Project December 19, 2022

The Baby Broker Project


One of the world’s most successful low-cost surrogacy agencies, New Life, presents itself as a dream solution to the infertility nightmare suffered by desperate would-be parents across the globe.

But a major collaborative investigation by journalists from Georgia, Mexico, Kenya, Estonia, and the United Kingdom, brought together by Finance Uncovered, has unearthed evidence of suspected ethical violations regarding the company’s recruitment and treatment of surrogates, and an opaque company structure that issues what some lawyers argue are worthless contracts, which could leave vulnerable women and commissioning parents legally exposed.

The investigation gets behind the blizzard of joyous testimonials on social media to tell the hidden story of a company at the vanguard of a shape-shifting, nomadic industry that stretches across the world to circumvent anti-exploitation laws and cater to desperate would-be parents.

Reporters tell the stories of the women recruited to act as surrogates—many of whom are unmarried, economically vulnerable single mothers from the Global South—and explore controversial services and advice offered to commissioning parents, including how to abandon a baby with genetic abnormalities in an orphanage.

And they investigate the opaque ownership structure of a mysterious shell company that issues potentially legally questionable contracts to New Life commissioning parents.

New Life told reporters it always acted within the law, everywhere it operated.

#BabyBroker project involved months of work by reporters at Animal Político in Mexico, iFact in Georgia, The Observer and Finance Uncovered from the U.K., Eesti Päevaleht from Estonia, and freelance reporters from Kenya and Cambodia.