The Oktyabrsky District Court of Krasnoyarsk found 29-year-old Kazakh citizen Tamara Yandieva, who became a surrogate mother, guilty of human trafficking. She was sentenced to three years in a penal colony. This is the first sentence in Russia in the case of surrogate motherhood.
Yandieva’s lawyer Lyudmila Aivar told The Insider that in 2018, the woman was offered to participate in a surrogacy program in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, for $13,000. She went there and went through the fertilization procedure, after which she carried the fetus and gave birth in Krasnoyarsk. In the maternity hospital, Yandieva wrote a refusal of the child in favor of genetic parents and left him there. Subsequently, due to the fact that the biological father could not arrive at the appointed time, the woman had to register the child for herself.
However, according to investigators, after the birth, Yandieva issued a power of attorney allowing the director of the Krasnoyarsk center for surrogacy Didilia and his acquaintances to dispose of the newborn. After that, she allegedly returned to Kazakhstan, where she received payment. The director of "Didilia", according to investigators, took the newborn for sale to third parties.
The investigation believes that in 2019-2020, Didiliya was looking for citizens of Russia and Kazakhstan who were ready to become surrogate mothers. Those who wished were taken to Cambodia, where they underwent an embryo transfer procedure. There are 19 children involved in the case. Nine people are accused of it, including four surrogate mothers and the deputy chief physician of the perinatal center in Krasnoyarsk.
Aivar told The Insider that the actions of her client were regarded as human trafficking precisely because of the work of Didiliya:
“It is difficult to draw a line between surrogate motherhood and human trafficking, as this is the first criminal case in Russia in the history of surrogate motherhood. How to distinguish one from the other? From my point of view, it’s simple: a person entered into an agreement to bear a child, carried this child, fulfilled all the necessary conditions provided for by Russian law. The only thing is that she registered the child for herself, which pledged to take care of the child, educate him and bear responsibility for him. She was also guided by the fact that the child must be registered, because otherwise he will not have a birth certificate, he will be transferred to an orphanage as an orphan and his father will never see him again. In order for the father to have time to somehow register the child for himself and be able to come to Russia, take all the necessary measures, pass a genetic examination and pick up the child, she went to meet him. She wanted to ensure the child's rights and legitimate interests. Investigators thought it was child trafficking.
As for "Didilia", she did not hide from anyone and was exclusively engaged in supporting surrogate motherhood. Billboards hung all over Krasnoyarsk, many Russians became happy parents of children born through surrogate motherhood. By the way, the Prosecutor General's Office twice refused to initiate a criminal case on a different composition, in the case of Olga Merinskaya against a surrogate mother and her husband. They registered the child in their name, took it abroad and handed it over to genetic parents. There are double standards here: in relation to some individuals, we refuse to initiate [cases], while we imprison others for a long time.”
Now, according to Aivar, the child that Yandieva gave birth to is in an orphanage in Krasnoyarsk. His father, a Chinese citizen, came to the city and through the court is engaged in the transfer of the child to him. Yandieva herself is in pre-trial detention center No. 6 in Krasnoyarsk. She is a single mother, she left two children in Kazakhstan. Yandieva and Aivar will appeal the court decision, which will take about a month.