Plans for `baby farm' falter

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The Independent Online
An international surrogacy business to supply babies to childless American couples has been planned by a British man.

John Davies, 38, a born-again Christian who finds babies for adoption throughout Eastern Europe and is now under criminal investigation for suspected child trafficking, had hoped to have his surrogacy business running by this month.

Under the scheme, young women in Eastern Europe would be recruited to bear children for a fee. The frozen sperm of American men would be shipped to a clinic in southern Hungary and inseminated into the women whom Mr Davies intended to bring across the border from Romania. The women would give birth in the US, which in certain states would guarantee them citizenship.

Mr Davies prepared a business plan - a copy of which has been obtained by the Independent - in which he says: "It is estimated that we will arrange 30 surrogates in the first year and 50 in the second, with a maximum of approximately 80 in the third year."

The pregnant women would be looked after on a "fattening farm" while Mr Davies obtained tourist visas to enable them to travel to the US in the latter stages of their pregnancies.

He had lined up the services of a gynaecologist and there was to be a team of obstetricians standing by to deliver the babies in the US.

For Mr Davies, a former bible salesman, the service promised to circumvent the red tape of inter-country adoptions.

However, the plans have suffered a setback through lack of financial backing and a decision by the Croatian authorities to investigate him for suspected illegal baby selling.

Mr Davies told the Independent that he had never arranged a surrogate birth and had no immediate plans to do so. But he remains convinced that surrogacy is the perfect solution for "middle-class American couples who do not want to go through the hell of adoption".

He added: "At the moment there is no way to link the medical services, the client group, the prospective mothers and a reliable agency in the States. It's just too much for any small group like ourselves and it needs a respectable practice of obstetricians."

Global baby market, page 5