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Surrogate mother nearly dies but is on her 7th aged 40

(47 Posts)
OhHolyJesus Sun 03-Jan-21 10:03:54

The comments seem mostly critical which is reassuring as the article is very biased.

Share token:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/i-love-giving-birth-this-is-my-seventh-surrogate-baby-xqfgzjwvz

OP’s posts: |
FannyCann Sun 03-Jan-21 10:45:30

Thanks for the share token OP.

The Law Commission do not recommend a limit on the number of surrogate pregnancies a woman can have. It is clear that some women seem to have an addiction to producing babies for others, or maybe the regular £15k income it provides. To the detriment of their own health.
This woman has two children of her own, their childhood has been spent with their mother constantly pregnant or recovering from birth. Does she have a partner I wonder? She nearly died the fifth time with a life threatening haemorrhage requiring a spell in ICU. Who is caring for her children through all this, and what if she dies?

Even after that she had another baby in December 2019 and despite Covid had fertility treatment to get pregnant again around June/July with her 9th baby due in March. She has gestational diabetes - which can predispose becoming diabetic for life - it doesn't say if she has had GD in previous pregnancies but that seems quite likely.

I guarantee she will be anaemic too. She hasn't had time between pregnancies to restore iron stores. I need to seek out the research but our blood transfusion specialist at my hospital says there is evidence that anaemia in pregnancy affects the foetus in various ways, which makes sense when you consider that a reduced Hb reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.

Of course the NHS gets to pick up the pieces and manage these high risk pregnancies.

Shame on the commissioning parents and fertility clinic that facilitated this with so little care about the welfare of this woman or her children.

Whatever you think about surrogacy, do we really want a society where some women are professional paid breeders? This demeans the dignity and welfare of women everywhere.

FannyCann Sun 03-Jan-21 11:00:37

Correction. I've just seen this is the second time she has had gestational diabetes.

MedusasBrandyButter Sun 03-Jan-21 11:05:26

They always seem to use tge argument: "It's happening anyway, so it needs to be regulated", but laissez-faire is a neglectful cop-out.

HecatesCats Sun 03-Jan-21 11:07:43

I read this and couldn't believe how biased it was, considering it starts with the fact that the woman almost died doing this. There are very eloquent voices opposing this move because they centre women and don't want to set us on a slippery slope to the woman just being a vessel which is discarded after the birth. The debate is so much more nuanced than this article.

OhHolyJesus Sun 03-Jan-21 11:08:47

I think regulating it sort of sanctions it as well, if we say it's A Ok for women to do this as they have agency and it's their bodies etc it does nothing for preventing women in being exploited.

Why if we see this in other countries would we want to encourage it in bringing it here? (U.K.). Surely we should be working to do the opposite, prevent it from happening at all, anywhere!

OP’s posts: |
jessstan1 Sun 03-Jan-21 11:09:34

I agree with Medusas.

I could only read the first couple of paras despite share token but the woman must be bonkers.

merrymouse Sun 03-Jan-21 11:21:20

Reading about her health, the story makes it sounds as though there should be much tighter regulation of surrogacy.

Re: parental responsibility, I have no sympathy. The rules are there to protect the baby. The laws of time and space dictate that the only way a birth mother can avoid parental responsibility, both morally and legally, is by avoiding pregnancy. It's why women need specific rights.

FannyCann Sun 03-Jan-21 11:27:08

Just been having a quick Google, here are a couple of references to the effects of anaemia on foetal development. Cognitive performance and brain development are affected.
How disgraceful that fertility clinics show so little care or responsibility.

https://www.glowm.com/Criticalcurrentt_issue/page/25

EmpressWitchDoesntBurn Sun 03-Jan-21 11:30:06

I don’t think the sharetoken came through. Try this. www.thetimes.co.uk/article/a5a8dbd8-4ac5-11eb-81f9-1b786036a268?shareToken=ae591a32c10aae33f93ab0d4022461e7

AnneTwackie Sun 03-Jan-21 11:46:45

The Times Magazine has been running a column called ‘the mothership project’ where the writer is the mother of a baby from a surrogate. I was expecting to find it really interesting but I find it so irritating, one week she discussed meeting their ‘antenatal team’ also known as a midwife appointment, and had a list of questions including whether she and her husband could still get postnatal depression. I’ve seen them take an angle a few times when favourite columnists have a pet issue. I’d be interested to hear if it has riled anyone else or if it’s just me.

Whatwouldscullydo Sun 03-Jan-21 11:47:44

It have the impression almost if some kind of high..
Your existing children should surely be providing your fulfillment in life not the prospect of having another and giving them away?

What will she do if she has twins or a premature baby or a disabled baby that the couple don't want? Where does that leave her the baby and her kids ?

Akd of course what happens of she dies or ends up in a wheelchair from complications . Will a few grand be enough to compensate your children or re design a house

Curtainsarefab Sun 03-Jan-21 11:51:40

There is a reason that dairy cows have a halved life expectancy. She’s basically a dairy cow...

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Sun 03-Jan-21 12:24:59

Comments are mostly on the same lines as here. One person posted some anonymous quotes expressing 'surrogacy regret' (no source given, unfortunately) and I found this one very striking, contrasting adoption and surrogacy as ways in which parents and children come together.

One family structure supports children’s rights, the other violates them. One requires adults to support children in their loss, the other forces loss on the child to support the desire of adults. When it comes to the best interest of the child, there’s a big difference between seeking to mend parental loss and paying six figures to create it.

HecatesCats Sun 03-Jan-21 12:38:01

Making a career out of surrogacy puts women's health at risk (of course it does):

"doctors warn that as the number of births increases, so does the potential harm to the mother – and the child. One doctorsaidd_ the more pregnancies a woman has, the greater the risk of a negative outcome. Doctors worry these women may haemorrhage after delivery, said Dr. Lois Brustman, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Columbia University.
This is because the uterus – which is a muscle – can get stretched more each time a woman is pregnant. “As a result,” she told LiveSciencee_, “after a woman has had many pregnancies, the muscle has a hard time contracting after the placenta separates. This creates a risk of bleeding.” She also said scar tissue from previous pregnancies can cause problems with the placenta, including the risk of premature birth."

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/what-happens-to-your-body-when-you-give-birth-more-than-five-timesukk_5e3d33a8c5b6bb0ffc0edd96

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Sun 03-Jan-21 12:47:30

I think I'm right in saying that before our species settled down in villages and towns and adopted agriculture, women wouldn't have been having back to back pregnancies.

First pregnancy some time in the later teens? Puberty is triggered by weight, and one of the reasons it's become earlier in recent years is that better nutrition means girls get taller earlier and nowadays they are also often overweight. In hunter gatherer societies they might have got tall (average height fell when we adopted agriculture) but definitely not plump, so puberty would have been later.

Extended breastfeeding would follow, and make ovulation a lot less likely for some years.

Gaps of 3 or 4 years between pregnancies?

No idea when menopause might have kicked in.

Anyway, a baby a year would simply not have happened, any more than it happens in other ape species.

Whatwouldscullydo Sun 03-Jan-21 12:47:35

hecates

Wasn't that also part of the argument when there was that case of the vulnerable young woman with learning difficulties who they sterilised without her consent because by her sixth child her uterus had become paper thin?

I'm not entirely sure im remembering correctly, but weren't they worried the next one would kill her ?

You would think there would be limits on how many babies a surrogate could have.

And the fine line between what would constitute and addiction, self destruction, self harm etc and informed consent

TyroTerf Sun 03-Jan-21 13:16:41

do we really want a society where some women are professional paid breeders?

We're heading that way whether we like it or not.

I'm reminded of a few years ago, when the two-child benefit cap was brought in. Widespread frothing rage at the idea of women being paid to breed. But when it's done privately, with the aim of abandoning the child at birth so it can be adopted, suddenly it's all fine and totes empowering.

But yes - the way this is going, give it a few decades and women will be expected to choose between being a breeder or having a career. After all, it's the actual having of babies that fucks us over in the workplace. And the breeder class will have to choose between private funding (and giving up all the babies while being seen as a saint) or state funding (and being viewed as the scum of the earth, yet getting to keep a baby or two).

everythingcrossed Sun 03-Jan-21 14:39:34

AnneTwackie

The Times Magazine has been running a column called ‘the mothership project’ where the writer is the mother of a baby from a surrogate. I was expecting to find it really interesting but I find it so irritating, one week she discussed meeting their ‘antenatal team’ also known as a midwife appointment, and had a list of questions including whether she and her husband could still get postnatal depression. I’ve seen them take an angle a few times when favourite columnists have a pet issue. I’d be interested to hear if it has riled anyone else or if it’s just me.

You were not alone - there was a whole column where she bemoaned the fact that covid meant she had to cancel her baby shower hmm. I found the writer incredibly tone-deaf to the ethical issues around her "journey" and, despite her protestations, she was using the several surrogates that agreed to carry a baby for her (the child was born to, I think, the fourth surrogate) as walking wombs. While I have nothing but sympathy for people who want but are unable to give birth themselves, surrogacy, even with the best intentions, is exploitative and (possibly) not in the child's best interests. That people are trying to normalise commercial surrogacy - through columns such as this one - makes me very uneasy.

HecatesCats Sun 03-Jan-21 14:53:55

Whatwouldscullydo

hecates

Wasn't that also part of the argument when there was that case of the vulnerable young woman with learning difficulties who they sterilised without her consent because by her sixth child her uterus had become paper thin?

I'm not entirely sure im remembering correctly, but weren't they worried the next one would kill her ?

You would think there would be limits on how many babies a surrogate could have.

And the fine line between what would constitute and addiction, self destruction, self harm etc and informed consent


That's right! They said another pregnancy could be life threatening. She had already had several children.

Thelnebriati Sun 03-Jan-21 14:57:25

This is a clumsy way to put it but are some women addicted to having babies?
If so, how will the surrogacy industry protect them?

HecatesCats Sun 03-Jan-21 15:05:10

*You would think there would be limits on how many babies a surrogate could have.

And the fine line between what would constitute and addiction, self destruction, self harm etc and informed consent*

There are DoH guidelines for care in surrogacy, but no limits enshrined in law. I don't know how strictly they are adhered to in all cases

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachmentdata/file/843891/Caree_insurrogacyy_-guidancee_forthee_careoff_surrogates.pdf

JellySlice Sun 03-Jan-21 15:22:51

I wonder whether the prospective adopters know that their gestational carrier has GD, probably anaemia and increased risk of birthing complications? Why would they commission a potentially sub-standard infant? Are some gestational carriers cheaper than others - have they saved themselves some money in this way? Or are they unaware and could they therefore sue the surrogacy agency once they have taken delivery of the commissioned infant and assessed it?

OhHolyJesus Sun 03-Jan-21 15:25:56

@AnneTwackie

I'm another one who found the Berensiner column painfully irritating for reasons everything makes clear.

Sophie also had several egg donors (once I started reading I went back online to read her past columns and the entitlement and selfishness and disinterest in the women helping her was brazen, I found the language dehumanising and very self-centred. She even went to Russia as she has connections there) as well as several surrogates and each time when something fell through it was 'poor me' and often related back to her bad luck with getting cancer, like "when will I be lucky?". TBH I think when you are so deep into yourself it's difficult to put any of it into perspective.

Since the baby has been born I really didn't like the small section given to Rebecca, the surrogate mother, who wrote about her experience and how Sophie goes on about her 'journey' being different and how her NCT friends treat her the same. I'm sure the new mothers she hangs out with, who have had c sections, epidurals and episiotomies, curb their language around for her fear she will be reminded how she didn't give birth.

Incidentally Jake and Hannah Graf posted on Instagram about getting the parental order for Millie but minus the fanfare as family and friends were absent and it was all down online. It's very much about the adults, though they do mention their surrogate Laura (who will be having another baby for them and that will be her fourth pregnancy abs she has two of her own).

OP’s posts: |
FannyCann Sun 03-Jan-21 15:30:26

There are DoH guidelines for care in surrogacy, but no limits enshrined in law. I don't know how strictly they are adhered to in all cases

I may have missed it but I can't see any recommendations there regarding the maximum number of surrogate pregnancies a woman should have.

In any case, clearly the well being of the mother is widely ignored. Jill Hawkins has had ten surrogate babies, and Carole Horlick has had thirteen surrogate babies. This woman is on her seventh, to the obvious detriment of her health.

I am against all surrogacy, but at the very least, if new laws are passed, I believe it should be a maximum of two (to allow for a sibling). Women need to be protected, sometimes from themselves.

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