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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

What Would You Have Done?

Posted by on Mar. 5, 2013 at 2:21 AM
  • 59 Replies


Woman paid $22,000 to be a surrogate mother refuses parents' wishes to have an abortion when her ultrasound reveals series of disabilities and flees across the country to save the baby

  • Surrogate mother Crystal Kelley, 29, refuses to have abortion after abnormalities spotted on ultrasound
  • The baby's parents then demand custody of the child but plan to surrender her to the state of Connecticut into foster care
  • So Crystal flees to Michigan where she is legally recognized as the mother
  • Baby now lives with adoptive parents in Michigan but has long-lasting medical problems

By JAMES NYE

The unforeseen consequences of any surrogacy were laid bare when a woman paid $22,000 to have a Connecticut couple's baby fled across the country to save the unborn child's life when they demanded she abort the pregnancy.

Five months into a surrogate pregnancy last year, Crystal Kelley discovered that the child she was carrying had significant abnormalities - beginning a tragic and heartbreaking ordeal for her and the conflicted parents.

While most surrogacies hope to have only happy endings, Crystal, 29, was hit with a series of legal actions that caused a secretive flight to Michigan that ended with the child being born and adopted by neither her nor the intended parents.

Surrogate Crystal Kelley and the parents of the child she was carrying went through an exhaustive legal battle after she refused to abort the baby she was carrying

In August of 2011, Crystal, who has two children of her own fell into financial difficulties and offered her services through an established surrogacy agency to a couple who desperately wanted a fourth child but couldn't have one.

They paid the standard fee of over $20,000 to Crystal and then an embryo the pair had left over from a previous round of in-vitro fertilization was used on October 8th.

Just 10-days later Crystal fell pregnant and so thrilled were the couple that they demanded to be as involved as possible during the next nine months.


The would-be mother phoned daily to offer morning sickness sympathy and gave Crystal and her two daughters Christmas presents and even paid out the monthly surrogate fee early to help her out.

'She said, 'I want you to come to us with anything because you're going to be part of our lives forever,' said Kelley to CNN.

In February though, everything changed when ultrasound tests began to show that the baby was not developing as was hoped.

Crystal Kelley became pregnant in October of 2011 and at first enjoyed a healthy and strong relationship with the parents of the child she was paid $22,000 to bring to term

Crystal Kelley became pregnant in October of 2011 and at first enjoyed a healthy and strong relationship with the parents of the child she was paid $22,000 to bring to term


Disaster struck though in the fifth-month of the pregnancy when a scan revealed the unborn child had significant abnormalities including a cleft lip and palate (pictured)

Doctors suspected that the baby had a cleft lip and palate, a cyst in her brain and serious heart defects. They couldn't even see a stomach or a spleen.

On February 16th, 2012, with the parents at the ultrasound with Crystal, their worst fears were confirmed.

Physicians at Hartford Hospital said the baby would need several surgeries after birth and had only a 25-percent chance of living a normal life.

After this bombshell news, a letter was sent to Crystal's midwife, in which Dr. Elisa Gianferrari, a maternal fetal medicine specialist at Hartford Hospital, and Leslie Ciarleglio, a genetic counselor outlined the parents wishes.

'Given the ultrasound findings, (the parents) feel that the interventions required to manage (the baby's medical problems) are overwhelming for an infant, and that it is a more humane option to consider pregnancy termination,' they wrote according to CNN.

However, Crystal, who is staunchly religious disagreed and said that 'all efforts should be made to 'give the baby a chance'.

For the parents though, who had gone through three previous premature births that left two of their children with medical problems, the abortion was the most humane option.

Crystal refused to have an abortion - setting into motion a series of legal battles which led to her fleeing the state of Connecticut for Michigan


'The (parents) feel strongly that they pursued surrogacy in order to minimize the risk of pain and suffering for their baby,' Gianferrari and Ciarleglio wrote. They 'explained their feelings in detail to Ms. Kelley in hopes of coming to an agreement.'

The disagreement turned sour and developed into an emotional stand-off between the parents and Crystal.

'They said they didn't want to bring a baby into the world only for that child to suffer. ... They said I should try to be God-like and have mercy on the child and let her go,' said Crystal to CNN.

'I told them that they had chosen me to carry and protect this child, and that was exactly what I was going to do,' said Kelley.

'I told them it wasn't their decision to play God.'

Unsure of their legal rights, the parents were stunned to discover that only Crystal could go arrange and go through with an abortion.

But the couple soon let Crystal's agency at Surrogacy International know that if she brought the pregnancy to term they wouldn't be the baby's legal parents - leaving the child to her.

Confused by this, Crystal questioned whether she wanted to become a mother again, especially since the only income she could count on was the surrogacy fee and child support from her daughter's father.

Then, Rita Kron from Surrogacy International took Crystal to lunch and explained to her the realities of bringing up a disabled child and that, incredibly, the parents would pay her $10,000 to have the termination.

But, in a shocking turn of events, Crystal said that she would indeed consider the abortion if the parents paid her $15,000.

Crystal already had two daughters of her own and left for Ann Arbor in Michigan to have the child - which she arranged to give up for adoption in that state

Claiming this was a moment of weakness, Crystal told CNN that she immediately regretted the counter-offer, which was totally refused by the parents.

With the 24-week legal limit for a termination rapidly approaching, the desperate couple hired a lawyer.

'You are obligated to terminate this pregnancy immediately,' wrote Douglas Fishman, an attorney in West Hartford, Connecticut. 'You have squandered precious time.'

He reminded her that she had signed a contract agreeing to 'abortion in case of severe fetus abnormality' - but the contract did not stipulate what this meant.

Fishman said she was in breach of contract and that if she did not abort she would be sued for the money already paid, which was $8,000 and the medical feeds and legal fees to date.

Hiring her own lawyer, Michael DePrimo, an attorney in Hamden, Connecticut, Crystal fought back by sticking to her resolution not to have the abortion.

Immediately, Fishman wrote back to DePrimo saying, 'Ms. Kelley was more than willing to abort this fetus if the dollars were right.'

The twisting and tragic story turned again when the parents changed their minds and said they would now exercise their legal rights to take custody of the child - but after the birth would surrender her to the state of Connecticut for foster care.

After a difficult birth - Baby.S . was born in June and was handed over for adoption after Crystal and the child's parents came to a legal agreement

At this point, DePrimo explained to his client that this was going to happen and that the law was firmly on the parents side.

However, Crystal now decided that she couldn't stand the thought of the baby in foster care.

Running out of options, Crystal was advised that she could go to a state where the birth-mother and not the genetic parents would be considered the legal guardian.

So, on April 11th, in her seventh month of pregnancy, Crystal moved her daughter's to Michigan and only as she was driving away told her attorney to inform the couple of her plans.

'Once I realized that I was going to be the only person really fighting for her, that Mama bear instinct kicked in, and there was no way I was giving up without a fight,' said Kelley to CNN.

Choosing Michigan to have the baby was also a medical decision too - C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan has one of the best pediatric heart programs in the country.

Once firmly established in a small, cheap, sub-let in Ann Arbor, Crystal came to another realization - she could not keep the child, but she would give the child up for adoption in Michigan.

Locating a couple who wanted to take on a special needs child, Crystal prepared to come to term and hand the child over.

Baby S. will still need years of medical attention and operations to attempt to cure the numerous problems she was born with

However, with one month to go, the parents filed an order in Connecticut Superior Court that they wanted to be the legal guardians - but admitted that the wife was not the baby's genetic mother - an anonymous egg donor had been used.

But, as this development was thrashed out in court, the child, a girl, was born on June 25th and weighed six pounds but was not breathing.

Swift medical attention brought her to life and Crystal's name was placed onto the birth certificate.

Three weeks passed until both sides came to an understanding - the father gave up his paternal rights so long as he and his wife could keep in touch with the Michigan adoptive parents.

In the seven months since, the couple have visited the child known as Baby S. and held her in their arms.

'They do care about her well-being. They do care about how she's doing,' the unnamed adoptive mother said to CNN.

But the child's medical problems have become far more serious than the ultrasound back in Connecticut first revealed.

She has a birth defect called holoprosencephaly, where the brain doesn't completely divide into distinct hemispheres. She also has heterotaxy, which means many of her internal organs, such as her liver and stomach, are in the wrong places in her body.

Her head is small, her right ear is misshapen, she has a cleft lip and a cleft palate, and a long list of complex heart defects.

She's already had one open-heart surgery and surgery on her intestines, and over the next year she'll have one or two more cardiac surgeries. 

If the child, named Baby S. for legal reasons does survive, there's a 50 percent chance she won't be able to walk, or talk.

As far as Crystal is concerned though, she did the right thing, even though some people have sent her hate messages through her blog, Surrogate Insanity.

'I can't tell you how many people told me that I was bad, that I was wrong, that I should go have an abortion, that I would be damned to hell,' she said.

'No one else was feeling this pregnancy the way that I was. No one else could feel her kicking and moving around inside,' she said. 'I knew from the beginning that this little girl had an amazing fighting spirit, and whatever challenges were thrown at her, she would go at them with every ounce of spirit that she could possibly have.

'No matter what anybody told me, I became her mother.'

**I purposely left the pictures out, but they are available here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2288237/Woman-paid-22-000-surrogate-mother-refuses-parents-wishes-abortion-ultrasound-reveals-series-disabilities-flees-country-save-baby.html

by on Mar. 5, 2013 at 2:21 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Jers.
by on Mar. 5, 2013 at 2:23 AM
1 mom liked this

One of the many problems I have with this is that she claims to be "staunchly religious" however she signed a contract that stated she would abort if there were severe abnomalities.  

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Mar. 5, 2013 at 2:56 AM
4 moms liked this

 the "mama bear in me kicked in" part made me roll my eyes....of course mama bear was no where to be seen when taking care of the baby was needed.

If she had kept the baby and accepted her roll as mother....I may of had some sort of empathy for her...as it stands.  I dont

unspecified42
by Bronze Member on Mar. 5, 2013 at 3:02 AM
1 mom liked this
A) Rita Kron is a crook
B) this is why there are contracts in place and people need to be honest and trustworthy
C) this woman should never have been a surrogate based on her kid circumstances
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The.Hug.Life
by on Mar. 5, 2013 at 3:20 AM
1 mom liked this

Wow, what an entirely grey area. I don't know how to feel about this. On one hand, the parents should have had some rights; on the other hand, forcing the woman to get an abortion is so wrong. I'm incredibly pro-choice and that choice extends to this case.

I also feel like she did assume responsibility of the child, she found it a home where it will be loved and wanted. What a miserable case--all around.

The.Hug.Life
by on Mar. 5, 2013 at 3:23 AM

The contract should have stipulated what genetic abnormality was required for an abortion. It's very subjective and open to interpretation.

What do you mean "based on her kid circumstances"? Did I miss something?

Quoting unspecified42:

A) Rita Kron is a crook
B) this is why there are contracts in place and people need to be honest and trustworthy
C) this woman should never have been a surrogate based on her kid circumstances


unspecified42
by Bronze Member on Mar. 5, 2013 at 3:37 AM
1 mom liked this
That her only income was child support and surrogacy fees.

Typically, in a good contract, it is specified whose choice it is whether to abort or not. And I really don't see that it could be argued that those defects weren't severe, plus she said shed abort..,if they gave her more money.

Quoting The.Hug.Life:

The contract should have stipulated what genetic abnormality was required for an abortion. It's very subjective and open to interpretation.

What do you mean "based on her kid circumstances"? Did I miss something?

Quoting unspecified42:

A) Rita Kron is a crook

B) this is why there are contracts in place and people need to be honest and trustworthy

C) this woman should never have been a surrogate based on her kid circumstances




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Debmomto2girls
by Platinum Member on Mar. 5, 2013 at 5:08 AM
1 mom liked this
She is full of crao. Religious? Only up
To $15,000.
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Donna6503
by Platinum Member on Mar. 5, 2013 at 5:37 AM
I don't believe a contract that calls for an abortion could be enforce by any court or government
romalove
by Roma on Mar. 5, 2013 at 6:15 AM
1 mom liked this

I am against surrogacy for pay.

I know I'm in the minority.

Chelsey191
by Member on Mar. 5, 2013 at 6:30 AM
1 mom liked this
What a load of crap. I wish the couple had sued the pants off her. She never should have agreed to terminate for serious issues in the beginning. She just screwed up multiple lives because she was so blind with greed. This story disgusts me.
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