Continuing with what seems like little run of personal stories, I wanted to talk about this recent photo essay. You can find the photos here, too, though the text is different. And, as is noted, the surrogate involved has her own blog. Anyway, I think this fits nicely with a not-too-long ago post about another personal surrogacy story.
Kristen Broome is the mother of a two-year-old. Her husband is in the military and was in Afghanistan during the time this takes place. She learned that her second cousin, Jamie Pursley, had had a miscarriage and could no longer carry a pregnancy to term. Kristen offered to be a surrogate for Jamie and Jamie’s husband, Jacob. Continue reading
My classes ended today and I’m hoping to turn over a new leaf. That would mean (among other things) getting more posts up and keeping up with comments. There’s so much piled up on my desk, though, it’s hard to know where to start. On the theory that it is more important to just start, though, I choose this article, which someone sent to me last week.
This was published in The Guardian. It is just what the title suggests–a diary (brief) of a woman who served as a surrogate. She was what I would call an altruistic surrogate. What I mean by that is that money played no part in her decision. She offered herself as a surrogate because her brother and sister-in-law were desperate to have a child and had spent a great deal of time, toil and treasure trying to do so. Continue reading
There’s a surrogacy story I’ve been meaning to get to. Here’s one version. It’s long and detailed, but worth taking the time to read. It’s a painful story of a surrogacy arrangement that went very far off the tracks.
Crystal Kelley agreed to be a surrogate. It looks to me like she worked with an agency called Surrogacy International–more about the agency in a moment. The agency paired her with a couple that already had three kids but also had a couple of frozen embryos leftover.
Kelley became pregnant with one of the frozen embryos but the fetus did not develop normally. Continue reading
There are a couple of brief news stories I’m going to post just to keep things up to date. They may warrant further discussion but I’m not able to offer any terrific insights just at the moment. So this is mostly just reportage.
The Irish Times has coverage of a hearing that is apparently on-going before the Irish High Court. A couple used their own genetic material to create and embryo. The embryo was transferred to the uterus of the sister of the woman in the couple. The sister gave birth to the child. All of this was done with the clear and shared intention that the child would be raised by the couple–described in the article (and I think in court) as the commissioning couple.
Apparently everything has gone fine as far as the people involved. (I mean, everyone is in agreement–no disputes there.) Continue reading
I’ve been thinking about the desire for control and how it fits in with the topics here–perhaps most particularly with ART, but really much more generally. It’s a little unformed, but it might start some interesting discussion.
In my experience of parenting, the desire for control is omnipresent. I suppose I mean control over a child’s life–which is not exactly the same as control over the child. To varying degrees I’ve wanted to pick a child’s teachers and/or friends, direct them to certain activities, inspire them to choose certain types of interests over others, and so on. I still vividly recall how in the first weeks of my son’s life I wanted nothing more than to be able to get him to sleep when I though he should. And one of the most astonishing lessons for me was that you cannot make a child sleep–all you can do is arrange the conditions in the room. I think this is probably a lesson all parents have to learn–and perhaps it’s really just a variation on “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.”
In sum, while I may be atypical, or perhaps at an extreme of a spectrum, I think most parents want to have control over their child’s lives–if only so we can make them safe and healthy and happy. Continue reading
I have been thinking about this story from yesterday’s NYT. (I think it was yesterday as it marked “Sunday Review” but the date on it is November 3. In any event, I only saw the on-line version.) I found it both sad and disturbing and I assume my reaction was not unlike that of many other people.
The essay, by Susan Straight, portrays the life of C, a neighbor of Straight’s. C is something like a professional surrogate. She’s been pregnant for other couples three times. She has been paid a total of $115,000. While that is doubtless a lot of money, the day to day circumstances of her last pregnancy weren’t pretty and nothing in this story would make you want to rush out and be a surrogate. Indeed, I think it is hard to finish the essay without a feeling that something is wrong with this picture.
And what is it that is wrong? Continue reading
There are so many different threads running through the conversations in my last few posts. It’s hard for me to keep track of it all. I just thought I’d try to write something short to isolate some questions about gender and legal parentage. I want to make a few observations even though the evening grows late and I’m probably not thinking all that clearly.
First, it seems to me that if you take genetic relationship as being the criteria for assigning legal parentage, then it is easy to figure what to do about surrogacy. Gestational surrogacy with the genetic material of the intended parents is unproblematic. Continue reading
Although surrogacy is not exactly rare, it also isn’t all that common. And yet it’s often covered in the news. And when it comes up here (as it has in the last couple of posts) it always spurs discussion.
I think it is because it raises so many issues and forces us to unpack so many assumptions. It crystallizes a bunch of questions about motherhood that I wrote about not so long ago. And it makes us think hard about gender/sex and sameness/difference. And really, of course, the problem is pregnancy and what we do with it.
Here’s one way to think about this. Under current law in NJ men and woman are treated differently with regard to legal parentage when surrogacy is used. Continue reading
There’s a new surrogacy case from NJ. To be really precise, there are two opinions from the New Jersey Supreme Court which deadlocked 3-3. Since neither view garnered a majority of the votes the lower courts decision is affirmed. If you don’t want to read the actual opinions, there’s decent coverage of the story in the New York Times. You can see this as expanding the discussion from UK law discussed in the last post. I think there’s been mention the NJ case in the comments from the last post, but I haven’t actually had time to really look and it’s worth raising to the status of a full post anyway.
Fairly simple facts: TJS and ALS are husband and wife. ALS could neither produce eggs nor carry a pregnancy to term. Using sperm from TJS and an egg from an anonymous provider, TJS and ALS had an embryo created. The embryo was then transferred into the uterus of AF who agreed to act as a surrogate and who eventually gave birth to a healthy child. She subsequently surrendered any parental rights she might have. Continue reading
Surrogacy is a topic that comes up here with some regularity. It’s not hard to see why, as it poses some fairly obvious legal and moral challenges. As I’ve noted before the UK has an interesting and unusual approach to surrogacy and this is the subject of a fine little essay I came across today. The author is Natalie Gamble, a UK lawyer who is both knowledgable and experienced.
As Gamble notes, in the UK the woman who gives birth is always the legal mother of the child. This means, as Gamble’s title notes, that the surrogate has an absolute right to change her mind.
Remarkably, this is true whether the surrogate is genetically related to the child or not. Continue reading