We were appalled to read today's CNN article out of Connecticut, where a surrogate says she was offered $10,000 to abort a baby with multiple, complex abnormalities. Despite the parents' wishes to end the pregnancy, she refused and - after countering that she would terminate for $15,000 instead - traveled to Michigan to deliver the baby in a state that would ultimately supercede the parents' wishes and allow the baby to be adopted.
It is unfortunate that this is a story in the media because an experienced, ethical agency would never have allowed it to happen. It's an extreme outlier in the field of gestational surrogacy and certainly not reflective of the multitude of careful, thoughtful and cautious cases unfolding every year. It is the result unethical practices and poor screening. It is the result of an agency that does not respect the best interest of the intended parents or surrogate.
The surrogate claims that the subject of termination never came up, but she assumed the parents were on the same page. There can be no “assumptions” in a surrogacy arrangement, and it is the agency’s role to thoroughly address and discuss such pertinent issues. While termination is an uncomfortable topic, it gives a voice to the beliefs of both parties and ultimately prevents scenarios such as this.
It is just one of many aspects that must be discussed prior to transfer, and an experienced agency is adept at addressing them. Aside from the obvious fact that both parties should have an attorney, issues like psychological screening, prenatal testing, and birth plan/post-birth relationships must be discussed at the very beginning. These complicated issues must be thoroughly understood and respected in order for a match to move forward. Terminating a desperately wanted pregnancy is not a decision that anyone wants to make, but all parties need to be in agreement. And many surrogates leave the call up to the intended parents.
“It’s a tough situation, but in the end she made bad choices,” said Danielle, an active surrogate. “She didn’t have any right to do what she did. It wasn’t her call to make.”
Michelle, another surrogate, noted, “What’s sad is that stories like this put surrogacy in a bad light. I wish the media would take a look at the literally thousands of great matches.”
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based egg donation and surrogacy agency.