A woman in Kaohsiung this month lost a lawsuit in which she was seeking to become the mother of twin girls born to a surrogate in Ukraine.
Despite the woman, surnamed Yeh (葉), presenting evidence that she paid NT$4.47 million (US$150,810), including fees for the surrogate mother, surrogacy agency, government registration and travel to Ukraine, the Kaohsiung District Court ruled that she had contravened Taiwan’s law that prohibits the “sale of human reproductive eggs.”
At the hearing, Yeh said that while she was not married, she wanted to raise children and had decided to emulate her friend, who had a baby born by a surrogate mother in Ukraine, where surrogacy is legal.
Yeh’s brother had agreed to be the sperm donor and to travel with his wife to Ukraine. Yeh had her brother signed an agreement that, after her brother returned to Taiwan with the baby, Yeh would register to adopt the child and become the legal mother of the infant, court documents showed.
After cultivating an embryo and assessing its healthy growth in a reproductive clinic, it was artificially inseminated in the Ukrainian surrogate mother, resulting in the birth of twin girls in January 2011, Yeh said.
The brother brought the twins back to Taiwan in February 2011 and registered the girls under his residence, becoming their father under Taiwanese law, she said.
Yeh told the court that she had taken care of the twins at her home, but that her brother reneged on their agreement by refusing to allow her to adopt the girls.
The brother took the girls back to his home in July 2018, asserting that he was their legal guardian.
Yeh the filed the lawsuit, alleging that her brother had broken their signed agreement that she could adopt the girls on their return to Taiwan.
“Under the current law it is illegal to do a business transaction for human reproductive cells. Though Taiwanese society has opened up in recent years ... purchasing human eggs to create a living human embryo is to monetize human life as a product, which is harmful to human dignity,” the court ruling said.
“Yeh and her brother had sought ‘assisted reproduction’ ... in Ukraine, where it is legal, but the arrangement contravened society’s moral values and, as such, the agreement between Yeh and her brother is invalid,” it added.
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