Two recent cases of parents wanting their surrogate mother to have an abortion when tests revealed the baby had some sort of disability have received international attention in recent weeks. Now, yet another case has cropped up.
As LifeNews has reported, after the worldwide storm over baby Gammy, a child with Down Syndrome whose parents abandoned him with the surrogate mother after he and his twin sister were born, another case of baby abandonment came up recently.
In that situation, another surrogate mother of twin babies got word from the babies’ parents that they would abandon one of the children because of a disability. The baby was born with Congential Myotonic Dystrophy and rejected by the child’s parents. The birth mother is now raising the child as her own after the callous reaction.
Now, in this newest case, a lesbian couple, Keston and Andrea Ott-Dahl, have related their own story of how they were asked to have an abortion. Andrea agreed to become a surrogate for friends, another lesbian couple who were using sperm from a male friend to make a baby. However when tests showed that the baby had Down syndrome, the parents, who are Silicon Valley executives, asked Andrea to have an abortion.
Andrea had already had one abortion and was reluctant to have another after having a bad experience the first time. In the interview, Andrea describes the day when she and Keston decided to keep the baby and raise the child as their own with their other two children as “the happiest day of my life.”
After the decision, the lesbian couple tried to force Andrea to have an abortion, citing an abortion clause in the surrogacy contract. Ultimately, little Delaney was born and she is now one year old. Here’s more on what happened:
“I had no reservations about it,” Andrea, 32, told Yahoo Health, “because I’d already had two kids, and we were looking forward to the day when we’d have less responsibility. I just saw our friends who wanted this dream so badly, and I thought it would be easy for me.” Keston added, “We thought we were doing something wonderful.”
What wound up happening was unexpectedly heart-wrenching for everyone: A routine fetal exam revealed that the baby Andrea was carrying had Down syndrome, and doctors said the baby would most likely die due to a birth defect called cystic hygroma. The intended moms requested that Andrea abort the fetus. It was a scenario that had been discussed ahead of time, and it was even included in the legal contract drawn up between both parties. “We had said we’d terminate at their request for medical reasons,” Keston said. “But nobody ever thought we’d be in this situation.”
At first, Keston said, “I’m not proud of this, but I agreed. I was terrified of people [with Down syndrome], repulsed, and I sympathized with them for backing out.” Andrea, meanwhile, said that she dreaded terminating the pregnancy, because she’d had an abortion years before and it “weighed heavily” on her. Still, she would have gone along with the agreement if everyone had been on the same page. But when Keston told her she could not condone the abortion, Andrea said it was “the happiest day of my life” when they decided together that they would keep and raise the baby as their own.
After their baby girl, Delaney, was born in July 2013, it was discovered that she did not have cystic hygroma but did have Down Syndrome. Andrea and Keston are no longer friends with the women Andrea had intended to surrogate for, and the couple has never met Delaney, though Keston and Andrea both said they understand and have no ill will toward them. Still, getting through the initial disagreement and subsequent fallout was difficult.
Early conflict aside, Delaney, who has undergone surgery to repair a hole in her heart, is now thriving. She has a devoted following on the Facebook page her moms have created to track her progress, and Keston has written a memoir about their experience called “Delaney Skye” (currently seeking a publisher through her agent). The couple has also set up the Delaney Ott-Dahl Foundation, to help spread awareness about prenatal testing and the high quality of life the family says children with Down syndrome can have today.
“I had a new clarity about the world around me and saw a new side to discrimination—especially my own,” said Keston about their journey, adding that their “little fighter” has taught their other kids “humanity and pride.”