Crystal Kelley is an unemployed single mom who became a surrogate mother. One to help another family and two she needed the income. She became a surrogate mother to intended parents in Hartford, Connecticut and around week 21 is where this surrogacy story turns into a nightmare.

Test results showed that the baby had a cleft lip and palette, a brain cyst and some heart issues. The intended parents not wanting the child to suffer wanted to terminate the pregnancy but Kelley refused. She even refused the $10,000 the couple offered only to counter later that she would terminate the pregnancy for $15,000. Later, Kelley moved to Michigan where surrogacy agreements are not recognized and became the baby’s legal mother.

Kelley found a family that would adopt the baby with its many health issues.

For the record, I do not in any way condone Ms. Kelley’s actions. According to her contract, she agreed to “abortion in case of severe fetus abnormality.” She was wrong to breech that contract.

In my meetings with surrogate mothers and intended parents, they hate it when I bring up this issue. It’s uncomfortable. It makes all uneasy but it’s an issue that has to be made clear. This incident is also why we screen surrogate mothers as extensively as we do.

This story also confirmed my belief that surrogacy legislation should be consistent from state-to-state.
Both families couldn’t possibly have imagined the turn of events that occurred. From what we understand, the intended parents are in contact with the adoptive parents and their baby who was born with even more complications than first stated by doctors.

Surrogate mothers and intended parents, please use surrogacy agencies that require you answer the difficult questions like what happens if something is wrong the fetus. Know how you all will handle a situation like the story above.

At Shared Conception, we make sure the hard questions are asked, answered and understood by both surrogate mothers and intended parents.