By Jane Nambi
A surrogate mother from Connecticut was offered $10,000 to abort the baby she was previously paid $20,000 to have.
Crystal Kelly a mother of two children from Connecticut was having financial problems when she decided to offer her womb services to a couple which already had three children but wanted a fourth child and could not get one. Everything was fine between Crystal, 29, and the couple who were extremely excited it turned out that she was pregnant with their fourth child. “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.
They even gave her the remaining $2,000 and offered gifts for her family for Christmas but everything changed when an ultrasound revealed the baby had a deformity.
Doctors suspected that the baby had a cleft lip and palate, a cyst in her brain and serious heart defects and they couldn’t even see a stomach or a spleen. On February 16th, 2012 the ultrasound confirmed their worst fears. 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.
This was not what they wanted in the first place and the couple, which was previously excited decided they did not want the child after all. Through a letter, 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,” the letter read. This, Crystal refused because of her religious views.
The battle changed from just what they wanted to do to an emotional feeling for both the couple and Kelly. “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. The couple already had three previous premature births that left two of their children with medical problems and wanted an abortion to protect the child and themselves as well.
“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 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,” Crystal said. ‘I told them that they had chosen me to carry and protect this child, and that was exactly what I was going to do. I told them it wasn’t their decision to play God,” she added.
The parents decided to use money to pursuade Crystal with another offer. Rita Kron from Surrogacy International told Crystal the couple was willing to pay her $10,000 to have the termination. She replied she would consider it if the parents paid her $15,000 to which they said no. The couple hired a lawyer, Douglas Fishman who wrote a letter outlining, “You are obligated to terminate this pregnancy immediately. You have squandered precious time.” He said she was in breach of contract.
Crystal hired her won lawyer Michael DePrimo who wrote back to DePrimo saying, “Ms. Kelley was more than willing to abort this fetus if the dollars were right.” The couple had threatened that if she decided to give birth to the child, they would not be the legal parents of the child,, she would, something that scared her. Later on, they changed their minds and said they would 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.
However, Crystal now decided that she couldn’t stand the thought of the baby in foster care, she could not agree to it although the law was on the couple’s side. During her seventh month of pregnancy in April 11th she moved her daughters to Michigan. “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.
In Michigan, she decided she would give the child up for adoption in there. She located a couple who wanted to take on a special needs child. On June 25th, the baby named Baby S was born and weighed six pounds; but, she was not breathing. Doctors managed to revive her and Crystal’s name was placed onto the birth certificate.
After three weeks of birth, the father gave up his paternal rights but wanted to to keep in touch with the Michigan adoptive parents, they agreed.
‘They do care about her well-being. They do care about how she’s doing,’ the unnamed adoptive mother said to CNN.
The medical problems however were worse than anticipated. 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. So far, Baby 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.
Chances are even after birth, she might not be able to walk, or talk. Talking about her decision to give birth to the baby, “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. 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.”