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Meet 5 Accused Pedophiles Who Bought Kids Through Surrogacy

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Image Creditjhon macias/Pexels

The fertility industry is handing designer babies over to men with zero vetting or scrutiny of their mental fitness or criminal history.

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Surrogacy is risky for children. Not just the risk of a primal wound via intentional birth mother separation. Not just the risk of identity struggles if their genetic mother is purchased from a catalog. Not just the risk of mother-hunger if they are raised in a home absent maternal love. 

Surrogacy puts children at risk for the worst kinds of abuse. 

That became glaringly obvious last month when YouTubers Shane Dawson and partner Ryan Adams announced the birth of twin boys. Dawson’s long history of sexualizing children is well-known and well-documented. Evie magazine detailed concerning incidents including Dawson pretending to masturbate while watching 11-year-old Willow Smith’s music video, referring to a 6-year-old fan as “kind of sexy,” justifying pedophilia as a mere “fetish,” typing “naked baby” in a child pornography search and remarking that the returns were “sexy,” and proclaiming, “I would rape all of you” when viewing a series of photos featuring young girls wearing his merchandise.

In one show, he instructed a 12-year-old to eat a “cocktail weenie” with the recognition that child molesters comprise a significant portion of his audience. Dawson and Adam have another 10 embryos in frozen storage should they decide they want a few more children around the house.

We hope no harm comes to the boys to whom Dawson and Adams have been granted (via surrogacy contract) parental rights. But other surrogate-born children were not so fortunate.

Contrary to what you may think, surrogacy isn’t just about helping infertile couples have babies. When we look at how surrogacy is actually practiced and promoted, we see surrogacy isn’t about babies, it’s about on-demand, designer babies shipped worldwide. And sometimes, those babies are shipped directly to child abusers.

We don’t know the raw numbers because, unlike organ donation, the medical wing of #BigFertility requires no tracking or follow-up of those who avail themselves of their services. (Apparently, there’s more concern about the survival of a kidney than a child.) And unlike adoption, which heavily vets and screens prospective parents and monitors the child post-placement, surrogate-born children are not known to social workers and often disappear across international borders.

Even when safeguards are in place, predators often go to great lengths to acquire children to abuse. In 2022, the country was horrified by the story of a suburban pedophile ring set up by two married men who raped and pimped out their adopted sons. 

That children created by a fertility industry with no mechanism (and no desire) to scrutinize intended parents for things like mental fitness, criminal records, or predatory history end up in the homes of dangerous adults should surprise no one.

Absent any kind of record-keeping or follow-up on these children, those of us who reject surrogacy on the grounds that it violates the rights of children, must piece together the risks when stories of child victimization emerge. 

These 5 Pedophiles Mail-Ordered Babies

Psychiatrist Jo Erik Brøyn held a high position in Norwegian social services responsible for child protection and was involved in several high-profile cases of child removal. He also acquired two boys through an Indian surrogate. In 2018, police discovered 20 years’ worth of child pornography in his possession — more than 20,000 images and 4,000 hours of videos — depicting child sexual abuse including “boys masturbating each other, fixed/sexualized violence against children, anal sex by men with boys or oral sex of children (including toddlers) on grown men.” He was sentenced to less than two years in prison. Some sources report that the boys have been returned to his care.

An unnamed German pedophile hired a Russian surrogate for €60,000 who birthed the baby in Greece. He then flew the child back to Germany. In 2020, a regional court found him guilty of child abuse and producing and possessing child pornography. His child was a subject of 16 of those cases between the ages of 2 and 3, and the defendant was in possession of 175,000 images of child pornography. He was sentenced to five years in prison. The child was removed from his custody. 

In 2013, Mark Newton and Peter Truong were convicted of subjecting their surrogate-born son to “the worst [pedophile] rings … if not the worst ring I’ve ever heard of,” according to one investigator. After paying a Russian surrogate $8,000 to carry the child, the pair began to violate the boy as a newborn.

“The abuse began just days after his birth and over six years the couple traveled the world, offering him up for sex with at least eight men, recording the abuse and uploading the footage to an international syndicate known as the Boy Lovers Network.” Police believe the pair created the boy through surrogacy “for the sole purpose of exploitation.” The child was removed from their custody, and the men are serving decades-long sentences.

During the height of the Indian surrogacy boom, it was revealed that an Israeli sex offender had procured a little girl via surrogacy. Had #BigFertility had any kind of vetting in place or required fingerprinting or simply character references, it would likely have been discovered that the man had spent 18 months in jail for sexually abusing young children under his supervision. The discovery shocked authorities in both India and Israel, but because they couldn’t prove that abuse had yet taken place, there was no ground to remove the girl from his custody. It did however validate India’s decision to ban single men and gay couples, who composed 30-50 percent of intended parents, from the Indian surrogacy market.

In 2014, intended parents Wendy and David Farnell commissioned twin surrogate children in Thailand, then a global hotspot for surrogacy. The little girl, Pipah, was healthy, but the little boy, Gammy, had serious medical issues as well as Down Syndrome. A scandal erupted when the couple took the little girl back to Australia but abandoned Gammy to be raised by the Thai surrogate.

It was then discovered that David had been jailed in the late 1990s for sexually molesting two girls under the age of 10, and was charged, convicted, and sentenced again in 1998 on six counts of indecently dealing with a child under the age of 13. When his criminal record was revealed and investigated, a judge determined there was “a low risk of harm if Pipah stays in that home,” and she remained in the care of Wendy and David until his death in 2020. The “Baby Gammy” case was one of several scandals that prompted the Thai government to ban commercial surrogacy altogether. 

Many of the above cases are older, the results of contracts that were drawn up when surrogacy was less common. Since then, the surrogacy industry has grown exponentially with a projected 1,000 percent increase by 2032. In addition, there are entire organizations devoted to delivering custom-ordered babies to men, none of which will have to submit to background checks or fingerprinting. So expect more cases of surrogate-born child exploitation in the coming years. 

Whether or not the child ends up abused, whether it’s paid or altruistic, whether it’s traditional or gestational, and regardless of the intended parent’s household composition, surrogacy always violates the rights of the child. It is not a problem that can be solved through regulation. The only way to protect children is to ban surrogacy worldwide.


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