The Daily Telegraph — Российские следователи выдвинули обвинения в торговле людьми в связи с суррогатной беременностью. Суррогатное материнство в России не является незаконным, но следователи настаивают на том, что врачи нарушили закон.
Russian investigators pursue human trafficking charges over surrogate pregnancies
Surrogacy is not illegal in Russia but investigators insist that the doctors have broken the law.
Russian investigators are pressing human trafficking charges against four doctors and four employees of two fertility clinics for working with surrogate pregnancies in a case that has shaken the Russian medical community.
A Moscow court on Wednesday arrested three employees of two fertility clinics and released one on bail after four doctors were arrested on Tuesday.
Surrogacy is not illegal in Russia but the Investigative Committee which has brought trafficking charges against eight people insisted on Thursday that they “violated the Russian legislation regulating the use of assisted reproductive technology” but did not specify what exactly happened.
The charges follow an official inquiry that was launched after police registered the death of a newborn in a flat outside Moscow in January.
The child, born to a surrogate mother, was kept at the apartment while his biological parents were dealing with paperwork. His death was attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
In June, police went into a Moscow flat where five babies born to surrogate mothers were kept with two nannies. Their parents were Chinese, and the children, born a few months prior, have not been issued official IDs, police said.
Russia shut down its borders for foreigners in March because of the coronavirus outbreak, making it impossible for the families to travel there to bring their children back home.
In neighbouring Ukraine, a fertility clinic made an appeal to the government in May, saying that they have dozens of children waiting to be reunited with their parents. Ukraine has since re-opened its borders for foreigners.
No hard figures on surrogate pregnancies are available in Russia but experts estimate that about 3,500 children are born to surrogate mothers in this country every year.
The doctors’ arrest has caused uproar in the medical community, drawing comparisons to the infamous Doctors’ Plot, an antisemitic campaign in the Soviet Union in the early 1950s when several prominent physicians were charged with conspiring to kill Soviet leader Josef Stalin.
Among the arrested health care workers is Taras Ashitkov, a highly respected obstetrician and a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
“This is a witch hunt and a second Doctors’ Plot,” Roman Shafei, Mr Ashitkov’s friend and an embryo biology scientist at Moscow State University, told the 360 TV channel.
“Genetically and legally these are children of Chinese nationals who cannot take them to their country because the borders are closed.”
The Russian Association of Human Reproduction issued a statement earlier this week, saying that doctors performing IVF and monitoring surrogate pregnancies cannot be held responsible for whatever legal issues there might be with the children’s documentation.
«Это охота на ведьм и второй заговор врачей», — сказал телеканалу 360 Роман Шафей, друг г-на Ашиткова и ученый-биолог из МГУ.
«Генетически и юридически это дети граждан Китая, которые не могут вывезти их в свою страну, потому что границы закрыты».
Российская ассоциация репродукции человека опубликовала заявление ранее на этой неделе, в котором говорится, что врачи, выполняющие ЭКО и наблюдающие за суррогатной беременностью, не могут нести ответственности за какие-либо юридические проблемы, которые могут возникнуть с документами детей.
Родители суррогатных младенцев не установлены, но Игорь Трунов, адвокат одного из врачей, сказал, что семь младенцев, рожденных от суррогатных матерей, были помещены в детские дома до завершения расследования, и что некоторые из их родителей являются «высокопоставленными чиновниками в зарубежных странах. ».
«Граждане имеют право иметь детей с помощью ЭКО и оплачивать медицинское обслуживание и услуги суррогатной матери», — заявил в пятницу Трунов.
«Медицинским работникам предъявлено необоснованное уголовное обвинение за выполнение своих профессиональных обязанностей».
Parents of the surrogate babies have not been identified but Igor Trunov, defence attorney for one of the doctors, said that seven babies born to surrogate mothers have been placed in orphanages pending the investigation and that some of their parents are “senior officials in foreign countries”.
“Citizens have the right to have children using IVF and paying for medical care and services of a surrogate mother,” Mr Trunov said on Friday.
“The health care workers are facing unfounded criminal charges for carrying out their professional duties.”
Surrogacy, which is allowed in Russia, has been increasingly under attack by Russian clerics and conservative politicians.
Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, in a speech at parliament in January condemned the practice saying that it “exploits women and even encourages child trafficking.”
“Poverty, desire to provide for their own children and a wide use of commercial surrogacy are leading to an obvious humiliation of Russian women,” he said.