Surrogate mother admits selling child three times

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The Independent Online

A woman admitted yesterday to making thousands of pounds from a surrogacy fraud in which she agreed to sell her unborn child over the internet to at least three different couples at the same time.

A woman admitted yesterday to making thousands of pounds from a surrogacy fraud in which she agreed to sell her unborn child over the internet to at least three different couples at the same time.

The couples were paying Moira Greenslade £500 a month after she advertised her child on an American website. Greenslade, 33, from Keighley, West Yorkshire, is now facing up to 10 years imprisonment after pleading guilty to three charges of obtaining money by deception and three offences under the Adoption Act.

Yasmin Pitter, for the prosecution at Bingley magistrates' court, said Greenslade had signed agreements in which the couples offered her between £5,000 and £9,000 for the child. She had advertised her services on the Surromomsonline website in January last year. She spent the money on her six-year-old son and family holidays.

Greenslade attracted the attention of Mark and Michelle Johnson, from Scotland, who were desperate to have a child after suffering 13 miscarriages and having eight failed attempts at IVF. They agreed to pay monthly expenses of between £500 and £5,000 ­ £9,000 in total ­ once the birth certificate was handed over. In February last year, Mr Johnson handed over two sperm samples to Greenslade, who said she had inseminated herself.

A month later, Greenslade e-mailed the couple to say she was pregnant by another man, but when they attended Greenslade's 12-week scan in May she told pre-natal clinic staff that the couple were the baby's intended parents.

However, Greenslade wanted more money. On 3 August she placed another advertisement and attracted the Robinson-Hudsons from Wrexham (who promised £500 a month plus £5,000 for the baby) and the Rashleys from Hampshire (who offered £8,000 in total). The husbands of both couples agreed to claim that the baby was biologically theirs ­ a lie ­ in order to ease the adoption process. Neither knew that Greenslade had entered into surrogacy arrangements with anyone else.

She also placed a third website advertisement in October. She was contacted by a further two families who have never been traced, though it is thought no money was involved.

On 24 November, the Johnsons received a letter from Greenslade cancelling the arrangement and saying she was putting the child up for adoption. The following day she e-mailed the Robinson-Hudsons, saying she was cancelling their agreement. The couple contacted police in Wrexham, who searched Greenslade's home.

Greenslade gave birth on 11 December at the Princess Anne hospital in Southampton, but was arrested before she could give her baby to the Rashleys. The child was taken into care and later transferred to Bradford social services. A DNA test proved that none of the three men involved was the father of the baby.

Greenslade admitted three charges of obtaining property by deception and a further two charges of advertising that she was to be the parent of a child she wished to be adopted. She also admitted a further charge of arranging an adoption when she was not an adoption agent. She was granted conditional bail and committed to Crown Court for sentencing.

Outside court, Detective Chief Inspector Mick Hopwood said: "The reaction of the couples was very shocked. They are, of course, victims as they were desperate to adopt children. This was an exploitation of these people's expectations."