Trade in fœtus parts and babies

CODEX Entry 2635: Trade in fœtus parts and babies


Abortions and Placentas

The legal trade in aborted foetuses in the US is led by companies like StemExpress and Advance Bioscience Resources, who source foetal tissues from hospitals and termination centres. Lab technicians isolate the specific cell types, for instance, foetal liver stem cells. A vial containing 5 million frozen foetal liver CD133+ stem cells can cost more than $24,000. The final products are couriered fresh or frozen around the world. Foetal-tissue sales include intact foetal eyes, hearts, and kidneys from StemExpress. Prices paid by the companies are $400 for tissue from a second-trimester foetus, and $600 if the foetus was first-trimester.

China prohibited trading human placenta in 2005 and indicated that it must be given to the woman who gave birth. If the woman does not want it, or the placenta is proven unhealthy, hospitals must dispose of it as medical waste. But the trade continued online with prices from $30 to $100 yuan per kilogram. Some hospitals charge pregnant women for their own placenta to pressure them to give it up. After the blood is extracted, the remaining tissues, in China, are converted into pills for oral consumption.

In the illicit trade, women in the former Soviet republics are being paid US$150 to have abortions and allow their foetuses to be used in treatments. Some are paid extra to have abortions late in their pregnancy for the extra size and improved properties. A special procedure extracts the foetus with the placenta. The aborted foetus is cut into separate organs before being cryogenically frozen. The material is then sold and taken abroad. A ‘mule’ carrying 25 frozen foetuses hidden in two vacuum flasks was recently stopped at the Ukraine border. Beauty salons in Moscow buy the aborted material to provide ‘foetal therapy’, injecting stem cells, despite a Russian ban on treatments using human cells other than bone marrow. Clinics pay up to US$7,000 for each foetus. Beauty courses of injections, using blends of foetal cells, are widely available in salons that charge up to US$15,000. Wealthy clients are told the treatment can stop the ageing process.

Numerous victims of child ritual abuse have confirmed that they have had forced abortions, and the foetuses taken away or used in rituals.


Baby factories

A recent case in 2006 highlighted the escalation of baby factory and kidnapping in Eastern Europe, particularly Bulgaria and Romania. In this case babies were sold through Greek and Russian middlemen. These 18 cases are just a fraction of the trade. In 2019 allegations were collected against John of God, the Brazilian millionaire healer and spiritual leader. Along with 600 women who accuse him of assault and rape, employees and victims at a network of farms, in the Brazilian province of Goias, have come forward claiming that they held hundreds of teenage girls, who would be impregnated and their babies sold. The girls were allegedly murdered after 10 years of carrying babies. Babies trade for EUR20,000 on the black market.