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Assisted Reproduction

Criticism Of The Surrogates Caught Up In The Baby Selling Ring Is Unwarranted & Misplaced

There has been much heated rhetoric over the past several days as people react to the news that the FBI shut down an international baby trafficking ring operating out of the United States. Sadly, there has been whispers, innuendo and unfair criticisms leveled against the surrogates who were caught up in this criminal enterprise.

Make no mistake about it, these women were victims. As I posted yesterday, I initially elected to withhold any commentary on these unconscionable developments. My decision had nothing to do with an absence of strong feelings on the subject. Rather, it was because I know and have been representing the three surrogates who have worked with the FBI for more than a year to bring this baby selling ring to an end.

When the news broke about the guilty pleas, many rose to passionately defend some of those that plead guilty. The internet has been ablaze with defenders questioning how a surrogate could unwittingly find herself in such a situation. Some flat out accused these women of being complicit and intentionally ignorant. So while my original intention was to allow this to play out in the media without comment, someone has to give voice to these surrogates who have suffered so much. That is the purpose for this post.

The three women who courageously came forward and worked with the FBI are decent, law-abiding people who believed they were entering into legal arrangements. Like many surrogates I have had the good fortune to know, they are compassionate, altruistic and deeply motivated to help childless couples become parents. They did not seek out Erickson, Neiman or Chambers. They were actively solicited by Chambers as a result of contributory posts they made on an online surrogacy board. These women were duped into believing that the arrangements they were entering into were legal and customary.

Those with specialized knowledge and experience in the surrogacy industry might be skeptical that these surrogates were caught completely unaware. Like anyone, these women were inquisitive. They were introduced to former surrogates who had successful arrangements previously with these criminal defendants. But most compelling of all, they were introduced to two of the most prominent attorneys in this field, Theresa Erickson and Hillary Neiman. These lawyers had unblemished reputations with legions of loyal clients (Intended Parents and Surrogates alike). One was a media darling with two published books, celebrity clientele and memberships in the most prestigious professional and infertility organizations in the United States.

And that was the hook. This scam was able to operate and flourish because the linchpins were two well respected attorneys on both coasts that gave the criminal enterprise immediate and continuing legitimacy. When any surrogate questioned the propriety of the process, the absence of an initial contract or the need to travel to the Ukraine, they were immediately pointed in the direction of Neiman and Erikcson. Keep in mind that all of these surrogates were active members of Surromomsonline, the foremost resource community for surrogates, where Neiman and Erickson were consistently recognized as industry leaders.

The women who came forward and cooperated with the FBI do not deserve to be villified by an insidious whisper campaign by anonymous posters. They have suffered greatly. One almost died after suffering placental abruption during the second trimester of the pregnancy. Not only did she lose the baby and almost her life, but was left completely abandoned. No one to help her with the medical bills. No one to offer psychological counseling after the death of the baby. No one to even help cover the burial expenses for the child she lost. The other two surrogates never were compensated for the delivery of their babies — and never complained about it even though they had to absorb considerable expense and anxiety throughout the entire pregnancy. To have that grief exacerbated by a silent whsiper campaign by anonymous posters on the internet or surrogacy opponents capitalizing on this scandal, is abhorrent.

The moment these women learned there was something amiss in their arrangements, they immediately notified the authorities at great personal expense and potential legal risk to themselves. In fact, it was not until one of these surrogates was in the third trimester of her pregnancy and still had not been matched, that she finally ignored the reassurances of the three criminal defendants and sought out advice from independent attorneys.

For those that have accused this industry of not regulating itself, that too is a misplaced accusation. Three well-known and respected attorneys (whom I hope will step forward and be commended for their invaluable services) located across the United States, upon learning of what was occurring, took immediate action. Among other things, they reached out to the FBI and to my firm. After more than a year of non-stop investigation, the FBI and US Attorneys Office obtained the guilty pleas.

By the way, I would be remiss if I did not mention and commend the tireless work and dedication of the two FBI agents who were responsible for shutting down this baby trafficking ring. Without any clear federal statute that covered the underlying crimes, they doggedly pursued every angle and, using tremendous creativity, managed to ensure that justice was served, the surrogates protected and the babies placed in appropriate homes. While they have received no credit publicly, it would be a terrible disservice if their contributions were not recognized.

The vilification of these surrogates needs to end. Those that practice in this field are very cognizant of the opposition that exists to surrogacy domestically and abroad. In the best of situations, the motivations of surrogates are questioned as many cannot imagine how a woman could sacrifice herself (and her family) for the benefit of a childless couple (or individual) who are relative strangers to them. Surrogates are often disparagingly referred to as “rent-a-wombs”. Critics typically point to the financial reward and denigrate the altruistic motivations of these women. So it is beyond shameful that members of the infertility community would be complicit and question the integrity of these surrogates. It is for this reason that I have elected to now to speak out and have allowed my clients voices to be heard.

Over the next week, I will address other issues that have been raised by this scandal. Not the least of which is that this criminal racket, involving the commodification of babies, should not be misinterpreted as a surrogacy enterprise. In the meantime, I hope that my colleagues in this industry stand up and, with a unified voice, condemn what has occurred and correct the misinformation that is now rampant in the media and on the internet.


37 comments for “Criticism Of The Surrogates Caught Up In The Baby Selling Ring Is Unwarranted & Misplaced”

  • Surrogate12

    Are you now Andy feeling guilty of reporting this scam? Erickson is guilty, she pleaded guilty!!!! Erickson should have no empathy from any professional! Your colleage Erickson made a bad choice, and questioning the fertility sesrvices in the United States. Andy, Erickson is guilty and many IVF Clinic’s in San Diego have had problems with her. Lawyers like Erickson, give good law firms a bad name. Now, who do you trust? I will be at the sentencing for Erickson in October. I an experienced surrogatge, and it took me months to get my money after I gave birth. my money was suppose to be secure in an escrow account that never was never opened and then I was issued a check that bounced. I don’t feel sorry for her, but she was caught selling babies and made large profits. I’m going to file now a complaint with the State Bar of California. Erickson should not be practing law. My agency will start the process of verify parental rights, just to make sure they were filed correctly. Question: now that you mention surrogate mothers online – are they guilty too? No body even knows where SurrogateMotheronline operates from and you can never get a human person to answer the phone…..

    • Dear Surrogate12,

      Did you read the post or do you have some ulterior agenda? I have no guilt at all over whatever role I may have played. While I have empathy for those who will now be affected by the criminal conduct of these three women (such as their family members and innocent employees whose lives will be forever changed), I am befuddled as to how you could read my post as a defense of Theresa Erickson.

      With respect to Surromomsonline, I believe they are reputable and provide an invaluable service to the infertility community. I have personally spoken to the owner of Surromomsonline on multiple occasions and can attest to her existence. In fact, Shannon publicly posts on that board and her contact information is readily available.

      I am sorry that you may have been victimized by some unscrupulous practices of Ms. Erickson. I agree with you that her actions have tainted an entire community and I wish you nothing but the best in pursuing her to collect any damages you have suffered as a result of her conduct.

      • Surrogate12

        Andy, thank you for clarify this. I’m glad you reported this. Your statement sounded like you were protecting Erickson. This should have never happened in the United States. Anyone found doing human trafficing should go to jail for a long time and five years isn’t enough. Thank you Andy for making things more clear.

        Andy, did they find any IVF Clinic in the US to be part of this scam?
        These surrogate must have been examined by a physician who ok’d them to be surrogates.

        Best Wishes to everyone.

        • Hi Surrogate12,

          I’m sorry for any misunderstanding and if my initial response was harsh. So thankful for being so understanding.

          With respect to your question, there were no domestic IVF facilities involved. All of the medical procedures took place outside of the United States.

    • Hi Surrogate12-

      I am the sole owner of Surrogate Mothers Online, LLC (www.surromomsonline.com) and the company is indeed legitimate-I took over ownership of the website in January 2005 and previous to that acted as a moderator and assistant admin to the previous owners.
      The website/company is registered here in Texas. My E-mail address is readily available to anyone, which is listed on the website. The mailing address is given directly to professionals or individuals when needed.
      You mention in your post that “you can never get a human person to answer the phone”-I am not sure who you have been attempting to call, but it has not been me. My business number is not listed on the website (but it is provided on an individual basis) and if I am not able to answer, if a message is left I will return the call.

      I just wanted to clear that up. I have spoken to Mr. Vorzimer on many occasions (and his firm did represent my Intended Fathers for my first 2 surrogacy journeys many years ago)so if nothing else, he can vouch that I am indeed a real person.

      I am as saddened, disappointed and disgusted by what has happened as everyone else.

      Thank you again Andy and the other professionals for your dedication to the surrogacy community.

      Shannon A.
      Owner, SMO

  • Jon

    Wow, that is despicable. I can’t believe anyone would attack the surrogates, given what they have been through. Just confirms what many believe: Erickson and her cohorts got away easy. It’s a shame. Our legal system s*cks and seems to be biased toward protecting even the most unethical predators in our society. Kudos to you for standing up for these victimized women.

    • Hi Jon,

      I have another post up explaining the limitations the federal prosecutors were dealing with in prosecuting this human trafficking ring. While the recommended sentences appear to be light, we will not know for certain until the day of sentencing as the Judge is free to impose his own sentence. Additionally, the apparent unwillingness to accept full responsibility for their actions in some public statements could be sufficient grounds for the Judge to reject the proposed plea deal as the downward departures were, in part, based upon an early acceptance of responsibility. So justice still might be served.

  • Andy – Do you feel in light of what’s happened that the government is going to step in and create legislation for all third party procedures — Gestational Surrogacy, Egg Donation, and Sperm Donation, Embryo Donation etc…

    My head is still reeling and I am trying to understand it, make sense out of it, but I can’t. I simply can’t.

    I like everyone else was truly blindsided.

    My heart is broken for the surrogates, the IP’s and the babies brought into the world this way. My only saving grace in all of this is that I know deep down within myself that these children born and who are still waiting to be born are going to loving parents who want nothing more than to love, honor, and cherish a child. Because that’s just the foundation of who we are as infertile parents — we love our children.

    • Marna, what a moving comment. I too take solace in all of this that at least the children that have been born have been placed in wonderful and loving homes. While their birth stories will forever be tainted, they at least have the loving embrace of parents who will support them and provide a nurturing and safe environment for their upbringing.

      As you now know Marna, I have been aware of this scandal for more than a year. Upon learning of these revelations, I along with others reached out to California Assembly Member Felipe Fuentes. With the help of some prominent members of this industry including Bill Handel and Karen Synesiou, Assemblymember Fuentes introduced a comprehensive bill that would have served as a model for all states to follow as it provided the needed regulation and licensing this industry so desperately needs. Unfortunately, we met into some resistance and the bill was substantially scaled down. Rather than support a stripped down, impotent bill, we have recommended that it be put over to the next session and have requested the input of other industry leaders to ensure that the revised bill is sent to the Governor that will protect Intended Parents, Surrogates and the resulting children from predators motivated solely by greed.

  • Thank you for highlighting the surrogates in this case. I also wrote a post hoping to shine some light on how women who want to become surrogates can educate themselves http://surrogacy101.blogspot.com/2011/08/when-surrogates-are-used-for-mega.html.

    As a past surrogate myself I just can’t wrap my mind around how these criminals could place a pregnant woman and unborn child under the stresses that took place during this scheme! I mean, first you are matched, then pregnant, then rejected and unmatched and finally true IP’s are introduced into the mix after you are what, 6 months pregnant? And for those not matched and carrying babies that no one wants? Really?

    I knew Theresa professionally and I could not have been more stunned.

    I will look forward to seeing justice done.

    • Thanks for sharing that link Sharon. I recommend everyone take a moment and read your invaluable advice.

  • Surrogate12

    Sharon, Justice will finally be done. I knew one day Erickson’s empire would come down tumbling… Erickson was my lawyer and all she created was problems between myself and the Intended Parents, my payments were never on time and I had four checks that bounced which included my final pay after the delivery… My agency could never verify the escrow account and did file a complaint with the State Bar of California. I’m still stunned with this news as the world is too…..

  • Pingback: The Spin Doctor | AAARTA: Baby Selling Case Is “Regretable” - The Spin Doctor()

  • Gru

    I understand the point of view of those parents who cannot have children of their own, however, these cases just highlight the fact that not many consider the well-being of the children as they mature. As a product of adoption in Australia almost 40 years ago I can unequivocally state that for me the love of two adoptive parents and all the safety in the world did not account for my feeling no true identity. My eye colour, hair colour and very body shape was so different to my loving adoptive parents I lacked self esteem by not knowing who I was. It took 29 years & the birth of my first child for me to finally look into the eyes of someone who looked just like me – it was the best day of my life.

    • I can certainly appreciate your position. Obviously the babies born as a result of this baby selling ring are the biggest victims of all. The origins of their birth will be permanently tainted. Thankfully, they are being raised by loving parents who can hopefully fill that void. Also, please keep in mind that there are tens of thousand of children who have been adopted who do not feel any loss of identity and consider their adoptive parents to be their only true parents. What really sets this case apart from an adoption arrangement is that these children were manufactured from donor sperm and eggs and sold as a commodity under the ruse of them being abandoned during a surrogate arrangement. That is much different than an adoption scenario where the birth mom, for whatever personal reasons she has, elects to place her child up for adoption.

  • Gru

    To me the whole surrogacy issue whether altruistic or commercial needs to be more tightly regulated. Whereas, yes my birth mother probably had her reasons to give me up for adoption and I may have been the product of a mistake, does not change the fact that surrogacy in some instances purposefully creates children with no identity (anon donor sperm and eggs) and then cannot face up to the criticism when mistakes happen. Children cannot speak up for themselves. Sometimes with children love is not enough.
    Why don’t people spend their time, money and energies on the poor orphaned children in their own countries fighting govt red tape, instead of having them made in a petrie dish for cash! It is disgraceful that children are being treated as a commodity in all areas of surrogacy and adoption.

    • surrox2

      regulated, maybe. But by whom? Not our government. They stick their nose in business they don’t belong in. If the government gets involved, you will see a significant drop in the number of women willing to be surrogates, and as a result, a drop in the number of childless couples having a family.

  • surrox2

    Thank you for coming to the defense of my friend. I’ve had to sit back and watch the horrifying comments being made about her (by other friends even!) The bottom line is that this could have happened to any of us surrogates. You get wrapped up in the excitement and sometimes you believe things you shouldn’t. I will stand by Heather until the end.

  • Rhanda

    “The three women who courageously came forward and worked with the FBI are decent, law-abiding people who believed they were entering into legal arrangements.”

    At least one of these so called “decent, law-abiding people” has admitted on the SurrogateMothersOnline website that she knew there were no intended parents for the embryo before she went to the Ukraine for transfer. She went on to say that she knew she would get profiles of parents “waiting for a baby” after she reached the second trimester but wanted to offer the child to a couple she had worked with before and failed to achieve a successful transfer. The couple were apparently unaware about what she was doing. She was also expecting to get $20K for her “surrogacy.” That is baby selling, plain and simple, and obviously illegal. I imagine she only escaped prosecution due to the FBI having bigger fish to fry in the form of the lawyers involved.

    Her story may not be the same as the other two surrogates who came forward as a part of this investigation, but your empathy is most certainly misplaced in her case.

    • surrox2

      I would disagree. Are you a regular member of the mentioned message boards?

  • Rhanda

    No, I’m not a regular member of the website, nor am I a surrogate mother or intended parent. I read the website from time to time and that is the extent of my involvement.

    I should say that I feel this particular surrogate didn’t know it was illegal going into the arrangement, but since when has that been a defence in a court of law? She admits she made a huge mistake, and it was a very avoidable one. Shopping her story with Dr Drew is also not helping.

    • surrox2

      I seriously can’t stand people who come and snoop on the boards, who have no involvement in surrogacy, and then claim to understand the heart and mind of a surrogate. If you want to read, at least have the nerve too register and post as well. Anything else is just creepy.

  • Rhanda

    I am speaking to the legalities of the case, not the “heart and mind of a surrogate.”

    I find it creepy when someone assumes because they have been a surrogate, or a mother, or a diabetic or mentally ill that gives them the right to speak for everyone who also identifies as a part of that group.

  • surrogate mama

    Rhanda you lie. No one goes to Surromoms online just to read now and then. you have surrogate knowledge and you know it.

    Look everyone, the bottom line is, when you are deciding to become a surrogate for someone, you must educate yourself. When you choose not to, you open yourself up to risks. You are responsible for your own lack of knowledge and for the outcome of those risks. Whats going on here is someone claiming to be a surrogate (by the way this is not a surrogacy, so stop calling her this, and you all know who i am talking about) looking for a way to skirt the law, combined with two very unethical, criminal attorneys. The perfect mix for disaster. And look at all the good that came of it. Thanks, everyone! The true surrogacy world appreciates the blow you have dealt us.

    • Rhanda

      Surrogate Mama, I actually first started going to SMO when I was writing a paper on assisted reproduction ethics for law school. I stayed on out of interest, primarily in the psychology behind surrogacy. I really do just read casually and there’s probably more of us than you think. 🙂

      I don’t like to think of myself as “creepy” though!

  • Intended Parent FL

    Heather KNEW what she was doing was wrong, PERIOD. She admitted as much. Just because someone “tells” you something is legal doesn’t make it so. She is all over the internet telling this on SMO (yes I am an ACTIVE MEMBER, have been for years) and shopping her story to Dr. Drew. She is not a victim of TE, HN or Carla, she made bad choice after bad choice and GOT LUCKY that she didn’t go to jail and that she cooperated with the FBI AFTER her ADOPTIVE PARENTS (because this IS NOT SURROGACY) got involved and within a few conversations knew this stunk of TROUBLE. I am not bashing Heather, I don’t know her, but what I DO KNOW is that she KNEW it was wrong and she did it anyway.. She is making it worse by shopping her story around, that makes me want to throw up.. I would say at the LEAST she should not be saying the word surrogacy anymore.. She had a donated embryo transferred and then adopted out the baby after the fact, not surrogacy and she should be shouting that from the rooftops.. This worries me for my own continued journey. There are too many lawmakers just waiting on a reason to jump on the “outlaw surrogacy now” wagon and God knows they don’t need any help, just saying..


    STOP calling it SURROGACY!

    What Hilary Nieman and Teresa Erickson did was planned illegal adoption. I don’t care who was involved, I am not even commenting on the people who carried. But I WILL say they aren’t victims. They carried a baby knowing no couple existed. A SURROGATE by definition is someone who carries a baby for a couple or single person who cannot carry for themselves. We meet, sign contracts, and THEN we transfer. We do not transfer PRIOR to meeting or signing contracts. Not at all. And we don’t pick from a “pool of IP’s” ever. Even those IP’s who adopt their embryos first have contracts in place PRIOR to transfer. What happened in these cases was adoption; 100%. We need to stop defining what happened with these shady lawyers incorrectly. These women whether they admit it or not, went into their arrangements pretty open-eyed. SOME may have been taken advantage of; but so are some people in EVERY type of situation! I assure you that as an actual surrogate, I was NEVER taken advantage of. I also went about it LEGALLY. If we go about things LEGALLY then these things are not problem. It’s when people cross the lines that it becomes an issue. But you cannot define an illegal planned adoption where a woman gets pregnant with donor embryos that no one’s adopted and a pool of waiting adoptive parents as a surrogacy. You just can’t! The lawyers simply ALSO practiced surrogacy law; well I have several trades too…you wouldn’t call me a doctor if I am a nurse just because I can diagnose an illness; so please, stop referring to this whole baby selling thing as surrogacy because it’s NOT even close to what it is!


    Oh, Ignorance is No excuse in the law. That’s a law too. Why does this heather chick get a free pass?

  • Just a few observations as this is the first chance I have had to review this thread:

    1. Please try to be civil to each other. Emotions are running high, understandably so. That does not justify personal attacks. The focus ought to be centered on those that created, operated and perpetuated this baby manufacturing ring for the past decade. There is plenty of fault to be distributed, but it ought to be directed at the real offenders.

    2. Hindsight is 20/20. In retrospect, every woman that was ensnared in this baby manufacturing scheme would have done things differently had they known better. All have said as much. While in no way am I try to make a direct comparison, the criticism being heaped on these surrogates is perilously reminiscent of the blame cast upon rape victims for dressing too provocatively. Mistakes were made, none greater then entrusting Neiman and Erickson who allayed any concerns these woman had.

    3. This was not surrogacy. I have consistently maintained that position for more than a year (though the early comments in another thread mocked this statement). This was not an adoption either. It was a criminal enterprise that manufactured babies for profit. To accomplish their goal, they exploited legal procedures to sanitize an illegal operation. No different than how criminals launder money.

    4. Finally, these women came forward and notified the FBI the moment they were told by reputable attorneys that their arrangements were improper. So to clear up any misperception, they were not contacted by the FBI as part of an investigation. At great legal risk to themselves, because of the very errors they have admitted to, they notified the FBI through their counsel of what was occurring. In doing so, they risked criminal prosecution but elected to do the right thing. They are the ones responsible for bringing this matter to the attention of law enforcement. They are the ones that played an essential role in shutting down this criminal operation. They are the ones that have ensured that no other women will be exploited by predators capitalizing on the commodification of babies. They are the ones responsible for ensuring that no other baby comes into this world with a tainted birth story.

    Again, it is easy to judge in retrospect. There a number of lessons to be learned from this scandal and hopefully the attention being focused on this case will avoid a repeat incident. But moving forward, I would hope that everyone reserves their anger for those that have plead guilty and uses their energy in a constructive fashion to protect the rights of the infertile to access these technologies so that they can share in the joy of having a family.

    • Rhanda

      This clarifies things somewhat, Andrew. I think where some people struggle, myself included, is in seeing these women as “heroes” for coming forward. Yes they made the best of the bad situation they got themselves into with poor judgement, lack of research into surrogacy and possibly greed due to the very high compensation offered.

      It’s good that they realised their mistake, but this doesn’t make them heroes to me. They may indeed be “the ones responsible for ensuring that no other baby comes into this world with a tainted birth story” but they were participants in making it happen in the first place and surely they understand the anger and disappointment from an already besieged community.

      • Hi Rhanda,

        Thanks for your reply.

        To be clear, I have never characterized these women as heroes. Nor have I seen anyone else do so.

        As someone who has dedicated the past 17 years to this industry, please know that I share your anger and disappointment as well. Every day we fight to protect the rights of Intended Parents against an opposition that wants to scale back reproductive freedoms to a time before Roe v. Wade. Incidents like this only provides grist for the mill to those that want to regulate out of existence the rights of the infertile to have access to IVF, surrogacy and egg donation. So I am angry as well. But my anger is directed at the three individuals who depravingly believed it morally acceptable to manufacture and sell babies for profit.

  • Jenn

    As a surrogate I will have to respectfully disagree with you here. It is our responsibility to do our own research and to understand what we are getting ourselves into. Heather, one of these surrogates KNEW she was entering into an agreement, she didn’t for a second think that there were annonymous IPs. This is fact because she herself said so. Ignorance of the law does not justify breaking it.

    Those who knew what they were getting into are just as guilty as the attornies if you ask me. This whole scheme reeks of baby selling. Basically these women KNOWINGLY created these babies for the sole purpose of selling them to couples who may or may not have been under the impression that the surrogate had been abandoned by previous IPs, that is just sick and wrong. It disgusts me to think that the women who knowingly entered into such agreements are representing themselves as surrogates., they are NOT. From what I understand from reading Heather’s story (what she herself put out there) these women did nothing but create babies to be adopted out when there are SO many babies out there who are already waiting to be adopted. It is just sickening to me.

    • Hi Jenn,

      Thank you for your respectful post. While I certainly understand and respect your position, I do obviously view the situation somewhat differently.

      We do agree that a Surrogate (and an Intended Parent) has a responsibility to perform her due diligence before proceeding with an arrangement of this magnitude. But how do you measure the amount of research that has to be done before proceeding? I would suggest to you that some Surrogates, having interviewed prior surrogates as well as meeting with two of the most publicly visible attorneys in the country specializing in third party reproduction, discharged that responsibility. It is easy to judge with the benefit of hindsight. Not necessarily so much while in the moment.

      So where do we draw the line? Must the Surrogate meet with 1 attorney? 2? 3? When has she done enough to no longer be “ignorant of the law”?

  • Intended Parent FL

    Andrew, you are perpetuating the fraud of the “surrogates” are victims and brave. DUDE, this could not be further from the truth.. Are you an Intended Parent? Has your wife, sister, cousin, etc. ever been a FOR REAL SURROGATE? If so you would know there is NO WAY you are flying to a foreign country, having an embryo transfer AND THEN choosing IP’s from a list of people waiting on babies.. It’s one thing to request everyone to refrain from bashing, but it is quite another to go on record saying things that are NOT true. Heather herself said she knew BEFOREHAND and after contacting a different lawyer and trying to be anonymous he figured out who she was and the situation and said, they are being investigated you should contact SO and So.. Big difference in from blowing the whistle on the situation before getting involved, “I’m calling SHENANIGANS!” She said she lied to her former intended parents to get them involved and when they finally talked to Hilary the ISH hit the fan and they sought outside cancel and were advised to talk to the FBI. I am not sure where you are getting your information, but we are getting it “from the horses mouth” so to speak. Another “birthmother” (cuz, I think we all agree they were not surrogates in this instance) also said they KNEW. The only victims here are those kids, that’s what is upsetting everyone here IMO, the fact that the news outlets and others (I am implying you here) are not doing this situation ANY justice by reporting false information regarding these women.. The adoptive parents and those kids are the victims, THAT. IS. ALL.

  • I just have to say that no matter the out come of the professional parties involved in the reported ‘baby selling ring’ it is a good thing that we are having these conversations. The reality is that IF Theresa Erickson and her colleagues are innocent and only plead guilty to wire fraud to save the ‘thousands of babies already born’ through some sort of third party help then so be it. Surely that information will come out in the wash. However the fact remains that the court documents and FBI information found something AND these 3 people involved confessed to some wrong doing.

    If we stop and think about all of the news, blog posts, and opinions we will realize that as a community this discussion was long over due. The ‘what if factor’ has happened. Hopefully anyone who was thinking that “selling babies” was a good business plan will have second thoughts and those willing to carry babies without IP’s in place will know better. What we are talking about in this case is human trafficking and not the same as Adoption or Surrogacy. Thankfully all of the children are with families that love and care for them. I just hope that those needing surrogacy to build their families OR those that are looking at adoption learn from this entire fiasco.

  • Surrogate12

    Andy, can you make sure Shannon from Surrogate Mothers Online receives this e-mail please.

    Dear Shannon, (owner of Surrogate Mothers Online, LLC.)

    Thank you for reaching out to me, but there is still many problems with your website. You claim you have a direct mailing address, if this is so “Then use it on your website” rather then the PO Box…

    Before I did my third surrogacy, it was very important to be matched with the right couple. During my interviews with Intended Parents, many of them had nightmare stories to share about Surrogate Mothers Online: Couple “A”, had found their surrogate on your website, everything was going well – contracts in place till the day of the embryo transfer. The surrogate never showed up for the transfer. Months later past bye, then the couple registered with another company to find the same surrogate on another agency’s database. After the police investigation, the couple found out that their surrogate was also matched with another couple in Rhode Island and had collected money from both agencies for traveling expenses and so forth.

    The couple wanted to share their horror story on your website, which later was removed.

    It’s my understanding, that Surrogate Mother’s Online staff control what is posted on your site and “deceiving the public”, as many surrogate cases are not all happy tails.

    The couple tried reaching someone at your company for months and later just gave up.

    I assume as any other business women who register on your site are probably not all mentally stable.

    I think if your going to run a business and make a profit from it, it’s important to be honest with the public.

    There is nothing wrong when a company admits to making a mistake, as no one is perfect.

    Just to give you a heads up, there are also IVF Clinic’s warning Intended Parents regarding your website, as many of the women that are found from your site are not able to pass the psychological screening.

    I think you should have some kind of Warning Ad on your site that these individuals who register have no identity verification and it’s up to the individual to verify who they say they are.

    Here is another scary story “Surro Nightmare” there is also a surrogate by the name “Tina”, who keeps making her self available in your website till this date and this woman has done over 8 surrogacy and had 4 of her own pregnancy’s – making total pregnancy count of “12”. I just remembered this surrogate has given birth to triplets and twins, making her total count of births much higher, oh my god!

    Well, this surrogate named Tina kept insurance money from her second surrogacy that was supposed to be used for the hospital bills. The medical insurance company sent her the money by mistake (instead of sending it to the hospital). Hospital bills were never paid; later on your website this surrogate blamed the agency, the Intended Parents and Law Firm for their stupidity. The so called surrogate cashed a check that belonged to the hospital, bought a house in Washington and more likely up to her old tricks with another couple. I know of this surrogate, since a family member almost used her surrogacy service. An agency in southern California replied to a reference check on this surrogate, as the agency expressed concerns about this surrogate who was caught up in the greed of money…

    Back then I wanted to expose this person, but my post was removed, since You and Your Staff control what is posted on your site.

    Shannon, your website is just like a “dating site”. In the news not to long ago, a woman was almost raped by a sexual predator that she met on a matching dating site.

    I just think, if you’re going to profit from the public Shannon, you need to take safety in to consideration as any company does, and allow people to post their true experiences even if it’s a horrible story. Also, talking to any law firm doesn’t make you a person of trust, even if you’ve done surrogacy. You turned your journey into a business; you charge a fee for your services. Why isn’t your photo up on your website? Just because one law firm handled your surrogacy, doesn’t mean that everyone knows you. There is not one IVF Clinic or surrogate mother that can describe what you look like in person. It sounds to me as many other professional think, that you cover up behind your website. You also need to understand that many Surrogate’s that have been connected to scams come from your website and that is really scary.

    I’m really disgusted with Theresa’s Erickson’s plead, regardless what was her role. Erickson knew better, and got caught up with greed. Erickson will plead to the public on Facebook for empathy, but that will not change the fact, that she has a “mug shot” at the police station!!!!! And the FBI shut down her business and website! No one should brag of what books she has written or her experiences and so forth. Erickson’s has giving a bad name to well respected reproductive law firms. What I find really a joke; Erickson’s filed “phony documents with the court”…..

    I want to mention, last week I got a call from my agency and IVF Clinic to report any concerns regarding the law firm that is representing me. I did raise a concern that I’m receiving my compensation late and the law firm that is handling my compensation did not open any escrow account and did charge my Intended Parents an escrow account fee. I think more investigation will come are way and more businesses will be shut done by the Fed’s.

    Andy, thanks for letting people share their thoughts regardless of what their experiences are…….

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