The emergence of the business of international surrogacy burst on the scene as early as 2007, when PlanetHospital founder Rudy Rupak began marketing a surrogacy service in India, promising prospective clients a system of two-surrogates-at-a-time implantation to increase the likelihood of producing a pregnancy by 60 percent. Before long, and billions of dollars later, ethical issues presented themselves like dominoes, and what began for many the promise of life became the ultimate in betrayal and fraud for prospective parents.
Rupak was not only the first to send foreign patients to India, but also the first to provide surrogacy services to gay couples. Practices such as requiring all surrogates to give birth by Cesarean Section were commonplace by promising that it was the “safer” and “more efficient” delivery method and would enable new parents to be present at the birth of their child. The health and well-being of the surrogate and her ability to carry and deliver future children safely was all but ignored and not part of the discussion, and compensation was considered to be more than enough in return for any risks encountered.
When asked about Rupak’s intentions, Catherine Moscarello, a former employee of PlanetHospital, told the New York Times, “The object was to get money. He would keep changing clinics and whenever his relationship with a clinic in India or Thailand or Cancun broke off, he would disparage the clinic and the doctors there. But what was really happening was that he wasn’t paying his bills.” Moscarello also stated that Rupak utilized the unethical practice of egg-splitting and cost-saving measures such as switching harvested eggs from one intended parent to another.
Rupak utilized multiple domain names on the Internet to attract interested parties, as well as posting multiple advertisements for Gay and Lesbian surrogacy, Christian surrogacy and numerous others to keep the momentum going. After clients were solicited successfully and financial arrangements took place, multiple inconsistencies and avoidance strategies were put in place to fend off anxious parents for news about the progress of their surrogacy arrangement. Ryhannon Morrigan confirmed in the Times article Rupak’s preference for putting little in writing and communicating mostly by telephone.
On June 23, 2016, Rudy Rupak was indicted for $2 million wire fraud, resulting from his relationships with childless clients seeking surrogacy services. Accused of allegedly failing to pass on funds received by clients to IVF clinics and egg donor facilities, as well as attempting to cover his tracks by communicating to the prospective parents that surrogacy procedures had not been successful, Rudy Rupak faces the possibility of 20 years in prison if he is found guilty. A hearing of the case was originally scheduled for July 25, 2016.
According to Laura Duffy, U.S. Attorney, “People who seek the help of a surrogate are on an exhausting, expensive and emotional journey. They shouldn’t have their dream to have a child trampled by someone they trust to help them”
Read more about Rudy Rupak and PlanetHospital from previous Medical Tourism Magazine articles.
Tags: Catherine Moscarello, medical tourism, medical tourism ethics, planethospital, Rudy Rupak, surrogacy, surrogacy ethics, wire fraud