There’s a heavy demand in Russia for aborted and miscarried fetuses – for stem-cell injection treatments designed as anti-aging therapies.
The treatments are the hottest thing among the Russian elite since Botox.
According to a report in the Scotsman, pharmaceutical magnate and former presidential candidate Vladimir Bryntsalov, 58, one of Russia’s 27 billionaires, is already a firm believer in the experimental treatment that can cost as much as $9,000 per session.
“I had lots of wrinkles on my face, but now the skin is as smooth as a baby’s,” he said. “I also had terrible scars on my body that were there since childhood, but they too have disappeared.”
The fetal stem-cell therapy is not only being used to smooth out wrinkles, but also as a method of getting rid of cellulite and excess flab.
Russian law permits the extraction and storage of embryo stem cells, but does not specify what can be done with them. Some are questioning the legality as well as the ethics.
“We are talking about a huge, corrupt and dangerous trade in dubious therapies,” said Professor Vladimir Smirnov, director of Moscow’s Institute of Experimental Cardiology. “The authorities have never licensed any medical specialist to administer injections of stem cells. These methods are totally experimental and illegal.”
Investigations are currently being carried out into an illegal baby trade that sees impoverished women from Russia and the surrounding countries selling their aborted fetuses for about $200.
The unborn babies are cryogenically frozen before being peddled for use in the rejuvenating skin treatments.
Some women, according to a report in the London Observer, are being paid extra for having their abortions late term, producing more valuable dead babies.
“Doctors tell the women or girls that there is a problem with their pregnancy and that the baby has to be aborted, or else they are offered more money,” said Ukrainian investigator Sergei Shorobogatko.
The trade in dead babies came to light when border guards stopped a train entering Russia from Ukraine in April and arrested a man involved in smuggling 25 frozen remains in two vacuum flasks.
It seems Ukrainian law permits aborted humans to be passed to research institutes if the woman consents and her anonymity is protected. But police investigators found the staff at government health facilities are selling them to private clinics offering illegal therapies.
Aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, another billionaire and the third richest on Forbes list of wealthy Russians, has already invested more than $150,000 in the Institute of Physical and Chemical Biology at Moscow State University.
Professor Vladimir Skulachev, the institute director and a full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, seems to think he has discovered the fountain of youth.
“Aging is a biological program where oxygen is the main killer of cells,” he says. “We believe that any program can be turned off.”