The story of the surrogate offered $10,000 to have an abortion by the couple who were paying her to carry their pregnancy has been making the rounds. If you don’t know the details, let me catch you up…
- Woman hired to be a surrogate for the fee of $22,000
- Couple who are paying have 3 children, but had a lot of pregnancy complications. Two children spend months in the hospital due to prematurity complications.
- The embryo is conceived from a donor egg and the husband’s sperm.
- At the anatomy ultrasound scan severe anomalies (birth defects) are detected. Further testing indicates severe birth defects including cardiac. Chance of neurologically intact survival low (baby has holoprosencephaly, a very serious and unfortunate birth defect of the brain).
- The couple paying the surrogate wants an abortion. They offer $10,000.
- The surrogate says no, hesitates and counters with $15,000, but then says no.
- Decides to have the baby and make arrangements for adoption, care afterwards etc.
Highly complicated emotionally and legally to say the least. Surrogacy laws apparently are different state to state and adding donor egg into the mix makes it even harder. Honestly, I can see all sides of this story.
I can understand wanting another baby, but not trusting your body to be pregnant again after having two children who spent months in the NICU (boy can I understand that one).
I can understand not wanting to have a baby with severe birth defects. That is choice.
I can understand offering to pay the surrogate for the termination. A 2nd trimester termination is a surgical procedure and just as she would be compensated for a term pregnancy (which has risks), so she should be compensated for a termination.
I can understand the surrogate countering and asking for more money. Surrogacy is a business.
Parents who opt for surrogacy must discuss abortion (among other things) with their surrogate. Choice is choice and a surrogate isn’t a slave, so no one can make her do anything. What if she’s breech and doesn’t want a c-section? What if she had a previous c-section, but really wants a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). What if the fetus has severe birth defects and the surrogate doesn’t want an abortion? These things need to be hammered out before and even then, with a like-minded surrogate and an agreement in hand, prospective parents will still never be in total control. They can’t be, because it’s not their body. That’s one of the risks of surrogacy. That is choice. A woman decides what happens to her own body. The news stories don’t tell us if abortion was discussed beforehand.
What I don’t understand is why the surrogate went public? What is to gain by hashing this wrenching, personal drama through the reality news cycle? Especially as the family who paid her to be a surrogate have stayed quiet. Does the surrogate want accolades for going through with the pregnancy? Money for herself? Another surrogacy contract? A book deal? Attention for her blog? Maybe she was goaded by a reporter looking for an amazing headline? Or perhaps this is an attempt to raise awareness of the perils of surrogacy (a worthy goal)? Perhaps she wants to raise money for the baby as the medical expenses will be horrific?
It may be all of these or none of the above. Although, reading through her blog I can’t help but think that advancing her pro-life agenda is part of it (she writes, “anyone who knows me knows that I am pro-life”), but ironically for me the crux of this story is choice.
Choice means that no woman is forced to carry a baby to term or forced to have abortion.
Choice is the ability to be on contraception or not.
And then there is the choice to hire a surrogate or not and the choice to be a surrogate or not.
This surrogate was lucky she had choices. Not all women do.