Sunday, February 28, 2016

California triplets at center of thorny surrogacy case, pro-life debate

Fox News (Feb. 24, 2016): California triplets at center of thorny surrogacy case, pro-life debate, by Eric Shawn:

Last week, Melissa Cook, a 47 year old, California gestational surrogate delivered triplets several weeks early.  Although gestational surrogates have no parental rights under California law, Cook is involved in a custody dispute with C.M., the 50 year old single father who hired her.   Cook and C.M. were matched through a surrogacy broker and never communicated except by email (C.M. is deaf). Three male embryos were implanted, and all of them survived. Concerned about his ability to support three children and the impact of a high risk pregnancy, C.M. requested that Cook abort one the fetuses.  Cook refused.

In an recent article in Slate (Feb. 15, 2016), Is a Surrogate a Mother?  Michelle Goldberg provides an overview of the case and describes current laws and controversies regarding surrogacy.  Here is an excerpt from the article:


Cook and C.M. are still strangers to each other, but they are locked in a legal battle over both the future of the children she’s going to bear and the institution of surrogacy itself. Because she’s come under pressure to abort one of the fetuses, Cook’s case has garnered some conservative media attention. This story, however, is about much more than the abortion wars. It illustrates some of the thorniest issues plaguing the fertility industry: the creation of high-risk multiple pregnancies, the lack of screening of intended parents, the financial vulnerability of surrogates, and the almost complete lack of regulation around surrogacy in many states.

The United States is one of the few developed countries where commercial, or paid, surrogacy is allowed—it is illegal in Canada and most of Europe. In the U.S., it’s governed by a patchwork of contradictory state laws. Eight states expressly authorize it. Four states—New York, New Jersey, Washington, and Michigan—as well as the District of Columbia prohibit it. In the remaining states, there’s either no law at all on commercial surrogacy or it is allowed with restrictions.

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