Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 6
This is one of the most complex and compelling stories of surrogacy and the right to choose that I've read. I am pretty sure I can't do the story justice in snippets and it should be read on its own.

A couple of key points:

Crystal Kelley is a woman who wants to be a surrogate because she herself has experienced fertility problems. She has children of her own. She also needs the money surrogacy would offer.

She agrees to be a surrogate for a family who has three children and very much wants a fourth.

However, during the pregnancy, something goes wrong:

"Given the ultrasound findings, (the parents) feel that the interventions required to manage (the baby's medical problems) are overwhelming for an infant, and that it is a more humane option to consider pregnancy termination," they wrote.

Kelley disagreed.

"Ms. Kelley feels that all efforts should be made to 'give the baby a chance' and seems adamantly opposed to termination," they wrote.

The letter describes how the parents tried to convince Kelley to change her mind. Their three children were born prematurely, and two of them had to spend months in the hospital and still had medical problems. They wanted something better for this child.

Legal action ensues, a lot of it. Worth reading because it really emphasizes the patchwork of laws in this country and how they vary from state to state on all kinds of reproductive issues.

Over the years, states have developed different laws about surrogacy. Some, like Connecticut, say the genetic parents -- the ones who supplied the sperm and the egg -- are the baby's legal parents. Other states don't recognize surrogacy contracts, and so the baby legally belongs to the woman who's carrying the baby.

On April 11, in her seventh month of pregnancy, Kelley and her daughters left for one of those states -- Michigan. While she was gassing up her car to leave, her lawyer informed the parents' lawyer about her plans.

To add additional wrinkles, it turns out the parents actually ended up using donor eggs for the fetus that was implanted, so the biological mother is not, in fact, the biological mother.

The baby was brought to term and born, and adopted by another couple that Kelley got in touch with who were willing to adopt a child with special needs. If the baby survives, there is a 50% chance that she will not be able to walk, talk or use her hands normally.

The article doesn't gloss over the fact that this is an intensely complicated situation:

Just as there are two ways to look at Baby S., there are two ways to look at Crystal Kelley, the woman who carried her.

In one view, she's a saint who fought at great personal sacrifice for an unborn child whose own parents did not want her to live. In another view, she recklessly absconded with someone else's child and brought into the world a baby who faces serious medical challenges when that wasn't her decision to make.

I just read the article and I don't know if I've absorbed the implications yet. I need to think it through. I am a staunch and absolute defender of the right to choose, and the way that this case evolved stuns me on many levels.

It's clear to me that there are so many other aspects to consider when legislating this issue, way beyond the right to choose. And that the state-by-state approach to this, as it is for so many other issues, is going to cause a lot of additional complexities.


Print the post  


When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.