ABC World News recently featured a story about Crystal Kelley, a 30-year-old Connecticut surrogate who stood up for the life of the unborn child she was carrying, despite the wishes of the intended parents that the baby be aborted.
Kelley was a single mother of two girls when she agreed to become a surrogate for a New York couple, according to ABC News.
The surrogate agency Kelley used made the match between the couple and Kelley. Two frozen embryos from the couple were transferred to Kelley and she became pregnant in 2011.
Most stories about surrogate mothers end after the birth of the child when the surrogate surrenders the baby to the intended parents.
Complications with the baby Kelley was carrying changed the ending of this story. During an ultrasound at 21 weeks, it was discovered that the female fetus had multiple defects.
The defects found included a cleft palate, a cyst on her brain and possible Down syndrome. The intended mother called Kelley and told her to abort the baby.
Abortion was covered in the surrogate agreement Kelley had signed in cases of "severe fetal abnormality." Kelley, an adamant pro-life advocate, decided to fight for the life of the baby.
In February 2012, Kelley retained the services of Connecticut pro-life attorney Michael DePrimo, who took the case pro bono.
Due to the laws in Connecticut, Kelley had no parental rights to the child. After research, she made the decision to go to Michigan, one of the states where surrogates have parental rights.
Kelley planned to use the services available at the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan, renowned for their pediatric heart program.
After retaining the services of a Michigan lawyer, Herbert A. Brail, Kelley deciding she would give the baby up for adoption and began working toward finding adoptive parents.
When Kelley was sued by the Connecticut couple, she learned that the embryos were not from the intended mother, but from a donor.
This meant that the intended mother had no legal rights to the baby. The intended father decided to waive his parental rights.
When the baby girl was born, it was discovered that she did not have Down syndrome. But the number of defects found was significant.
In addition to a cleft palate, the baby Kelley had dubbed Baby S had multiple heart defects and other medical complications.
The most significant of the defects Baby S suffers from is holoprosencephaly, a disorder caused when the brain doesn't divide into the double lobes of the cerebral hemispheres.
Some cases of holoprosencephaly result in death of the baby before or shortly after birth. In less severe cases, babies are born with facial deformities and near-normal brain development.
Baby S was given up for adoption in 2012. On her blogspot, Surrogate Instanity, Kelley wrote that Baby S is "a lively, thriving little girl" and that she knows she did the right thing.
In an earlier blog, Kelley wrote about the three issues that compelled her to fight for Baby S to live: the world of surrogacy, her personal pro-life views and the rights of special needs children.
Who's right and who's wrong? That's not mine to decide, but I found this story to be compelling in many ways.
Like Kelley, I'm a pro-life advocate. I chose not to undergo some fetal tests during pregnancy because I knew I was unwilling to abort my baby, regardless of the results.
Like Kelley, I have very strong feelings about the rights of special needs children. I have many teachers in my circle of family and friends and have worked many hours as a school volunteer.
I don't know a lot about the world of surrogacy. I do agree with those who say that Kelley signed a contract and broke it when she went against the wishes of the intended parents.
Sometimes in life, one has to make a choice between doing what's legally right or what's morally right. That's where Crystal Kelley found herself. How do you feel about the choice she made?