According to the New York Post, “A surrogate mom who refuses to abort one of the triplets she’s carrying because the father only wants two of the kids filed a lawsuit Monday claiming that California’s surrogacy law is unconstitutional.” The headline of the story is “Surrogate carrying triplets sues to stop forced abortion”.
Gestational Surrogacy Case In California Raising Unwarranted Fears
Certainly the title is gripping, intentionally, to draw the reader into the story and to invoke a sense of outrage. However, the article does not purport to know the actual facts of the case and certainly does not report the unanswered questions that intended parents, carriers, medical professionals and attorneys in this field want presented. There are thousands of gestational carriers who deliver in the United States each year. Most of these cases result in healthy babies that are delivered to their intended parents without legal incident. Cases such as this one as reported in the Post are rare.
What Can We Learn From This Case?
So what can we learn from the case as reported? First, if you are interested in being a gestational carrier or a parent via gestational surrogacy, rest assured this case is not the norm. Second, do your homework. Ask your prospective carrier her views on abortion, reduction, and other important medical situations. Make sure professionals in the field are utilized– social workers, lawyers, doctors. Don’t skimp on the professional services. This is a child, your child and doing your best to have this be a good fit is vital. You must have a meeting of the minds with your carrier and make sure this meeting of the minds is in writing as well. If you don’t want three babies, don’t put in three embryos. Sure, embryos can split but you are much less likely to get triplets if you only put in one or two embryos.
Lastly, do be aware of the legal issues. Make sure you are in a state with good laws. In California, if the law is followed, the intended parents in a gestational surrogacy arrangement are the parents. However, this does not mean you can force a woman to have an abortion. This is a risk in every gestational surrogacy arrangement. People can change their minds. If someone says they will have an abortion and then decides not to have the abortion/reduction, one cannot force them to have the abortion. This is why proper counseling is necessary every step of the way. My office has completed thousands of gestational arrangements and I have never had this problem. Remember, in life, nothing is guaranteed. But with proper planning, gestational surrogacy is a wonderful gift for those who need it to build their families.