Fetal Foreclosure If you stop paying a surrogate mother, what happens to the fetus?
That’s the scenario unfolding in California. The victims are couples and surrogates who met through SurroGenesis, a company “dedicated to assisting infertile couples to have a baby through third-party assisted reproduction.” Hiring a surrogate through the company is expensive, as you’ll see from its long list of fees. But don’t worry: The company offers to " trust account" that will cover your expenses. Specifically, according to the Los Angeles Times, its clients say “SurroGenesis recommended that prospective parents set up trust funds administered by the Michael Charles group,” its partner company.
The parents handed over the money. From this, the companies were supposed to pay the surrogates. Now, the Times reports, payments have stopped. In fact, the New York Times adds, “SurroGenesis told clients on March 13 via e-mail that their money was gone. Lawyers say that as much as $2 million may be missing, with some couples losing as much as $90,000.”
On one level, this looks like any other financial scandal. But the pregnancies add a whole new dimension. Around 70 people are affected. At least one pregnancy plan was reportedly suspended just before extracting the eggs that were to be used. In two other reported cases, the surrogates are in their third trimester. But what about the pregnancies in the middle—too late to call off the fertilization or implantation but not too late for abortion?
Some couples have managed to pay, out of their own funds, the monthly installments that the companies had promised to the surrogates. But others can’t. Andrew Vorzimer, a lawyer involved in the case, says, “We’ve got couples in the midst of pregnancies with no ability to pay the surrogate.”
When they say ~70 people are affected, one assumes they are not counting the babies being carried by the surrogates.