two cases, police found that Quang and his accessories had organized four other arrangements between April and August, pocketing hundreds of millions of dong (VN100 million = $4,300).
Vietnam has outlawed commercial surrogacy since 2016 and convicts are subject to up to five years in prison.
A surrogacy arrangement happens when monetary compensation is involved.
In the meantime, the country has legalized surrogacy since 2015 in a bid to bring more opportunities to infertile couples.
The law dictates, however, that surrogacy should only be done for humanitarian purposes, with couples banned from seeking help from non-family members.