A surrogate who refused to have an abortion after doctors determined the child she was carrying suffered from a heart defect gave birth to a baby boy last Thursday. In an interview with WFAA, the woman, who has asked to remain anonymous, said she is “elated” the infant will receive the live-saving treatment he needs.
As the Washington Times reported, the baby’s biological parents demanded an abortion after the baby was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) at 16 weeks’ gestation. Karen Turner, an attorney for the surrogate told WFAA that Texas law gives the surrogate the right to make all healthcare decision for the unborn child during pregnancy, but, in this case, the fact that the child’s biological parents lived out of state complicated matters.
Initially, it appeared the parents would only opt to provide comfort care—not treatment—once the child was born, but the Dallas County District Attorney’s office confirmed that the biological parents ultimately consented to all necessary medical treatment.
The surrogate told WFAA she was “completely in shock” when the parents demanded she abort the baby because of pro-life sentiments they had previously shared with her.
“I truly didn’t have the slightest idea that would be asked of me,” she said. “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.”
According to the Washington Times, infants diagnosed with HLHS can have lifelong complications, but a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the chance of survival drastically improves with a series of three childhood surgeries. Without surgery, children diagnosed with HLHS will likely not survive beyond a few weeks.
The surrogate told WFAA that while she understood why the parents may have been nervous about bringing a child with a life-threatening medical condition into the world, she never considered abortion an option.
“This was, of course, a difficult decision, especially because he’s not my baby. I understood how scared the biological parents must have been. I remembered how scared and confused I was when I got pregnant with my own twins. I was twenty years old… and was frightened,” she explained. “I did not consider an abortion even if, at that moment, it would have made things a lot easier… That decision was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Ultimately, the surrogate remains grateful for the unfailing support of her doctors throughout the pregnancy and continues to “break down in joy” when she thinks of the baby’s “precious” future. She also hopes that, in telling her story, states will reconsider their surrogacy laws and the public will be more informed about the rights of all those involved.
“This is a great opportunity to change surrogacy laws, the legalities regarding comfort care and the public awareness and support for surrogacy,” she said. “This is, also, the most perfect time to choose love instead of hate. The parents are real people who are faced with their son having to undergo a major surgery. 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.”