Canadian Baby Farmer — Lila Gladys Young
From the 1920s to the end of the 1940s, Lila Gladys Young and her husband William ran the “ideal” racket. Selling babies. Running “Ideal Maternity and Sanitorium,” the duo arranged illegal adoptions for people in Canada and United States.
Lila married her husband William at the age of 26, and by 29, in 1928, she graduated from the National School of Obstetrics and Midwifery. William was an unordained Seventh Day Adventist minister and missionary.
Together they opened the “Life and Health Sanitarium” in East Chester, Nova Scotia.
At the time, in Canada, abortion and birth control were illegal. Unwed women who got pregnant were often disowned by their families and kicked out of their homes.
Lila’s skills as a midwife were in high demand, and she realized that there was money to be made for someone with no morals.
They advertised themselves as private, ensuring complete secrecy. You could say, you are “on vacation,” go to Lila’s Sanitarium, have your baby, get the baby adopted, and be on your way.
Young girls, the average age of 17, flocked to Lila, and she renamed her house “Ideal Maternity Home and Sanitarium.” Business was booming, and the house over the years evolved into a huge 54-room, 14-bathroom mansion.
The unwed girls that came to Ideal often were left with a huge bill for their services. Often around $300, when the average wage was less than $10 per week.
So Lila offered the girls that could not pay the option of working off their debt at the home, giving Lila and her husband a nearly endless supply of free labor at the home.
While they were making money off of the delivery and housing of the child, they also charged the mother an additional $20 if the child died. To cover the costs of the “coffin” and for William to officiate the funeral.