6 December 2013
The appeal court in the Belgian city of Ghent has given suspended jail terms to a Dutch couple involved in an illegal adoption, according to Belgian media reports.
The Dutch couple were given eight months suspended jail terms for buying the baby, known as Donna, in a complicated law suit involving cross-border surrogacy and illegal adoption.
Baby Donna was born in February 2005 in Belgium via a surrogate on behalf of a Belgian couple where the wife was infertile. However, instead of handing the baby over to this couple as agreed, the surrogate mother sold the baby to a Dutch couple in Leusden for €15,000.
Later, the biological father tried to get the child back, but the Dutch courts ruled she should stay with the Dutch couple because they had developed a relationship with her.
The Dutch prosecution service also ruled in 2008 that the Dutch couple could not be prosecuted for illegal adoption.
The surrogate mother was given a one-year suspended jail sentence and her partner was fined €1,650 after the court said they had tried to sell the baby ‘to the highest bidder’, Belgian media reported
The court also said the Dutch couple were aware the Belgian couple wanted to keep the baby and the fact the child, now nearly nine, is growing up in a loving environment is no reason they should be found not guilty. The sentences are light because of the age of the case, the court said.