Bioethics News

US surrogates with triplets pressured to abort

Melissa Cook   

Two surrogate mothers who are pregnant with triplets are being pressured by the prospective fathers to abort one of the babies.

California woman Melissa Cook, 47, told her story to the New York Post. She claims that the father, from Georgia hired her for US$33,000 to have a child using his sperm and the eggs of a 20-year-old donor. The IVF doctor implanted three embryos in the hope that one would survive. But all three did.

Ms Cook realised that she would have triplets at 8 or 9 weeks. After 20 weeks, it is nearly impossible to get an abortion in California, so the father is doing everything he can to force the issue. She gave the Post a letter from the man’s lawyer who said that his client  “understands, albeit does not agree, with your decision not to reduce”. He went on to write:

“As you know, his remedies where you refuse to abide by the terms of the agreement, are immense [and] include, but are not limited to, loss of all benefits under the agreement, damages in relation to future care of the children [and] medical costs associated with any extraordinary care the children may need.”

Ms Cook said that she was not sure that she could resist the pressure. “I have to reduce. I’m scared. I don’t want to suffer,” she said.

Another California woman approached Jennifer Lahl, an anti-surrogacy activist, with a similar story.

The story broke as the Governor Cuomo and the New York legislature consider removing a ban on commercial surrogacy.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.