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A Surrogate Pregnancy Gone Awry

A Surrogate Pregnancy Tangles Lives of Four Mothers

Few pregnancies go according to plan, but when a pregnancy involves four separate mothers (legal, egg donor, surrogate carrier, and adoptive) and a baby with severe birth defects, it challenges almost every assumption we make about motherhood and attachment.

For a fee of $22,000, Crystal Kelley, a single mom of two in Connecticut, agreed to be a surrogate for a couple who wanted a fourth child. Although things went well at first, tests revealed that the baby was developing with severe brain and heart problems and that her prospects were poor. Kelley knew she wouldn't be able to take care of the baby herself, but she still refused the couple's anguished request that she have an abortion and the money that accompanied it ($10,000). Read more.

She fled to Michigan to give birth, where state laws made her the baby's legal mother rather than the couple. There, during her last trimester before giving birth to Baby S., Kelley went online and found a home for the baby with an adoptive couple who have experience with disabled children. But as she told CNN, "No matter what anybody told me, I became her mother."


Would you ever agree to be a surrogate?

Join The Conversation
Shirley3919134 Shirley3919134 4 years
I would for a family member but not for a stranger. I would want to know that this child is taken care of and loved.
CorinneSmelker CorinneSmelker 4 years
I have been a carrier for 4 different couples, and delivered five healthy babies. This is a tragic story with no winners. I also run my own surrogate agency and work with contracts all the time. Even though the carrier may agree to a termination and even have it in her contract, no one can force her to carry out the termination at the end of the day. She would be in breach of contract, with all its legal ramifications, and people might judge her harshly for her reversal, but no amount of money can make up for going against your conscience. When I match a carrier with intended parents, this is actually the #1 match point for me. I am not going to match a pro-life carrier with a pro-choice couple. My carriers also undergo a rigorous psychological evaluation and this is one point the psychologist really focuses on to get a true answer. Case in point - one of my carriers said in her profile that she was open to termination under certain circumstances. But when she went for the psychological evaluation last week, it came out that she didn't want to terminate for any reason. When I match her, I have to consider that as my most important point. I cannot risk putting her or the parents in an untenable position.
lgaw lgaw 4 years
Yes! i actually carried a baby for a family member,and it was a great experience. i didnt do it for money . All i wanted in return was to see them hold their child and the joy it brought to their lives. The baby is almost two weeks old. He was a healthy 9lb baby with no problems.
StephanieWebb8067 StephanieWebb8067 4 years
Such a hard peace to read and have a solid opinion on who was right. Tho i do believe straight out that it is wrong to abort a fetus (no matter the circumstance) but who should the parent/s be? well if the woman caring for the baby befor birth does not want the baby i see no point on calling her the mother. Tho its a hard thing to say that the baby does have a legal mother unless they can't stand the idea that she would be aborted .. my heart spins just thinking of that. At first look i guess it seems like the biological parents don't care. but then they fight so hard later on in the pregnancy and after her birth it is clear they care and love her. Just they had a hard heart and so confused with sorrow knowing she would suffer. and then there are the adoptive parents loving child be for they had any other connection to her but threw the carrying woman/mother. And did not give up on wanting to care for her when her biological parents stepped up. I see now why the adopted parents are/would be the best choice for her. She has parents who already know how to care for children with special needs and sees no harm in taking another. and her biological ones do not have to worry about caring for her the way she needs. (and its wonderful they are still around for her too. so sweet)
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