Surrogate mum refuses to abort disabled fetus

A routine surrogacy turned dramatic when the surrogate mum moved halfway across the US to save the fetus she was supposed to abort because of its disabilities.

Would you abort your baby if he/she had birth defects?

Most surrogate pregnancies are about giving couples the chance to become parents but what happens when the couple themselves want to terminate a pregnancy they have been hoping for?

According to CNN, this is exactly what happened to Crystal Kelley, the surrogate mother, and the Connecticut couple’s baby she was carrying. Five months into the pregnancy at a routine pre-natal check-up, an ultrasound scan showed that the baby she was carrying would be born with birth defects including a cleft palate, a cyst in her brain and heart problems.

Abortion more humane?
The couple then requested that she terminate the pregnancy, offering $10,000 to her to abort the baby. A letter stating the parents thoughts read, “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.”

Watch Kelley’s interview with CNN

Whose rights?
But Kelley, herself a mother of two, refused and moved over 1,000 km to the state of Michigan where she would have the rights to decide the fate of the baby she was carrying. The state of Michigan is one of the few states in USA where the surrogate mother’s legal right to decide the child’s future would trump those of the parents. Knowing this, once in Michigan, she sought to find adoptive parents for the baby she was carrying.

She finally found a couple who had experience looking after children with disabilities and the baby is now with them.

An ethical conundrum
There is no obvious right or wrong in this case especially with regards to the issue of abortion. Here was a baby with what was possibly serious birth defects that would involve multiple invasive surgeries in her infancy and there was a chance to save her from ever feeling any of that pain. Yet does anyone really have the right to decide who lives or dies? And the question of how much right does the surrogate mother have on the baby is another issue, especially since she wanted to give birth to the child only to give her away.

There is no easy answer nor is there any obvious villain in this equation as all the adults are claiming to act in the baby’s best interests.


 

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