Sperm Donor Sues to Force Surrogate Mother of Triplets to Abort One of the Babies

Bioethics   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jan 7, 2016   |   12:36PM   |   Washington, DC

New details are coming to light about a surrogate mother of triplets who is being pressured by the biological father to abort one of the unborn babies.

The Mercatornet reports that the unnamed Georgia father, referred to as “C.M.”, is suing to force California surrogate Melissa Cook to abort one of the triplets. The 49-year-old postal worker lives with his parents and says he wants only one child, according to the report. The man said he wants Cook, who is about 23-weeks pregnant, to abort one child. Reports vary about whether the man wants to keep the other two children or adopt one out.

The babies were conceived using the father’s sperm and a 20-year-old donor’s eggs, LifeNews previously reported. Cook’s contract with the biological father would pay her $33,000 for the pregnancy, plus $6,000 for each additional child, the report states.

The man’s lawyer told Cook that “her refusal to undergo an abortion would make her liable ‘for large money damages.'”

The report continues:

In the past, so-called “surrogate motherhood” involved women selling their own biological children for money.

The women would conceive through artificial insemination (IVF), for a fee, and then turn their biological children over to whoever had paid for them — often to a male and female couple who could not conceive a child but increasingly, in recent years, to gay men who also want to raise children.

However, technology has advanced to the point that doctors can now implant eggs and sperm in a true surrogate mother — a third woman who is not genetically connected to the child but who carries it in her womb until birth.

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However, one of the dirty secrets of IVF generally and of surrogate motherhood in particular is that doctors often create more embryos than can be safely carried to term. The doctors often destroy in the womb the “extra” embryos, weeding them out like carrots in a garden.

This is the dilemma in Cook’s case.

LifeNews reported earlier this week that Cook also filed a lawsuit to protect her unborn babies. Her lawsuit claims that California’s surrogacy law is unconstitutional, because it violates due-process and equal-protection rights in the U.S. Constitution, according to the New York Post.

Cook, who has three triplets of her own, wants to seek custody of the third triplet who the father wants aborted, according to Mercatornet.

Cook said because of her experience, she does not view surrogacy arrangements as favorably as she once did.

“Children derive a special benefit from their relationship with their mother,” Cook said. “I now think that the basic concept of surrogacy arrangements must be re-examined, scrutinized and reconsidered.”

The publicity surrounding Cook’s story prompted another surrogate mother to come forward and seek help for a very similar situation.

The anonymous Southern California surrogate also is pregnant with triplets, LifeNews reported in November. She said one of the parents of her unborn children is pressuring her to abort at least one of them.

After reading about Cook’s situation in the news, a friend of the anonymous woman contacted the Center for Bioethics and Culture, a watchdog group for surrogacy exploitation, and asked for legal help to save the unborn triplets, the report states.

“This woman was asked to submit to an abortion. She’s asking for legal help,” said Jennifer Lahl, director of the center. “That’s why Melissa Cook’s story was so empowering. When one woman tells her story, it encourages other women to come forward. There’s strength in numbers.”

Since Cook’s story was published, people have volunteered free legal assistance and even adoption of the third triplet, according to the Post. Others are collecting donations to help her and the babies. The Center for Bioethics and Culture also is helping Cook fight for the lives of all of her unborn triplets.