Another scandal has emerged in the US fertility industry, this time involving a Boise company that scammed egg providers out of payment. 31-year old Janae Helgerson of Mid-West Egg Donation has been arrested and indicted by a federal grand jury on multiple charges of defrauding egg donors. Helgerson is set to appear in court this week, and if convicted faces fines and up to twenty years in prison.
Angela Polete, who has not yet received the $7,500 she is owed, says:
"I was supposed to get paid six weeks after the donation took place. Six weeks later, after the donation took place, it came and went. I started questioning them… what's wrong? Why haven't I gotten paid?"
Allegations against Helgerson state that between 2006 and 2010, she agreed to pay client donors between $4,000 and $5,000, but never delivered. She has also been accused of lying to investigators and of keeping "at least $10,000 for herself."
Another defrauded donor, Amber Puckett says:
"...I don't think it's right to lead someone on to believe that they're contracted for a certain amount of money and go through this lengthy process that's not easy, and with no intention of ever paying them. You don't do that to anyone, that's not right."
This is dreadfully reminiscent of the SurroGenesis case in California, where a Modesto-based surrogacy broker allegedly embezzled around $2 million from surrogates, some of them mid-pregnancy. These injustices deserve attention; proper protections for young women in the fertility industry are severely deficient.
Previously on Biopolitical Times:
Posted in Assisted Reproduction, Bioethics, Civil Society, Egg Retrieval, Jillian Theil's Blog Posts, Reproductive Justice, Health & Rights
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