Iran: Poverty compels pregnant women to sell their unborn babies
“If you are looking for an unborn baby to adopt since birth, contact this number as soon as possible.” The shocking ad was stuck on a wall in one of Tehran’s streets.
Although posters like “newborn baby sale” or “children on sale” are not new, they are receiving increasing media attention as they are becoming more frequent. Such ads are seen on the walls in many streets, hospitals, and clinics.
The spread of homelessness and poverty in Iran has put many women in difficult circumstances. A large number of homeless pregnant women are selling their unborn infants often for less than $600 provided that their babies are born healthy. Some impoverished women rent their wombs.
“Baby-sale” advertisements are also circulated on the internet and can be found on banners on many websites. One such banner reads: “I am a 32-year-old woman and 4 months pregnant. Those who do not have any children and want to adopt a child, please let me know. In this way, they can have a baby. On the other hand, I am a single woman with no source of income and cannot raise a child.”
The state-run Mehr news agency, on August 22, 2015 cited a social expert as saying, “I have personally slept among those who sleep in cardboard boxes in the streets… Unfortunately, in these districts, I witnessed sale of kids. The conditions are so critical that they sell the fetus in the mother’s womb before birth for 1 million and 750 thousand toumans ($314).”
Poverty has taken a heavy toll on women as the regime deprives them of equal opportunities for employment and economic participation. Rouhani’s deputy for women and family affairs has acknowledged that poverty in Iran has taken on a feminine face. (Shahindokht Molaverdi, the state-run ILNA news agency, September 6, 2014)