The GEM Debate:
Is It Ever Okay For A Surrogate To Refuse THIS?
Wow, talk about your parenting paradox.
An unnamed couple asked Crystal Kelley to carry their child. Tests later revealed the five-month-old fetus was missing a stomach, spleen and had a cyst on its brain; and that’s not even the complete list of medical issues. Doctors said the baby would have a 25 percent chance at a normal life. Armed with this information the biological parents wanted to terminate the pregnancy, but Kelley refused.
Of course, you have the pro-choice side of this debate. I’m not really going to touch that, but feel free to discuss in comments. My question, having given some thought to being a surrogate myself, is should biological parents be more cognizant of pairing up with someone who shares their beliefs on abortion or emergency procedures before any contracts are signed? If this couple had had an agreement pertaining to abortion prior to implantation, this probably wouldn’t have made the news. Their like-minded surrogate would have understood the complications for the baby and terminated the pregnancy.
The couple also has other children with health issues so they should have been prepared for medical complications even though they may have hoped things would be different this time.
Surrogates are doing something pretty special for a family, but I feel they need to be sensitive to all that can happen in a pregnancy and be able to follow the biological parents’ wishes on terminating for medical reasons just as they would if something were to go wrong in the delivery room.
Kelley ultimately moved to a state where surrogacy contracts aren’t honored and gave birth. Unable to care for the baby, she gave it up for adoption. Now the poor biological parents have a child out there with severe problems that they may or may not be able to contact.
So here are the questions: Did Kelley do the right thing? Should factors like abortion and the health of a baby be factored in in surrogacy contracts? Does this open a whole can or worms with biological parents being able to demand abortions of their surrogates whether medically necessary?
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Ella Rucker is the mother of one of the smartest, funniest two-year-olds she’s ever met. She is currently assistant to the head GEM which means hats-a-plenty including writing, editing, and producing for Good Enough Mother. An Ohio native implanted in NYC for the last 13 years, Ella has achieved one of her many dreams by writing. Her musings (she’s amused they’d be called “musings”) can be found at other places on the web so make sure you follow her on twitter @ellalaverne for all the information.