A Texas surrogate mother received a wonderful Christmas present last week when she learned that the baby boy who she carried in her womb will receive the life-saving surgery that he deserves.
WFAA reports the surrogate, who is not named in reports, faced pressure to abort the baby boy after doctors diagnosed him with a congenital heart defect at 16 weeks of pregnancy. The surrogate said the boy’s biological parents refused to pay for her medical costs after she refused to abort their baby.
Lawyers got involved, including the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Texas Attorney General. Then, late last week, news broke that the baby boy was born and his biological parents agreed to allow him to undergo a life-saving surgery.
Speaking to WFAA, the surrogate mom said she felt overjoyed by the news. She praised his parents for making the right decision.
“I want them to feel loved, supported, and commended for their decision to choose life! I want them to know they are in our prayers,” she said.
The surrogate said she decided to try surrogacy after experiencing a difficult, unplanned pregnancy. She said she chose life for her unborn twins as a young, single mom, and today they bring her so much joy.
“I did not consider an abortion even if, at that moment, it would have made things a-lot [sic] easier,” she told the local news. “Instead, at twenty years old and with no idea how I could afford or care for twins, I chose to provide them life. That decision was the best decision I’ve ever made. My children have been my biggest blessings and my greatest treasures.”
She said her situation made her think about couples who do not experience that same joy because of infertility. She decided that surrogacy was a way she could provide hope to those couples.
“I found so much joy in being a mom that I truly ached thinking about people who struggled with infertility,” she said.
The Dallas, Texas-area woman became a surrogate for an out-of-state couple earlier this year. Pregnant with a baby boy, she said she learned at 16 weeks that he was suffering from hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a congenital heart defect.
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What was even more shocking, however, was that the couple wanted her to abort their son.
She told the local news:
“I was completely in shock. I truly didn’t have the slightest idea that would be asked of me. At the doctor’s appointment, during the diagnosis, I was asked, how I expected the parents might respond to this news. Frankly, based on what they had told me previously, about their opposition to abortions, I expected they would want to me to carry to term and treat the child. I expected we were all on the same page. I had no idea how much my life would change just a short 36 hours later.”
Threatened with loss of medical support, the surrogate said she got a lawyer. However, surrogate mothers have few legal rights once they give birth, and she still faced uncertainties. Even though she would give birth to the baby boy, his parents could have chosen to allow him to die, rather than have surgery to correct the heart defect.
“When I asked whether the parents would choose surgery or comfort care (which I had no idea existed and was a possible legal option), I was effectively told to butt out, that treatment for the baby not was my concern,” she said.
The surrogate said she continued to advocate for the unborn baby boy’s life. She said she told his parents how much she cared about their son.
“I searched for more answers, and was never made comfortable that the child would receive the care to which he was entitled,” she continued. “Nothing about the responses I was provided was settling, but I also didn’t know how I could do anything. I felt powerless since I had no rights to this baby once he took his first breath.”
The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office also became involved in the case.
“The District Attorney’s Office, specifically the Juvenile Division, is doing whatever we can, whatever it takes, to save this baby’s life,” first assistant district attorney Michael Snipes said.
On Dec. 21, the surrogate gave birth to the baby boy via cesarean section at Medical City Dallas, according to the report. Much to her relief, the boy’s parents decided to allow him to undergo the surgery he needs to live.
Here’s more from the report:
The Dallas County District Attorney’s office told WFAA Friday the biological parents consented to any medical treatment necessary.
“My client is delighted,” said Karen Turner, attorney for the surrogate. “That’s really all she ever wanted, is for this baby to get the medical treatment.” …
HLHS is a serious defect that can have lifelong complications. But the CDC said a series of three childhood surgeries can drastically improve survival rates. If surgery is not performed, a child likely won’t survive beyond a few weeks.
The surrogate said she hopes her story will spur a change in laws to provide more protections for unborn babies and surrogate mothers.
“My circumstance should allow us to consider what protections and clarity should be provided to the surrogates and how the issue of birth defects or illness in the unborn might require new ways of balancing the relationship(s) between surrogates and parents,” she said.
Surrogacy has become a troubling issue in the United States as well, where there are few regulations to protect unborn babies or mothers. LifeNews has reported several stories of surrogates being pressured to abort the unborn babies who they were carrying.
One of the most well known cases involved California surrogate Melissa Cook who took her case to court after the biological father of the triplets who she was carrying tried to pressure her to abort one or two of them. Cook sued the triplets’ biological father, Chester Moore Jr., after he demanded that she abort one of them and then refused to pay her when she did not. Cook sought custody of the triplets, who were born in February 2016, but she also challenged California’s liberal surrogacy laws.
Michael Caspino, one of Cook’s lawyers, previously explained that her case challenged the huge problems with California’s surrogacy laws.
“The only people with rights under the California statute are the people who write the checks to get the babies,” Caspino said. “Nobody else matters. That is wrong. That needs to be fixed.”
However, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear her case earlier this fall.