Surrogate Pressured to Abort Baby

petri dishCommentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

A surrogate mother who discovered she is pregnant with triplets is now being threatened by the father of the babies that he will ruin her financially if she does not abort one of the babies.

The New York Post is reporting on the story of Melissa Cook who was hired by a Georgia man to have his child via in-vitro fertilization using his sperm and the eggs of a 20 year-old donor. He agreed to pay her $33,000 for the baby.

But things started to go very wrong when she discovered at eight or nine weeks of the pregnancy that all three of the implanted embryos resulted in a thriving baby. The father almost immediately began to raise concerns about the possibility of having triplets. As time went on, his concerns became increasingly threatening.

Cook, 47, who is a mother of four — including her own set of triplets — does not want to comply.

“They are human beings. I bonded with these kids. This is just not right,” Cook told the Post.

She is now receiving threatening letters from the man’s lawyer.

The dad “understands, albeit does not agree, with your decision not to reduce,” his lawyer, Robert Warmsley, wrote in a Friday letter to Cook, who has never met the father.

“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,” the lawyer warned.

She received another letter from Warmsley this week urging her to schedule a “selection reduction” of one of the babies by the end of the day.

She wrote an emotional letter to the father asking why, if he only wanted two babies, was she implanted with three embryos?

As she is no doubt painfully aware, so-called “excess” fetuses are implanted in women with the hopes that at least one will “take”. When it does, the “extras” are routinely aborted. Fertility clinics try to sanitize the practice by calling the procedure “selective reduction” but everyone knows what it is – abortion.

Time is running out, however. Cook lives in the state of California where fetuses cannot be aborted once they become “viable” – which is around 20 weeks. She’s already 17 weeks pregnant.

As of this writing, Cook is wavering in her decision to keep all three babies.

“I have to reduce. I’m scared. I don’t want to suffer,” she said.

The best interests of the child should always be paramount in a parents’ mind, but in the unnatural world of assisted reproduction, when human embryos are conceived in petri dishes and women hire out their wombs for childbearing, this is rarely the case. And it too often leads to the kind of twisted and tragic scenario that is happening here.

This is why the Church calls surrogacy gravely immoral due to the way it entails the dissociation of husband and wife by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (Catechism No. 2376).

And, most importantly, because these techniques “infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage.”

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