Australian parents cannot bring their newborns home after the well-known fertility clinic in Crete, that uses surrogacy, was raided by police due to claims of human trafficking and fraud.
As reported in The Australian, around eight newborns – including a number of Australian babies – are being detained by the Greek government in a high-security neonatal ward in Crete’s Chania Hospital.
The surrogacy clinic, the Mediterranean Fertility Institute was raided by federal police on accusations of human trafficking and fraud.
The Australian Ambassador to Greece has described this as a “grave situation” in multiple letters to the Greek government, while a surrogacy organisation says more Australian families will be implicated as each day passes and more babies are born to surrogate women.
Greek Police allege the clinic was a criminal organisation that exploited 169 foreign vulnerable women, forcing them to be egg donors or surrogates, and defrauded patients through sham embryo transfers and engaging in illegal adoptions.
The clinic’s entire medical team have been arrested and imprisoned, accused of child trafficking, while police continue their investigation.
Australian parents who have arrived in Crete to collect their newborn babies or are awaiting their immediate arrival will not be able to see or take them home.
The parents will need to undergo a DNA test to prove their link to their baby and even if the DNA results are positive, the District Attorney’s office needs to grant the parents permission to take their babies home and out of the country.
A spokesman for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade it was “continuing to provide consular assistance and engage actively with Greek authorities in support of a small number of families with surrogacy arrangements in Greece.
“We understand that this is a distressing time for impacted families,” the spokesman said.
Australia’s Ambassador in Greece, Alison Duncan, has personally written two letters to the Greek Government to ask for the Australian parents to be able to have visitation rights and access information on the hospital care plan for their baby. “I understand the Greek authorities are undertaking a full and comprehensive investigation into the Mediterranean Fertility Institute and its operations,” she wrote.
“I wish to express my respect for Greek legal processes.
“Their request for visitation acknowledges that it is in the best interests of the baby to have love and attention.
“I hope for a speedy resolution of this issue for all the Australian families who have been unwittingly caught up in this grave situation.”
Source: The Australian