A woman is on trial in France on charges of defrauding two same-sex couples who had hired her as a 'surrogate'.
The first couple involved was a male same-sex couple who paid the woman, known only as 'Aurore', €15,000 (£11,400) in 2010 to carry a child for them using donor sperm. However, as the due date approached, Aurore reportedly sent them a text message to say that the child was stillborn, while in fact the baby was born healthy. The woman then later sold the child for around €10,000 (£7,500) to another couple in Luxembourg, reports RFI.
Prosecutors say the con was repeated in 2012, when the woman promised to carry a baby for another male same-sex couple for €15,000. Yet again the couple was informed that the child was stillborn, while the baby was sold to a couple in northern France. Aurore was arrested on suspicion of fraud and attempted fraud in 2013, when it also became apparent she was attempting to defraud another three couples.
Deputy prosecutor Jean Dematteis has recommended a year-long sentence in jail with nine months suspended, and that all four couples in the case should be given suspended fines of €2,000. All forms of surrogacy are prohibited in France.
Closer to home, a British couple has been conned out of £8,000 in a similar surrogacy scam. Samantha Brown has admitted faking her pregnancy altogether, claiming she had been in car accident only days before she was due to give birth, saying that the baby had been stillborn.
Brown had met with Benita and Mark Cutter, who had provided sperm for the supposed insemination, via an internet forum. Brown sent the couple fake ultrasound pictures and even a photograph of a child she claimed was the stillborn baby. The Cutters have now spoken about their 30-month long ordeal and the heartbreak they suffered grieving for a child that never existed.
'The law must change to protect people like us so no one else falls victim to another evil, monstrous woman like Samantha Brown,' said Cutter.
Brown, who is already serving a three-year sentence for shooting a neighbour in the head with an air rifle, will be sentenced in February.