Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Beware the surrogacy sharks in the water

A problem with surrogacy, seen time and time again, is that when there is a combination of people desperate to have children, and who are perceived to have money, then there is a school of sharks in the water trying to rip those people off.

Anyone who undertakes surrogacy has to take care with who they are dealing with.

If this message weren't clear enough, it was driven home again to me today with news that a Nigerian man posed as a surrogacy lawyer in the US, copying material from a good colleague's website - and by copying I mean literally that- copying and pasting- and then asking for prospective clients for money.

Thankfully, after his scam was exposed this morning, colleagues identified the source of the website, and within hours the site was pulled down.

Not everyone is so lucky. Some years ago I had clients who had not taken enough care in identifying a surrogacy agency in the US. I am not criticising them- far from it, but just illustrating that with the right information the chances of something going wrong are a lot lower (and without that information, the risks of something going wrong are a lot higher). They went to a lawyer who operated an agency there- someone you might think was a fairly safe bet. They paid over tens of thousands of dollars. The lawyer did not have a trust account. The money was quickly gone, as was the lawyer. Seven years later,  the lawyer has been arrested, but the money remains gone. I will never forget the anguish of those clients- who then had to start the surrogacy journey all over again, from scratch- without that hard earned money available to them.

When undertaking surrogacy overseas- be careful. Only work with ethical people. If its seems too good to be true, it probably is. Ask others. And above all ask those who know what the industry is like- people like me, who often can give you the low down on particular operators and how surrogacy works in practice, not spin.

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