Gay couple wanted surrogate mother with grim cancer diagnosis to abort their baby, demanded ‘death certificate’ if premature baby was born alive: Report

News & Politics

A disturbing report from the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network suggested that a gay couple in California wanted the surrogate mother carrying their child to abort after the woman was given a grim cancer diagnosis.

According to CBC president and founder Jennifer Lahl, the unnamed woman agreed to carry a child for an unidentified gay couple in California. The woman is a married mother of four who had already volunteered to be a surrogate mother once before and had a good experience, so she decided to try and help again.

This time, the experience went horribly wrong, starting when she was about 24 weeks along. At that point, according to the woman’s aunt, she received a “very very bad” breast cancer diagnosis. The cancer had metastasized so aggressively that those treating her advised her to abort the baby because she needed medicine that was not safe for an unborn child.

The woman refused an abortion and actively sought a hospital which would allow her to deliver the baby early so that she could begin treatment for the cancer. However, California law — which refers to surrogate mothers as “gestational carriers” — considers the “intended parents” the child’s parents and states unequivocally that “the surrogate, and the surrogate’s spouse or partner, is not a parent of, and has no parental rights or duties with respect to, the child or children.”

The gay “intended parents” in this case reportedly wanted the surrogate to abort the baby. They did not want the baby to be born early because the baby would likely require intense medical care and may have continued severe medical needs throughout his or her life. They also did not want anyone else adopting the child, even the surrogate herself, because they did not want their “DNA out there” being raised by someone else.

According to the woman’s aunt, the baby would become the “property” of the gay “intended parents” who apparently no longer intended to be the baby’s parents. The aunt also claimed that the gay couple refused to agree to lifesaving care for the child, should the child be born alive, and requested a “death certificate” in that case. Lahl speculated that the men may have wanted a death certificate to prove legally that the surrogacy contract was null and void since the “intended parents” would not be receiving a baby.

“These ‘parents’ are freaking despicable,” the aunt wrote in an email to Lahl, according to a screenshot. “They’d rather watch (or rather they probably won’t be around) their baby die than allow it to be saved as best as possible and given to a family.”

Several prospective adoptive parents had stepped forward, including the surrogate’s aunt, but to no avail. The gay “intended parents” refused to consent.

The surrogate’s family sought help from various agencies, including an attorney, Child Protective Services, and law enforcement, but all claimed there was little that could be done. Deputies with the local sheriff’s office were reportedly “sympathetic” to the family’s crisis but claimed that there was no law that would have allowed them to intervene.

The surrogate ultimately found a hospital willing to induce labor and deliver the baby. The woman underwent a vaginal birth, but sadly, the baby died shortly thereafter. Her current condition and prognosis are unknown, though the aunt stated in an email composed sometime this year, according to a screenshot, that her niece was “literally fighting for her life.”

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