A common response we often hear from women is that while they may be opposed to paid commercial surrogacy or even to surrogacy in general, they’d gladly do it for a close friend or relative struggling to have a child. A recent article in the Huffington Post should serve as a warning sign for those with such impulses. In the article, author Suzette Standring tells the story of two childhood best friends, Meg and Laurie. Due to Meg’s health complications related to cystic fibrosis, Laurie volunteered to be a surrogate for her and her husband, Patrick.
Early in the pregnancy, Patrick asked the Laurie not attend a baby shower so as to not distract from the attention surrounding Meg. Laurie complied—but she was hurt. This was the beginning of series of incidents that would continually drive a wedge in their friendship—and shortly after Laurie gave birth to Meg and Patrick’s child, the friendship ended.
Reflecting back on her experience, Laurie commented, “If I had not done this [surrogacy], I would have been at her shower, been her friend, helped raised her child with her as a friend, but the fact that I had her baby erased all of that for me.”
There are many well intentioned motivations behind surrogacy, particularly when it’s altruistic in nature. But as this story shows, it often ends poorly. While some critics may object that these are the rare exceptions and that we’re simply using this one tragic tale to denounce the practice as a whole, the truth is that we see case after case of similar outcomes (for another example, see Gail’s story chronicled in Breeders).
In his endorsement of Breeders, Princeton Professor Robert George reminds us of the old adage that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Unfortunately. this latest story is another stinging reminder of just how true this can be.