According to the glossy Hollywood gossip mags, a baby via a surrogate mother has brought celebrity news host Giuliana Rancic oodles of happiness. “It’s everything I had hoped for and more,” she says. However, not all experiences are so positive. Separating motherhood from gestation is a recipe for heartache and exploitation. Here are three plucked from recent headlines.
YOUR boyfriend is gay. At 47, Houston woman Cindy Close was desperate to have a child. She asked her (Platonic) friend Marvin McMurrey to cooperate. He supplied the sperm; she found donor eggs and supplied the womb herself. Mr McMurrey said that he wanted to be a father, but at arms-length.
Ms Close gave birth to twins in July and in August Mr McMurrey revealed that he was gay and sued for custody. He claims that Ms Close was just a surrogate, not the biological mother and has no rights over the children. The twins now live with him and his boyfriend Phong Nguyen. Supervised by a camera, Ms Close gets to see the children for two hours a day on weekdays and four hours on Sunday, but she is not allowed to breastfeed them.
The unprecedented case has Texas lawyers scratching their heads. "If Marvin gets his way, the only four people who will have ever walked this earth without a mother would be Adam, Eve and these twins," says Ms Close's lawyer.
YOUR Indian surrogate never signs the release papers. In a case which has just been decided in an English court a gay couple, both public servants, went to India to organise a pregnancy in Hyderabad. Everything went smoothly until the child was born.
The woman – whom they had never seen – signed papers acknowledging receipt of her payment, but not a document relinquishing the child. The men took the baby back to the UK, but found that they could not adopt the child without the mother’s consent. However, the woman could not be found, and in response to a stern letter to the IVF clinic they received only a DHL package containing a single sheet of paper with an “obscene gesture” scrawled on it.
The judge granted parental orders to the couple, noting that "It seems that they and the twins have been badly let down." ~ London Telegraph, Oct 2
YOUR clients don't want the babies. A unnamed Quebec mother of three agreed to work as a surrogate mother for C$35,000 recently. She became pregnant with twins but in her eighth month, the commissioning couple announced that the wife was about to have her own twins (through IVF) and they didn’t want the surrogate’s twins.
Neither woman wants the children, so where will they go? Paid surrogacy is illegal in Canada and in Quebec surrogate contracts are not recognised.
The surrogate has finally found a couple who wants the kids, but she needs to fudge the facts to push an adoption through. She plans to tell the government that they are the result of an extramarital fling and that the adopting father is the biological father. "To all those women thinking about becoming surrogates, pay attention, I am living proof that it could turn into a nightmare," she says.