Surrogate mum fled across US to save life of disabled baby
A surrogate mother fled across the US to save the child's life when the couple whose baby she was carrying demanded she have an abortion after discovering the girl would be born severely disabled.
Crystal Kelley (30) learned five months into her pregnancy that the child she was carrying on behalf of another couple may be born with disabilities including a cleft lip and palate, a cyst in her brain and heart defects.
The intended parents said that they no longer wanted the child and told Ms Kelley that she should have an abortion, saying it was "more humane", and offered her $10,000 (e7,600) to terminate the pregnancy.
Ms Kelley, however, did not believe in abortion and refused. The couple said that they would instead take the child and put the boy or girl into foster care.
Also opposed to this, Ms Kelley, who was to be paid $22,000 for the pregnancy, decided to move 700 miles from her home in Connecticut to Michigan, one of only a few states in the US where a surrogate mother's legal right to decide the child's future would trump those of the parents, and find adoptive parents for the girl.
"I think I did what was right for her. I gave her a chance that no one else was prepared to give her. I am proud I stood up for what I believe was right."
Ms Kelley, already a mother of two daughters aged three and four, decided to become a surrogate parent in 2011.
She previously had gone through two miscarriages herself and explained that her motivation was to help other families who could not conceive.
She was put in touch with a couple and in October became pregnant using frozen embryos. But in February 2012, when she was 21 weeks pregnant, an ultrasound scan showed the child had a cleft lip and palate, a cyst in the brain, and a heart abnormality.
Doctors said that while the girl would survive, there was only a 25pc chance she would have a "normal life" and would require several heart surgeries.
Ms Kelley then received a letter from a doctor on behalf of the intended parents that read: "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."
At one point the couple met with Ms Kelley face-to-face to discuss their options. "They were both visibly upset. The mother was crying," she told CNN. "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. 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."