Surrogate Mother Nearly Dies, Left With 200K in Medical Bills

State   |   Rebecca Taylor   |   Nov 1, 2011   |   12:48PM   |   Washington, DC

It has become more common place that infertile couples are using IVF to create embryos and then hiring surrogate mothers to carry those embryos.  The Catholic Church not only finds IVF unethical, but it also teaches that surrogate motherhood is immoral.
The Church defines a surrogate as a woman who has consented to become pregnant by implantation with an embryo created with IVF or by insemination with sperm from a man that is not her husband “with a pledge to surrender the baby once it is born to the party who commissioned or made the agreement for the pregnancy.”

Surrogacy is immoral because it denies the child the right to be conceived by an act of love between its genetic father and mother and gestated by its genetic mother.  The child is treated like a commodity that the surrogate is paid to gestate and deliver.  The surrogate mother is also treated as a biological commodity, as a place to gestate a child for money.

A recent heartbreaking case of surrogacy has left the surrogate over $200,000 in debt for medical bills.  She nearly died after complications after her c-section.  It seems the parents who hired her do not care since they got what they paid for, twins.  From ABC News:

Carrie Mathews of Windsor, Colo., said she became a surrogate because she just wanted to provide a couple with children.

Despite that simple desire,  Mathews said she nearly died after giving birth to the twins she carried for Theresa and Rudolf Bakos of Austria, and her family now finds itself entangled  in a  legal and financial imbroglio.

Mathews and the Bakoses signed a contract more than 30 pages long, which outlined payment for all possible scenarios during pregnancy. She would get paid $25,000 to carry the child — $2,000 per month, to be placed in an escrow account.

But Mathews’ pregnancy was anything but smooth. After undergoing in vitro fertilization at a clinic in Cyprus (recommended by the National Adoption and Surrogacy Center), she became pregnant with twins. She told the news channel she was “extremely sick” throughout the pregnancy, experienced severe swelling, developed preeclampsia, followed by HELLP syndrome, which causes  low platelets  and elevated liver enzymes.

Even after Mathews delivered the twins back home in Colorado via Ceasarean section, she still experienced physical problems. She was rushed into an emergency operation for internal bleeding only hours after giving birth.

“While I was in the OR, I died and had to be resuscitated,” she told 9News. Mathews spent 20 days in the hospital after delivering the children for the Barkoses.

In the meantime, the Bakoses brought their new babies home to Austria, but  Hilary Neiman, an attorney for the National Adoption and Surrogacy Center, whose website is no longer functional, told 9News that the couple still owed Mathews more than $14,000. Mathews said Neiman could not reach the couple in Austria.

Mathews now owes more than $217,000 in medical expenses that stem from her pregnancy complications.

In surrogacy, both domestic and international, women are treated like cattle.  The lawyer mentioned in the article from the National Adoption and Surrogacy Center, Hilary Neiman, has plead guilty to taking part in a baby-selling ring with surrogacy advocate and lawyer, Theresa Erickson.  These women would lure altruistic surrogates to the Ukraine where they would be implanted with “donor” IVF embryos and brought back to the States where Neiman and Erickson would “sell” the babies at exorbitant prices to infertile couples.  The surrogates were simply pawns in a money and baby-making enterprise.

And this is the legacy of artificially assisted reproduction.  A world where not only the children are treated like commodities, but the women who give them life are as well. Note: Rebecca Taylor is a clinical laboratory specialist in molecular biology, and a practicing pro-life Catholic who writes at the bioethics blog Mary Meets Dolly. She has been writing and speaking about Catholicism and biotechnology for five years and has been interviewed on EWTN radio on topics from stem cell research and cloning to voting pro-life. Taylor has a B.S. in Biochemistry from University of San Francisco with a national certification in clinical Molecular Biology MB (ASCP).