The facts about in vitro fertilization (IVF)
Tampa-based company The Surrogacy Group has twin problems — several in fact. And they all involve accusations of fraudulently taking advantage of surrogates and couples hoping to use a surrogate to become parents.
The company run by Greg Blosser out of Tampa and Annapolis, Maryland, got hit last week with legal shutdown attempts from two state attorneys general, Florida’s Ashley Moody and Maryland’s Brian E. Frosh.
The complaint from Moody’s office said Blosser pulled off twin frauds — taking the money from the couples on one end, not giving them the services they paid for, but also not always paying the surrogates. Her office says it has found $270,000 that The Surrogacy Group took from couples, and is still operating as a company in Florida despite dissolution last September.
“Couples invest a lot of time, money and emotion in the surrogacy process, and it is shameful that anyone would exploit this intimate and personal journey to steal their money,” Moody said in a statement announcing her office’s complaint filing in Hillsborough County Circuit Court.
On April 22, Frosh got a temporary restraining order barring Blosser “from selling any further surrogacy-related services to Maryland consumers, as well as from collecting any further monies from Maryland consumers in connection with his business,” according to a release from Frosh’s office.
That order got extended Monday morning until the resolution of the deceptive trade practice charges. Frosh’s office says The Surrogacy Group took up to $100,000 from prospective parents, then didn’t provide compensatory services.
Surrogacy involves a woman carrying an embryo fertilized in vitro to term for a parent or parents.
The Surrogacy Group’s Better Business Bureau rating is an F with nine complaints in the last year. Attempts to reach Blosser or The Surrogacy Group by phone met with a fax beep or no answer.
The Surrogacy Group’s website says “we’re here to guide you through the surrogacy process” from fertility clinic selection to surrogate matching through pregnancy to birth.
But, the Florida complaint says: “In fact, after receiving consumers’ monies, (The Surrogacy Group and Blosser) frequently became unavailable to consumers for extended periods of time or, in some cases, stopped responding to consumer communications all together.”
The complaint quotes The Surrogacy Group’s “Welcome Packet” as stating the prospective parents would put the surrogate’s pay in an escrow account and The Surrogacy group used a bonded escrow agency to handle that money. But, the complaint says, The Surrogacy Group stopped doing that and put the parents’ money into its own bank accounts, which it calls “an escrow account.”
And, on the surrogate side, “one surrogate alleges that several fee and reimbursement payments meant to be paid to her out of her Intended Parent’s purported escrow account (for which Surrogacy Group was escrow agent) were either late, in the wrong amounts, or not paid at all. In total, the Surrogate alleges that she is owed approximately $15,000.”
There was a curtain of silence, Moody’s complaint said, when there was money to be kept from customers asking for refunds or surrogates asking to be paid.
“At least one Surrogate alleges that, approximately sixty (60) days before giving birth to twins, (The Surrogacy Group and Blosser) stopped making scheduled Surrogate fee payments, stopped reimbursing her for medical expenses and cut off all substantive communication.”