Questioning the Purposes of Surrogate Motherhood Requests
Janice Collins works in the office of Dr. Ellis, a private physician who specializes in assisted reproduction approaches. Although the majority of Dr. Ellis’s patients use their own gametes in assisted reproduction, some couples, because of a variety of problems, choose to use donor ova or sperm. During the past 3 years, Dr. Ellis has employed the services of several surrogate mothers for female patients incapable of carrying a pregnancy to term. Ms. Collins has been supportive of these surrogacy arrangements, but a few recent requests have caused her to question surrogacy. The Merino Family: Stan and Lillian Merino contacted Dr. Ellis because they knew he was amenable to surrogate motherhood arrangements. Mrs. Merino is a healthy woman in her mid-30s and is capable of bearing a child (the Merinos have a 3-year-old daughter). The couple wants to have another child, but Mrs. Merino does not want to take the time from her career to undergo hormonal stimulation of her ovaries to harvest ova nor to undergo a pregnancy in the foreseeable future. Instead, she would like to employ a surrogate mother who will donate her own ova and agree to be artificially inseminated with Mr. Merino’s sperm. The Merinos can afford to pay for the services of the surrogate and actually prefer this approach so that there will not be a large age difference between their children. They feel that a surrogacy arrangement is the best way for them to meet their social, career, and parenting needs. The Beall Family: Crissy and John Beall are a childless couple who thought they could never have a genetic child until they heard about surrogate motherhood. Mrs. Beall was diagnosed with CA of the uterus while in her mid-20s and had a total hysterectomy, which included removal of her ovaries. They have asked Dr. Ellis if he would artificially inseminate Mrs. Beall’s 51-year-old widowed mother with Mr. Beall’s sperm, so that they can have a child that is genetically linked to both of them. Mrs. Beall’s mother, Mrs. Hoffman, is willing to undergo the procedure and has no health reasons that would prohibit her from carrying a child to term. Mrs. Beall is her only daughter, and she views her role in this arrangement as an act of love.
The Murray Family: Sam and Anne Murray have been married for 23 years and have two children, 21-year-old Sam Jr., and 19-year-old Joan. The Murrays are requesting the services of a surrogate mother to help them have another child, a very special child, who will be used to donate bone marrow for Joan, who was diagnosed with leukemia 4 years earlier. Joan’s leukemia has resisted treatment. Her only hope for survival is to have a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, no acceptable donor has been found after months of searching, and the Murrays believe that time is running out for Joan. Doctors have mentioned that the best bone marrow match for Joan would probably come from her own family members, but no match has been found. Because Anne has developed a kidney disorder that will not permit her to undergo pregnancy at her age, but she is not yet menopausal, she and Sam want a surrogate mother to carry their genetic child. Using IVF and preimplantation genetic testing techniques, the Murrays want Dr. Ellis to select embryos that can be suitable donors for the bone marrow procedure and then implant them into the surrogate mother’s uterus. They are desperate to do whatever they can to help their daughter survive, even though it will mean creating this child for the purpose of using its bone marrow for Joan. They stress that they are committed to continuing to raise the child and that the objective of bone marrow donation will not interfere with their love and nurturing of another offsprin