Yarden (not her real name) was being treated at the Sabyc fertility clinic in Bucharest when the Romanian police raided the place, arrested the Israeli doctors who run it and held dozens of doctors and patients for questioning.
In a conversation with Ynet Tuesday, Yarden, 44, said that not only were she and the other patients humiliated by the local police, but money and valuables were also stolen from them at the police station. They now plan to sue Romania for damages.
According to Yarden, "They opened up bags and took everything that was inside, whether money or mobile phones. Some people lost 4,000-5,000 euro." She said that she wrote to the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Consulate General in Romania, asking for help with getting the money back, but hasn't heard from anyone.
'Pushing, shoving, cursing.' Police outside the clinic (Photo: AFP)
Yarden also complained about what she described as the Romanian police's "brutal treatment," that included "beating, shoving, cursing and threats." Police investigators, she said, made her and the other Israelis sign forms in Romanian without the presence of a lawyer.
"We demanded to call the consulate, but they refused. They said people who refuse to sign the forms will have to stay here for two weeks," she recounted.
Israeli Consul General in Romania Lily Ben Harush told Ynet she intends to meet with all those who were arrested and look into the allegations. "We will talk to the local authorities and try and establish what happened with the money and phones… if it turns out that illegal acts took place, we will act
accordingly," she promised.
Yarden also accused the health authorities in Israel of getting the patients involved in the affair. "We went there because the State sent us and because there aren't enough eggs in Israel. We didn't know we were doing something illegal," she stated.
Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said Tuesday Israeli health services will be investigated for any involvement in the Romanian egg trafficking affair.
However, Litzman stressed that his office has full faith in Israel's sick funds.
'Comparable to Auschwitz'
Meanwhile, the Romanian doctors' association is accusing the Israeli doctors involved in the human egg trafficking affair of endangering dozens of Romanian women in order to harvest and sell their eggs, according to a report Tuesday in the Romanian daily newspaper Evenimentul Zilei.
Head of the doctors' association, Colegiul Medicilor, Dr. Vasile Astarastoae made grave accusations against his Israeli colleagues and those running the Sabyc clinic where the allegedly illegal embryo implantations took place.
"The doctors from this clinic are comparable to doctors from Auschwitz," said Astarastoae. "They used misfortunate people, sold their organs for money, and showed complete contempt for humanity. Why didn't they have the courage to do this in Israel?"
The newspaper reported that investigators claim the clinic's doctors swindled their clients, most of whom are Israeli and German. According to them, the clients sought "blond intelligent" twins, and instead were implanted with eggs taken from poor young girls, most of then Gypsies, in exchange for money.
Women also to be indicted
Head of the National Agency for Transplants Dr. Victor Zota said to the newspaper that he authorized the clinic, mentioning that the go ahead for performing implantations was issued only last week.
According to him, he was unaware of any illegal activities taking place at the Sabyc clinic. "Nothing aroused suspicion that they were harvesting eggs and paying for them. I believe that 15 to 20 women were gathered in the middle of the night, when they performed the procedures. They apparently called families from abroad for fertility treatments. It was a real industry," he said.
Legal authorities in Romania claim they have been investigating the case for about three months following a complaint issued by a young couple. Police investigators said to the newspaper, "Three Romanian doctors are being implicated in the affair, and hundreds of women will also be indicted for selling their own eggs."
Attila Somfalvi and Meital Yasur-Beit Or contributed to the report