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Law hurts surrogates: advocates

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October 21st, 2011, 06:30 PM
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Law hurts surrogates: advocates - Winnipeg Free Press

SURROGATE Cathleen Hachey was three centimetres dilated when the intended parents of the twins she was carrying announced they wouldn't be coming for the babies.

Hachey, 27 weeks pregnant, was being monitored in hospital after an ultrasound showed she was at risk of early labour.

The 20-year-old from Bathurst, N.B., had been text-messaging about her condition with the British couple. She expected them to say they'd be on the next plane, she said.

Hachey said she sobbed uncontrollably in her hospital bed after the intended mother told her she couldn't take the twins, since she and her husband had separated.

"She said, to break it all off... 'I'm not physically or mentally able to take care of another person right now,' " Hachey said.

Surrogacy advocates said they are often asked about the likelihood of a surrogate taking a baby, but Sally Rhoads-Heinrich said she's seen the opposite.

"I tell these couples I've never seen a surrogate not give the baby; it's usually the other way around," said Rhoads-Heinrich, who runs Surrogacy in Canada Online.

The risks surrogates take are partly due to Canada's complex laws, advocates said.

The laws are supposed to keep surrogacy from becoming commercialized, but critics say they're creating a barrier to better protection for surrogates and would-be parents.

"The legislation is so confusing. It's not like the U.S., where these contracts are commercial so the surrogate could go after (the intended parents) and sue them or charge them for not paying or leaving her with financial loss," said Rhoads-Heinrich, who was a gestational surrogate in 2000 for a Maryland couple. "Contracts are not (enforceable) in Canada; there are no precedent cases."

In 2004, Canada's Assisted Human Reproduction Act made it illegal to pay a surrogate a fee for carrying a child. It's also illegal to be paid to match surrogates with parents. Surrogacy can only be done for altruistic reasons and surrogates can only be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses.

A Supreme Court ruling last year upheld Quebec's challenge of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, ruling provincial governments have the exclusive right to regulate the industry, opening the door to better checks and balances, Rhoads-Heinrich said.

The intended mother of the children Hachey was carrying cut off contact with Hachey after the farewell text message. Hachey said she never heard from the couple again.

On June 28, she had a girl and boy and found a Nova Scotia couple who adopted them after having spent years on adoption lists.

After the British couple backed out, Hachey called lawyers and surrogacy agencies to figure out what she could do. She said she was told: "They are your biological children, so they are your biological problem."

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 15, 2011 A24
Mommy to Damon TS to Kyle 10/07 GS for E and R--WE ARE PREGNANT!!
Try 1--Sept 2010 negative Try 2--Jan 2011 negative
Try 3--May 2011-miscarried at 5 weeks
Transfer 4---PREGNANT!!! BFP @ 5.5dp3dt Beta at 11dp3dt was 164.6

Ultrasound showed TWO BABIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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