Surrogate Mother Threatened By Gay Couple To Abort Baby After Cancer Diagnosis, Blocked From Offering Child Up For Adoption

Brittney Pearson was legally threatened by the purchasing couple if she didn't immediately terminate the pregnancy, and they also told her that they didn't want their "DNA out there."

By Gina Florio3 min read
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A shocking revelation has surfaced involving a California mother who says she was instructed to terminate her surrogate pregnancy at 24 weeks by the prospective fathers after her diagnosis with breast cancer. Brittney Pearson, 37, from Sacramento shared that she was diagnosed with breast cancer in May when she was 22 weeks pregnant. According to Pearson, following a full body MRI that revealed the severity of her cancer, the gay couple who hired her as a surrogate resorted to legal threats to pressure her into terminating the pregnancy.

Surrogate Mother Threatened by Gay Couple to Abort Baby after Cancer Diagnosis

The initial plan was for Pearson to undergo a form of chemotherapy treatment that was safe for the pregnancy, according to the Daily Mail. Doctors at Sutter Health Medical Centre in Sacramento were optimistic about the treatment, planning to induce delivery at 34 weeks gestation. The prospective fathers, who reside in Southern California, purportedly agreed to this plan.

However, the relationship between Pearson and the prospective parents deteriorated when it was discovered that her HER2+ cancer had advanced more than anticipated, requiring more aggressive chemotherapy. Pearson claims the gay couple then insisted the baby be "immediately terminated" and "erased", out of concern the baby would have significant health issues if born before 34 weeks. But Pearson's thought was, "I want to keep this baby safe & bring it earthside." She refused to kill the child in her womb.

Further adding to the complexity of Pearson's case, The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network, an anti-surrogacy group that first reported on Pearson's case, claims the prospective fathers also attempted to prevent Pearson from carrying the child to term and giving it up for adoption. They allegedly expressed their reluctance to have their "DNA out there", being raised by someone else.

Pearson spoke of the distress she endured after the prospective fathers allegedly "threatened everyone they could with a lawsuit", including her, her agency, and Sutter Health. Pearson, a mother of four who had previously completed a successful round of surrogacy, says she felt like a "rented-out uterus", describing the experience as "frustrating", "betraying", and "heartbreaking".

Surrogacy laws in California offered no rights to Pearson or the baby; as the situation unfolded, Pearson found a hospital that would deliver her baby at 25 weeks pregnant. However, as soon as the child was born, the purchasing couple immediately had legal "ownership" of the baby boy—and they demanded that life-saving care be withheld from the child. He died shortly after he was born. The couple's decision to cremate the fetus' remains added to Pearson's grief and bewilderment.

Pearson decided to share her story to prevent others from having a similar experience. Despite her traumatic ordeal, she maintains that surrogacy has its merits, although she emphasizes the importance of better screening processes for prospective parents.

Jennifer Lahl, president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network, highlighted this case as exemplifying the many issues with commercialized surrogacy. She stated, "I often say, there are plenty of reasons to get people to see how surrogacy is wrong, is harmful, and is bad for women and for children."

Currently undergoing treatment and unable to work, Pearson, a mother of four children aged 3, 5, 12, and 13, is receiving assistance from her sisters, Courtney and Ashley Pearson, who have created a GoFundMe page to help alleviate financial stress during this heartbreaking time.

This story has gone viral on various social media accounts, especially after being shared by conservative commentators such as Lila Rose and Allie Beth Stuckey. Pearson sat down for interviews with both podcast hosts and told her side of the story, eliciting much anger and outrage from people who were disgusted by how cavalier the purchasing couple treated this innocent child. Surrogacy may be marketed as a beautiful process that "allows" couples to become parents when they're not able to biologically have children, but it is nothing more than an inhumane exchange that uses women's bodies as objects and treats babies as a commodity. While there are surrogacy situations where the child is safely delivered into the hands of a couple, it's stories like this that shed light on how dark the industry has become.

The purchasing couple treated a human baby as if he was a product to be sold. Because this baby boy shared DNA with one of the gay men, they claimed that they had "ownership" over him (and the state of California supported them in this) and thus stopped him from receiving lifesaving care. This is the same logic used previously by slave owners. Just because people are given legal "ownership" over someone (just like slave owners were given "ownership" over slaves) doesn't make it moral or appropriate. That baby boy deserved a shot at life, regardless of who his biological parents were. It's time we start to see the surrogacy industry for what it really is: an inhumane system that rents women's wombs and passes around children as if they're pets.

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