A SURROGATE mother fled across the United States to save the child’s life when the couple whose baby she was carrying demanded she have an abortion after discovering the girl would be severely disabled.
Crystal Kelley, 30, learned five months into her pregnancy that the child she was carrying on behalf of another couple might be born with disabilities, including a cleft lip and palate, a cyst in her brain and heart defects.
The intended parents said that they no longer wanted the child – a girl and told Kelley she should have an abortion, saying it was “more humane”. They offered her $10,000 (NZ$12,000) to terminate the pregnancy.
Kelley did not believe in abortion and refused. The couple then said that they would take the child and put her into foster care.
Kelley, who was to be paid US$32,000 for the pregnancy, also opposed this proposal. She decided to move 1100 kilometres from her home in Connecticut to Michigan, one of only a few states in the US where a surrogate mother’s legal right to decide the child’s future would trump those of the parents – and find adoptive parents for the girl.
The child was born on June 25.
“I think I did what was right for her,” Kelley said. “I gave her a chance that no-one else was prepared to give her.
“I am proud I stood up for what I believe was right.”
Kelley, already a mother of two daughters aged 3 and 4, decided to become a surrogate parent in August 2011. She had previously had two miscarriages and said her motivation was to help families who could not conceive.
She was put in touch with a couple and in October 2011 became pregnant using frozen embryos that the couple had stored following in vitro fertilization. But in February last year, when Kelley was 21 weeks’ pregnant, an ultrasound scan showed that the child had a cleft lip and palate, a cyst in the brain, and a heart condition.
Doctors said that while she would survive, there was only a 25 percent chance she would have a “normal life” and she would require several heart operations.
Kelley then received a letter from a doctor on behalf of the intended parents that read: “Given the ultra-sound 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.”
Source Telegraph Group
The Dominion Post 7 March 2012, p. B2