Discussing hard choices – before they must be made By Mary Ellen McLaughlin

A recent article in the National Post (http://www.nationalpost.com/news/Couple+urged+surrogate+abort+fetus+defect/3628756/story.html) highlights an issue in the fertility industry that is ripe for discussion. A couple that had turned to surrogacy after failed infertility treatments subsequently urged their surrogate to get an abortion after doctors found abnormalities in the fetus. The surrogate initially refused.

One quote in the article really stood out. “The physician…said it appeared to him that the three had never seriously considered such a scenario before the pregnancy.”

Wow. When intended parents and prospective surrogates meet for the first time, it’s ideal for them to get along and have a warm fuzzy feeling about each other. But at the same time, this is an arrangement that requires a legal contract. It’s essential to like each other, but it’s also essential to make sure your interests are protected. Every scenario, no matter how small, should be taken seriously.

Luckily, this type of situation is rare. We at ARR have been lucky (okay, careful) enough to have never had a situation in which these issues were not thoroughly considered prior to pregnancy. We work with both parties to ensure they discuss and agree on issues like abortion and selective reduction before taking any next steps. It’s something we take seriously – and so should anyone taking this journey. (Read a surrogate’s blog post on the hard choices surrogates and parents often must make: http://conceptionconnections.wordpress.com/2008/04/17/the-hard-choices-surrogates-and-parents-must-make/.)

This is one of the most intense conversations these three adults will share.

Our psychologist encourages both parties to first discuss abortion and selective reduction with their support network, which is the first place they’ll turn if the situation ever arises. They’re encouraged to discuss their beliefs openly. The reality is that while they may get along beautifully, if they don’t share the same views on these sensitive issues, this partnership will never work.

No one ever wants a situation like this to happen. Intended parents and surrogates need to be prepared for all types of outcomes, whether it’s abortion, selective reduction, miscarriage, or, hopefully, a happy, healthy baby.

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