A Mexican woman who agreed to be a surrogate mother and ‘rent’ her womb for £8,500 was implanted with an embryo created from an HIV+ father without her consent.
Alejandra Mendiola, a 36-year-old single mother of four, agreed to carry a baby made from donated sperm and eggs for an American client because she desperately needs the money.
‘I am six months pregnant and I only found out a few weeks ago that the man who is paying me to carry his child is HIV+,’ she told Channel 4’s Unreported World.
‘I am scared and unsure what is going to happen to me and my children.
‘I only did this because I wanted to secure their future – now I’m frightened for my future, and my children’s.’
Global commercial surrogacy, where a woman is paid to carry an embryo with which she shares no genetic link, is an exploding industry estimated to be worth up to £1.3 billion.
In Britain, paying for surrogacy is illegal and contracts between parents and a surrogate mother are not legally enforceable. Women who carry babies for other people can only do so altruistically, receiving only very basic expenses.
This means many British people desperate to have a family look abroad.
Until recently, Thailand and India were the top destinations for international surrogacy.
But earlier this year, the Thai government banned non-Thai and gay couples from accessing surrogacy services after an Australian couple allegedly abandoned a baby with Down’s syndrome while taking home his healthy twin sister.