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  • Surrogate Parents are Real Parents, So Act Like It!

    Dawn Davenport

    43
    Sherri Shepherd denies her unborn child

    Should you be able to deny parenthood if the child is conceived through donor egg and born by a gestational surrogate?

    When you transfer an embryo into a surrogate and it implants and starts to grow into a baby, you are a parent, damn it! It doesn’t matter whether the egg came from your body or the sperm from your spouse’s body. You are a parent… maybe not legally (depending on your state), but certainly morally.

    I am sick and tired of hearing about Sherri Shepherd, soon to be ex-cohost of The View and her soon to be ex-husband Lamar Sally, and I am even more sick and tired of hearing about their divorce. Whether they live in wedded bliss or go their blissful separate ways is none of my business and certainly none of my interest, but I sure as heck care that they are undermining the legitimacy of parenting via surrogacy!

    What We “Know”

    Truthfully, we don’t know much. When your best online sources are TMZ, the New York Post, and Jezebel, you know your facts are less than solid. Be that as it may, here’s what the media is reporting.

    Shepherd and Sally were married in 2011. They signed a prenuptial agreement that specified, among other things, that Sally would get a single lump sum payment of $60,000 if they divorced within five years, and Shepherd would get full custody of any children.

    Not surprisingly given Shepherd’s age, they were not able to get pregnant without fertility treatment. When IVF using her eggs was unsuccessful, they turned to surrogacy using donor egg and Sally’s sperm. They are expecting their first child, a son, later this month.

    Sally filed for divorce in California, a state that recognizes and enforces surrogacy agreements, and may recognize Shepherd as a parent even though she has no genetic connection to the child. Shepherd later filed for divorce in New Jersey, the state where they lived together and a state that does not recognize, and thus may not enforce a surrogacy agreement or recognize Shepherd as the parent.

    Sally requested full physical and legal custody of the child in his divorce filings. Presumably if he were granted custody and if the court upheld the surrogacy agreement thus upholding Shepherd’s role as mother, he could receive child support.

    It is being widely reported, which, I might add, doesn’t make it true, that Shepherd does not want to be legally found to be the child’s mother since she has no genetic connection to the child. She supposedly believes that Sally planned this baby so that when/if they divorced he would be able to get child support, which will be a great deal more money than the $60,000 lump sum payment required by the pre-nup.

    I don’t know whether to sigh deeply or scream loudly.

    Parenthood via Surrogacy is Still Parenthood

    Once you decide to transfer the embryo to a surrogate, if it implants you become that child’s parent. You don’t get to decide later whether you are the parent. YOU ARE THE PARENT. This is the case regardless whether you have a genetic connection to this child.

    Be Careful of the Law

    As is likely to become painfully and publicly clear as this case moves forward: not all states recognize surrogacy agreements. I can’t stress enough that if you are considering becoming a parent through surrogacy, you must use an attorney that specializes in reproductive law to guide you on how to protect yourself and your child. Creating a Family has resources to help you find this type of legal specialist.

    How Many Babies are Born Through Surrogacy in the US?

    It is not known how many children in the US or worldwide have been born via surrogacy. We do know that the numbers are rising. The Council for Responsible Genetics reported that between 2004 and 2008, over 5,000 children were born through surrogacy and this number is “exploding”. The New York Times recently reported that over 2000 babies will be born through gestational surrogacy in the US this year.

    How Often Do Intended Parents Back Out

    Shepherd and Sally do not represent the world of parents via surrogacy (thank goodness). They are, however, not alone. Andrew W. Vorzimer, a Los Angeles surrogacy lawyer, has tried to track the cases where surrogacy agreements go awry. Over the decades, Mr. Vorzimer said, there have been 81 cases of intended parents who changed their minds. Sometimes the situation is similar to the Sherri Shepherd case where the intended parents decides against parenting, and sometimes the intended parents try to back out when the child has significant birth defects or abnormalities.

    Keeping Things in Perspective

    I have no idea how accurate Vorzimer’s numbers on intended parents not honoring the surrogacy agreement after a pregnancy has been achieved since these are extremely difficult numbers to track, but even assuming they are on the low side, the number of cases where intended parents try to back out of the surrogacy arrangement is a very small percentage of the total number of families created through gestational surrogacy.

    Let’s also remember that parents via old fashioned intercourse have also been know to shirk their parenting responsibilities. In fact, I suspect that each of us knows or has heard of a case like that. So let us not conclude that intended parents via surrogacy have a corner on the irresponsible parent market.

    Irony Bites

    I find it ironic that in June 2013 Shepherd told Essence the following about their search for a surrogate:

    “We’re starting the process of making sure the uterus that we picked is not crazy,” said Shepherd. “I put out there that I would give someone a free weave for a year and a free Hyundai. Literally, we’d be at the club and these girls would be like … I’ll carry yo’ baby. I dont think so. Eight different shades of hair color, nine Salt and Pepa cuts, asymmetrical this and braids for days talking about “I’ll carry it.” No, you just got off the pole, you’re on break, go on back to work! So, it’s been a journey trying to sift through the ones with drama and no drama so I think I have one, but I’ll definitely keep everyone updated.”

    Perhaps she should have sifted a little closer to home for drama. Yeah, irony bites big time.

    I’m Sorry

    I’m sorry that Shepherd and Sally’s marriage failed. I’m sorry that Shepherd feels duped. I’m sorry that Shepherd’s 9-year-old son is having to live through this mess. I’m sorry, really sorry, for the how the surrogate that Shepherd and Sally are using must feel. What I am the most sorry for, however, is that someday this precious perfect infant will grow up and read about the drama surrounding his birth and possibly feel less worthy and wanted. No child deserves this.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    P.S. Check out these Top Ten Tips for Creating Your Family Through Surrogacy and this video on Choices You’ll Face When Creating Your Family Through Surrogacy

     

    Image credit: The Root

    15/07/2014 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Blog, Infertility, Infertility Blog | 43 Comments


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    43 Responses to Surrogate Parents are Real Parents, So Act Like It!

    1. I just realized that my post didn’t get posted. (I got off the backend before I hit save, I guess.) I am no longer going to approve posts that are rehashing the same arguments about the motherhood of people using surrogates or egg donors. I think we’ve beat that horse to death in the previous several posts. If you want to talk about surrogacy laws or Shepherd’s actions, you are welcome. (Yes, Marilyn, I know they issues are connected tangentially or even closely, but we’ve covered them thoroughly in the past several weeks.)

    2. I hope this information in Sherri Shepherd is not true. Or if true, I hope she is just over-sharing at a moment of intense pain and once she calms down she’ll reconsider her actions. But even if she does that, what is really sad is that this child will undoubtedly get on the internet one day and find out that his mother said she did not want him.

    3. Greg says:

      “Greg, there was no ulterior motive to me posting that article – it was just that I was reading about it in Monday’s paper and the first thing I thought about was Dawn’s column :).”

      Oh I wasn’t accusing you of doing that. I apologize if it was implied that I thought that was your motive. My comment was directed at the groups out there who are against surrogacy who exploit bad situations like this for their own cause.

      “What I will say is that thiscase does have similarities to an ealier case I referred to and that they do highlight the situations that can arise if a child is discovered to have a disability in utero. ”

      This can also apply to fertile couples who are pregnant with a child who is discovered to have a disability who terminate the pregnancy when it’s discovered or abandon the child when it’s born. As TOMama stated it’s more about the adults involved than it is the practice. So I think it’s important for us to not say this is an indictment of the practice.

    4. TOMama says:

      I would also add, with regards to the Thailand-Australia surrogacy case and the Sherri Shepard case, that when we put a microscope over traditionally conceived families and their children, we see all the time, everyday, horrendous atrocities committed by parents….I work in social services. It is reprehensible what some people think is acceptable behavior toward their children. But in those cases, you don’t see people attack all traditional-conception parents…you see them attack the particular parents. And no one suggests that people not be allowed to reproduce or that they aren’t “real parents”…just that they are unfit parents.

      I would say the same is true in this case. Sherri Sherpard is an unfit parent. A couple that takes a healthy twin and abandons it’s sibling are unfit parents. Just the same as any other unfit parent.

    5. cb says:

      Greg, there was no ulterior motive to me posting that article – it was just that I was reading about it in Monday’s paper and the first thing I thought about was Dawn’s column :).

      Here is an article from a paper close to the Australian’s couple’s home:

      http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/surrogate-row-south-bunbury-neighbours-rally-behind-gammys-wa-parents/story-fnhocxo3-1227013888173?nk=db3ae8a22d979ddf0bd8f45220e839ca

      What I will say is that thiscase does have similarities to an ealier case I referred to and that they do highlight the situations that can arise if a child is discovered to have a disability in utero. Your friends sound like they were prepared for whatever outcome and that is a wise decision.

    6. Greg says:

      That is so sad. The problem I have CB is that the anti surrogacy movement uses this story to condem the practice rather than the adults involved.

      I have a friend who he and his wife had a child through DI who has Down syndrome. They did not abandon their child. They are great parents who have become strong advocates for these children being raised by their parents. Instead of using parents like this as an example of how people should act, the anti surrogacy and anti third party reproduction movement ignores them.

    7. Greg says:

      “This is so sad. I wonder how much this happens in surrogacy that happens abroad. It’s sad to think what happens to these children that are abandoned. I don’t care what the law says, but the point of when you (with or without a partner) create a life you become a parent. It is unfortunate for the child that this story is so public for him/her to find one day.”

      I think the percentage of cases where this happens is very small but when it does happen it’s ugly like this. It’s a shame that a few cases gone wrong cast a black eye on something that is rarely like this.

    8. Justin says:

      Dawn (26+32),
      You’re putting me in a dilemma by allowing marilynn’s comments but asking others not to respond.
      For obvious reasons, I believe her fertilism should be responded to, just like any other prejudiced provocation. It is especially important to me, since the prejudice is directed at people like my loved ones and myself. On the other hand, I agree with you that this blog should not devolve into an endless-back-and-fourth about the right of donor-conceived-families to exist.
      Any advice on how to solve this dilemma?

    9. marilynn says:

      “There was a case in the UK with a traditional surrogate who was on welfare so that the baby’s birth expenses would be covered (cute right cause who can afford a cash birth) Anyway the baby was born and she changed her mind she could not give the child up. She was not just a gestational carrier, this was her own baby and she could not go through with the terms of the agreement she made prior to the child’s birth. She kept the child and identified the father as the father and he was ordered to pay child support and share custody.”
      Greg and Dawn Greg said:

      “That is a completely different situation to this one. This case is a surrogacy case where the disagreement is between the intended parents not the surrogate and the intended parents.”

      Yes Greg in the case I brought up the intended parents are unified as a couple in their decision to abandon financial responsibility for the child they commissioned whereas in the case Dawn blogged about only the intended mother wants to abandon financial responsibility.

      Whether they stand together or separate its a case of intended parents wanting to back out of the deal and not take care of the kid and I asked Dawn if she felt as passionately about the IP’s being wrong in that case.

      I asked because I want to know if she finds it reprehensible to back out of financial responsibility when the surrogate changes her mind and wants to keep the baby and the courts order shared custody between the mother and the father leaving the intended mother in the normal position of legal step mother.

      Do you find it wrong of the intended parents in that case to wish to abandon financial responsibility? After all The father still gets the bio child he paid to conceive with the surrogate. The surrogate is just exercising her right to be the mother of the child she put on this earth. Nothing is being taken away from anyone and in fact the child is in a far better position legally than if the mother had gone through with her promise and abandoned or relinquished for step adoption because the kid keeps his mom and gets a step mom to boot.

      So really the only thing anyone lost was a chance to get legal parental title over a step child. I’d really like to know where Dawn stands on that very similar case. How would you feel about Sherri if the bio mother wanted to share custody? As a step mother her income would have to be added together with the father’s in support of his child, as an ex wife it would not. Would you think she should still support, would you think it was abandonment then? Would it not be abandonment because there was another woman stepping forward as the legal mother? Why should a man the father have the right to back out just because the legal mother won’t be who he wants her to be?

      All these contracts point to the fact that people value their offspring only if they are in love with the other parent of their offspring. If they don’t know the other parent, then their offspring don’t count and they can be given up for adoption or abandoned under contract terms to strangers. We keep kids that we have with our spouses, those kids count, they matter. We keep kids we have with people who are not our spouses but only if we can pretend that we had them with our spouses….if something changes and a non-spouse wants to raise the kid we drop the kid like a hot potato. How would it feel to have your self worth be dependent upon whether your father loved your mother? Your rights dependent upon it. Stinks that’s what I’m told. My opinions are handed down to me by people who live this stuff. I’m just an observer hoping info will make people think twice.

      I think both cases show that there is a greater need for surrogacy reform and people being held accountable to the contracts that they sign.

    10. marilynn says:

      Greg she’s not using the child as a weapon to get back at her ex, she just does not want to pay child support on his biological child by another woman if they are not together. Which by the way is pretty standard fair for step parents to not have any responsibility for their ex’s kids when they divorce. This contractual stuff mixes up what her real relationship is which is step mother because she’d be there in that kid’s life only with the permission of the kid’s bio father because they’re married. A mother does not need permission to be responsible for a kid she creates, she does not need to be married either, it’s an obligation that is not handed down by anyone its something a woman gets herself into when she has offspring. She’s leaving her ex husband and does not want to be responsible for his kid its not that strange it happens all the time. The only difference is that she may have paid money to set it up so she could be not a step mother but a legal mother not by adoption but by a short cut through a surrogacy contract where they name her on the birth record. She is getting out of it before she gets in too deep.

      • Marilynn, this is the last comment I’m going to approve where you make the same point. I get your point and I think others to do. I truly appreciate your passion, but it is taking over the comments.

    11. marilynn says:

      Dawn thanks for approving the comment. I think that saying my comment is a tangent and conceding to allow the comment to remain is really nice but you did not actually answer my questions. First was the irony that you’d be bothered by someone backing out of an agreement to be the legal mother of her ex husband’s child by another woman, yet not be bothered at all that the child’s biological mother signed a contract to give up her parental rights and obligations at birth off the record and out of court in exchange for what the contracts term as “valuable consideration”. So in laymen’s terms abandoning parental rights and responsibilities for a biological child born per the terms of the agreement in exchange for valuable consideration means the bio mom was compensated not to raise her bio child and this man’s wife is doing the same thing, only for free – and the child has no vested interest in having his wife care for them whereas the child does have a vested interest in care by his or her bio mother at least to the same extent as the bio father. What is it about his wife backing out of this contract that you find so much more agregeous than the bio mother’s actions? Is his wife somehow more responsible for the bio mother’s conception, than the bio mother herself? The bio mother’s consent to reproduce was essential whereas his ex wife’s consent was not essential at all – he could have set all this up without her involvement. I think its a really important question. Is it that the ex wife signed a contract or that she paid money? The bio mother signed a contract too and she RECEIVED money. I think it would be awesome for you to actually respond to that question since you’re nice enough not to remove it from your blog.

      http://www.eggdonor.com/blog/2011/04/11/court-ruling-intended-parents-pay-child-support-traditional-surrogate-baby/

      • I haven’t given the case of the traditional surrogate backing out of her contract much thought, but I did read the article. In this case the surrogate was also the egg donor (i.e. a traditional surrogacy arrangement). Without a doubt, that is a more legally risky surrogacy. I’m open to be dissuaded from this opinion because I haven’t had time to give it much thought, but in this case I agree that the father should pay child support. He is the father and the child needs support.

        Note that this case differs from the Shepherd/Sally case because they used a gestational carrier and a separate egg donor. I would not agree that the egg donor should pay child support or the gestational carrier in their case.

    12. AnonT says:

      This is so sad. I wonder how much this happens in surrogacy that happens abroad. It’s sad to think what happens to these children that are abandoned. I don’t care what the law says, but the point of when you (with or without a partner) create a life you become a parent. It is unfortunate for the child that this story is so public for him/her to find one day.

    13. Greg says:

      “The kid will have an absent bio mother and a bio father who paid her to be absent and you are worried that the kid will feel rejected because their father’s ex wife did not want to financially support them or be called Mom? Are you serious?”

      The issue here is that a child (or unborn in this case) is used as a weapon to get back at the ex. Take out the whole surrogacy situation and it would still be wrong of how these people are behaving.

      “There was a case in the UK with a traditional surrogate who was on welfare so that the baby’s birth expenses would be covered (cute right cause who can afford a cash birth) Anyway the baby was born and she changed her mind she could not give the child up. She was not just a gestational carrier, this was her own baby and she could not go through with the terms of the agreement she made prior to the child’s birth. She kept the child and identified the father as the father and he was ordered to pay child support and share custody.”

      That is a completely different situation to this one. This case is a surrogacy case where the disagreement is between the intended parents not the surrogate and the intended parents.

      I think both cases show that there is a greater need for surrogacy reform and people being held accountable to the contracts that they sign.

    14. marilynn says:

      Dawn if you think the intended mother in this case is bad what do you think of the intended and also biological father of that kid in the UK not wanting to pay child support and share custody when his traditional surrogate backed out of the deal and kept the baby? You think he’s shameful for not wanting to pay support and share custody of his intended and also biological child?
      What do you think about his wife the intended mother’s unwillingness to accept her roll as step mother in the life of her husband’s child with the surrogate they’d selected? Do you think she’s terrible for turning her back on the kid just because she does not get to have the title of mother? Do you think she was entitled to play the roll of mother because she and her husband had paid the woman? Does her money and intention create parental obligation greater than that of someone who actually puts a new dependent human on earth?

    15. marilynn says:

      There was a case in the UK with a traditional surrogate who was on welfare so that the baby’s birth expenses would be covered (cute right cause who can afford a cash birth) Anyway the baby was born and she changed her mind she could not give the child up. She was not just a gestational carrier, this was her own baby and she could not go through with the terms of the agreement she made prior to the child’s birth. She kept the child and identified the father as the father and he was ordered to pay child support and share custody.

      Now I see this as the best possible outcome because he gets to have the bio child he wanted, the child does not loose his mother and the wife of the husband gets to be involved with raising her husband’s child as a loving step mother. The child looses absolutely nothing in the process. But the father was a jerk he did not see it that way and if he did not get to name is wife as mother he wanted nothing to do with his kid. He did not think he should have to pay child support on his own son just because his wife did not get to be named mother. He was fighting her in court and he and his wife were whining about how unfair it was for him to be ordered to support the child since she did not get to be named mother.

      This was in the UK about two years ago. Really horrible. Really shallow. I’m sure that the kid in that case is not pining away for their step mom to be named as their mother, but I betcha they might not feel so swell about their absent father fighting to abandon his responsibility for them all because he does not love their mom.

    16. marilynn says:

      The kid will have an absent bio mother and a bio father who paid her to be absent and you are worried that the kid will feel rejected because their father’s ex wife did not want to financially support them or be called Mom? Are you serious?

      Their bio mother rejected them and abandoned them under the terms of a contract underwritten by their father – and you think they’ll feel rejected because his ex-wife did not want to under the table step parent adopt them?

      Why would the kid feel rejected by her? She does not count she’s their father’s ex wife. She never even raised them or bonded with them socially. Why would they feel rejected that some stranger did not want to raise them when they have all that real legitimate rejection and abandonment to wallow in all around them?

      • Marilynn, I respect your passion for this argument, but you are a bit like the carpenter in the old adage: “Everything looks like a nail to a guy with a hammer”. I am going to approve this comment because it is related tangentially to the topic of this post, but I do not want the comments on this blog to become about whether donors are parents. There is a blog about that topic (several actually) where I would love to have those comments. Is An Egg Donor A Mother? A Sperm Donor A Father? (You in fact were the inspiration for that blog.)

        For everyone else, we know Marilyn’s feelings and belief’s about this. She doesn’t think Sherri is the mother. Let’s move on. Feel free to share, but let’s not go off on the whether she is a mother argument here.

    17. Greg says:

      “Some people act like crap in divorces and don’t think about their children. They are so focused on hurting their spouse, they hurt the little ones.”

      So true Anna, for all of the talk about intending parents make decisions that hurt their children with how they are conceived or how the adults become parents it’s ignored that there are so many divorced couples make decisions that hurt their children. There are many couples who try to have a kid to save their marriage that end up getting divorced and then use the child to get back at their ex.

      More so than the surrogacy to me this is the big issue. If there was no surrogacy and Sheppard was pregnant this would be a sad custody case with adults not thinking of others.

    18. AnonAP says:

      At the risk of putting words in Dawn’s mouth, I think she means that just as a legal determination of not guilty doesn’t necessarily mean no moral culpability. Shepherd may not legally be the mother, but stepping away from this as is she never had any intention to be the current fetus’s parent or that she has no obligation in the situation is a pretty sketch move.

    19. marilynn says:

      Morality and ethics don’t vary? Was that a typo? State law in every state would be that the kid has to be born before someone is considered a bio parent. It’s a fetal death, you legally can’t claim unborn people on your taxes as dependents. I had a child die the day of birth and I struggled with whether or not I was really ever a mother. Legally I was turned out because he was actually born. Previous miscarriages and losses were just pregnancy losses.

      What do you mean ethics don’t vary? They do for sure that’s why there is law.

    20. marilynn says:

      Dawn on a technical note, nobody is a parent until there is a child born – not biological not adoptive not nothing, you’re not legally someone’s parent until they are born and your parenthood is established legally based on some legal or biological criteria.

      Legally the term for a pregnant woman would be expectant mother or expectant parent. Durring her pregnancy the man she conceived with would be an expectant father. If she looses the pregnancy (not the person), they’ll be loosing a pregnancy not their child, cause they are not parents until their kid is born and counted as an official person whose part of the population.

      So when you give birth your a birth mother of record (I’m irritated by that but it’s the law and that’s the way it is). When you adopt your the adoptive mother. When your the biological source of another person’s body then your a bio parent. If you are a psychological parent to the child as in fictive kin, there has to still be a born individual attached to you that thinks of you as a parent do to proximity and care giving.

      A pregnant woman is not a parent (to that fetus anyway) not even if it’s her very own pregnancy that she herself conceived with someone. She won’t be a mother until she gives birth to the kid she reproduced to create.

      Are you meaning just in a tongue and cheek kind of emotional sense of commitment or are you putting this forward as a fact?

    21. Christi says:

      Isn’t Sally saying he wants to raise his child at this point? Honestly, if his only motive is to get more money from child support, well, that’s a pretty despicable reason, but it doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be a good father to his child. If he actually wants his child, it’s more than what Shephard is saying she wants right now for that child.

      • In his separation filings, Sally says he is seeking full custody of the child with reasonable visitation with Shepherd. Christi, your point is well taken that he may very well want this child. It is only Shepherd (or the media reporting that this comes from Shepherd) that says he wants the child only in order to get child support.

    22. Anna says:

      It’s horrible.

      I hope it’s one of those made-up celebrity stories — like the George Clooney story about his mother-in-law being upset his fiance isn’t going to marry inside their religious sect. That story was all made up. Clooney said even the name of the religious sect wasn’t true.

      Horrible if true.

      Some people act like crap in divorces and don’t think about their children. They are so focused on hurting their spouse, they hurt the little ones.

      Anger and wanting to hurt others hurts innocents. Channeling Star Wars don’t let the dark side get control.

    23. My thoughts on Sherri –

      I have been thinking and thinking and thinking about the Sherri Shepherd situation and I have come to this conclusion. If an intended mother enters into an arrangement with an egg donor and a gestational surrogate to purposely conceive a child and then signs a legal contract agreeing to take custody of the baby when that baby is born she is this child’s mother whether she likes it or not. Whether she is at odds, hates, or despises the intended father – she’s still this child’s mother.

      As I read in the media that Sherri Shepherd is trying to argue she is not is ridiculous due to the fact she doesn’t want to pay child support for the baby or be this baby’s mother – and frankly this makes me sick.

      Doesn’t a child’s right to financial and emotional support of two parents supersede Sheri Shepherd’s right to back out of this surrogacy arrangement all because she doesn’t want to pay child support or have contact with her soon to be ex-husband?

      And what about the gestational surrogate? Presumably this surrogate agreed to this arrangement because she thought she was carrying this child for two people who actually wanted this baby and were going to parent this baby – hopefully together. This was the agreement when the surrogate signed on for the cycle – yes? My guess is the surrogate didn’t agree to carry a baby for a couple who might or might not be together at the end of a pregnancy or who might or might not parent together because they didn’t like each other.

      If the marriage had broken down before the cycle even began why did Sherri agree to go forward with an egg donor/gestational surrogate cycle? That makes no sense.

      I’m sorry Sherri you intended to become this child’s mother when you arranged for his or her conception and you should be required to act as his or her mother when this baby is actually born. What would you have done if by chance you had conceived the old fashion way? Decided because you hate your ex-husband you weren’t going to parent? That’s now how life works. You made an active and purposeful decision to conceive life – you absolutely cannot just discard this child as if it were a used designer handbag.

      Shame on you for even remotely thinking about doing anything different.

      And most importantly — what about the baby? What about this child who is going to be born into a situation that he or she did not agree to or sign up for – what is this child going to learn about his or her conception? How are you going to explain to this child that his or her mother walked away and out of his or her life before birth?

      Are you not stopping just for two seconds to think about the feelings of this baby – or are you just thinking about your own?

      Trust me – there are thousands of men and women in my community who would jump at the chance of having the honor of becoming a mom or a dad – yes thousands who yearn every single day at the prospect of become parents.

      So Sherri do the right thing – find a good therapist – do some hard work – stop and breathe for a second and really examine what you’re about to do and then step up regardless of how much you hate your soon to be ex-husband, embrace the fact you are going to be a mother again and give this child the life he or she so richly deserves – filled with love, care, financial and medical support, guidance, and acceptance.

      It’s the least you can do.

    24. Daniela says:

      Yeah! For once, just maybe, a momma will have to pay child support and, as it appears in this case, the better parent (which is often the daddy) will get the child. I think this is a win-win for gender parity in family courts.

    25. cb says:

      I remember a surrogacy case where I think there was a clause that if the baby had deformities, then the surrogacy was to have an abortion but in the end, the surrogate couldn’t go through with it – I can’t rmember the outcome. I have a feeling the child got adopted out.

    26. Here! Here! I have no knowledge of or experience in the legalities and thus cannot form much of an educated opinion on the ethicalities of it all. But the very public and very degrading and disrespectful manner in which they are handling very private matters is appalling to me. Bottom line to me is that this child is already being treated in an inexcusable manner which likely will continue while the slow wheels of the legal system play out. It’s time for the grown ups to ACT like grown ups and put the needs of this little life ahead of their own selfish wants and needs, regardless of what “their people” might tell them is “acceptable.” It seems to me that it’s always the children who suffer when adults can’t just DO THE RIGHT THING.

    27. Amy Demma says:

      It is also worth noting that the creation of this baby boy is not Shepherd’s first go-round with infertility and assisted family building. In 2011, Ms. Shepherd stated the following:

      “I’m honored that RESOLVE has asked me to host the Night of Hope,” said Shepherd. “I’ve lived infertility – shed the tears, endured the shots, faced the uncertainty and ultimately experienced the hope. I’m delighted to spend an evening recognizing those who work hard every day to bring hope to the millions of us who struggle to build our families.”

      One New York law colleague opined in the NY Post article that the baby could be placed with social services (presumably because a court would find neither parent fit). While I find this outcome to be an extremely unlikely scenario it does underscore how much Ms. Shepherd has failed this child…a child she actively, knowingly, willingly and intentionally caused to be created.

      • Thanks Amy for that interesting piece of info. Hummmm. Granted that we truly don’t know all the details, but from what is being reported at least this child’s mother (Ms. Shepherd) does not seem fit. I hope that father is.

    28. Greg says:

      Dawn,

      This whole story is so sad for both the surrogate and the baby to be born. What is even more upsetting is to see opponents of surrogacy exploit this story to further their cause. To me we should be focussing on making sure this kid will be supported once they are born. That is what we can learn and do moving forward is to put laws in place to hold parties accountable so that the child doesn’t suffer.

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