Vietnamese Woman Used as Surrogate Wins Competition

Vietnamese Woman Used as Surrogate Wins Competition

By Park Si-soo

Staff Reporter

A court ruled Thursday that a Korean man must pay compensation to a Vietnamese woman that he married in order to have children he and his Korean first wife could raise. The woman had two babies that were both given to the first wife in a case that provoked major controversy over her use as a surrogate mother without her consent.

The Seoul Central District Court ordered the 53-year-old man to pay 25 million won ($19,700) in compensation to the 26-year-old Vietnamese woman, who divorced the man soon after the second baby was given to his first wife in 2005.

The court said, ``By making the woman stay apart from her children, the man not only infringed upon her custodial rights but also made her incur significant mental damage.''

The man claimed the woman had agreed to be a surrogate mother, but the court dismissed this, citing a lack of evidence. ``Even if it's true, depriving a biological mother of custodial rights is illegal,'' the court said.

The man married the Korean woman in 1982, but they failed to have any children.

Divorcing in 2003, he married the Vietnamese woman in August 2003 and she gave birth to two daughters in the following two years. Immediately after birth the two were sent to the husband's former Korean wife.

Just days after the immigrant wife delivered the second child, the husband abruptly divorced her and began to live again with his former Korean wife.

In February, the Seoul Family Court rejected the immigrant wife's request for custody of her biological children, citing the ``children's lack of awareness'' of her as their mother, which also provoked outrage.