Idaho surrogate mother dies from pregnancy complications

An Idaho surrogate mother who was gestating twins for a Spanish couple has died of pregnancy-related complications. The news hardly surfaced in the media.

The woman, named Brooke, died only a few days before her 35th birthday and before she was due for a Caesarean to deliver the children. The twins survived briefly on life support. Apparently she had been a mother to three surrogate children before.

This is the first reported death of an American surrogate, but it may not be the first, according to  Mirah Riben, writing in the Huffington Post. “There have been a "few" in the past fifteen years …  that likely went unreported because they all occurred earlier in the pregnancy and because they occurred prior to the proliferation of social media.”

Idaho has become a hotspot for American surrogacy because of its permissive legislation and lower costs. “Parents from all over the world are coming to the Gem State to have children,” reported a local TV station a couple of years ago. One agency reported that couples were coming from Australia, Canada, Spain, England, and Germany.

“American women are being paid to put themselves at significant physical risk every day in this country to produce babies for others,” said Jennifer Lahl, of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. “These mostly low income women are injected with powerful hormones and other drugs to maximize chances of pregnancy, virtually without government oversight. Women didn’t get this far to be treated like breeding animals.”

Ms Lahl says that the already booming American baby-farming business is exploding following the legalisation of same-sex marriage, as gay couples look to have families. And celebrities and wealthy American women are increasingly using surrogates to carry their own children, not by necessity but for vanity — to avoid the body changes that come with pregnancy.

MORE ON THESE TOPICS | risks of surrogacy, surrogacy, United States

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