May 24, 2024

LGBT rift over surrogacy?

A lesbian couple says that Down syndrome children should not be aborted.

It’s not just bio-conservatives who are troubled and puzzled by the growth of surrogate motherhood. Writing in the Huffington Post, Keston Ott-Dahl, the lesbian co-mother of a Down syndrome daughter, confesses that there is conflict in the LGBT community as well.

Keston’s partner Andrea was the surrogate mother (with her own eggs) of Delaney Skye.  The commissioning couple, also lesbians, were distraught when the foetus was diagnosed with Down syndrome and asked Andrea to abort her. The Ott-Dahl’s refused and have lived happily ever after – a journey they have chronicled in a blog, a book, and a video (above).

But there are problems. Clearly, with the legalisation of same-sex marriage, more gay and lesbian couples will want children. They need surrogacy. Banning it “would be devastating for the LGBT Community,” writes Keston.

However, many couples want a perfect baby and specify in contracts that defective babies should be aborted or that multiple foetuses should be “reduced”. But this is wrong, she says:

Intended parents need to be mindful ahead of time that there is no such thing as a designer baby, you get what you get — be open-minded (hearted) and grateful.

It is also wrong to force a surrogate mother into aborting a child:

In my opinion, “terminating” should always be at the discretion of the surrogate who is responsible for the growing inside of her. The right to choose doesn’t necessarily mean choosing to terminate. She can choose life as well and no one should attempt to take away her choice regardless of any business arrangement or biological link. It is her body.

Notwithstanding the boilerplate about women’s autonomy, for the Keston the most powerful argument seems to be love for a child obliterates fears of disability:

If intended parents are lucky, they may learn the lesson Delaney taught me; that “imperfect” child may open their hearts and pride to a love they would never have known and their lives may change for the better. I, for one cannot imagine a world without Delaney in it.
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