(LifeSiteNews) — A surrogate mother has spoken out about how two homosexual men who paid for the baby she carried demanded that she abort the child and threatened her with a lawsuit after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Brittney Pearson, a 37-year-old mother of four in Sacramento, California, recently shared her experience as a surrogate, which ended abruptly when she received a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis, leading her to deliver the child she carried 15 weeks before his due date. The baby’s adoptive “parents” — a pair of homosexual men — reportedly insisted on abortion instead, as they did not want a child who could have medical issues, and demanded that no life-saving treatment be given to him if born alive. They also sought to stop Pearson from giving the boy up for adoption, saying that they did not want their “DNA out there.”
Speaking to Center for Bioethics and Culture (CBC) president Jennifer Lahl, who first publicized the story, Pearson expressed her frustration at feeling like “a rented uterus” when the men disregarded her condition.
Pearson explained that she was diagnosed with cancer in May at roughly 24 weeks’ gestation. Having participated in surrogacy two years earlier with no complications, she first contacted the agency that she worked with to ask “how I was supposed to handle” the situation.
“I made it very clear to my OB [obstetrician], my oncology team, and the agency that my main focus was making sure that I could continue the pregnancy and that the baby would be OK, which the oncology team confirmed at that time the cancer that I had was totally fine for me to continue,” Pearson said.
But other tests found that the cancer was more serious, requiring two treatments that would harm the developing baby if taken during pregnancy. However, doctors “were still confident that I would be OK waiting to start those other two and do just the first two for now, to get me through the rest of the pregnancy.”
Upon learning of her diagnosis, Pearson said that the two men “kind of freaked out a little bit” and suddenly became “a little more intrusive” than she desired.
Pearson said that she wanted to get updates by herself and share the information with the men rather than having them present at her doctor’s appointments. However, “they weren’t happy with that” and began “reaching out to everybody … and threatening lawsuits.” When legal fights hung in the balance, Pearson’s oncology doctors put her treatment on hold to verify with lawyers their rights to continue tending to her illness regardless of the men’s demand that she receive no treatment while pregnant.
“They threatened my OB, they threatened my oncology team, so then my oncology team was like, ‘Well, we need to get our lawyers involved, because we don’t know if we can give you chemo without their permission,’” she said.
“I felt like just a rented uterus. I felt like they only cared about their baby [and] I obviously cared because I didn’t want anything to happen to the baby either, but they didn’t care about me at all,” she added. “They would say it to me, they would text me [and say], we’re here for you, whatever you need, but then to all my doctors they’d be completely different.”
When an MRI showed that the cancer had metastasized and chemotherapy would no longer be an effective treatment, doctors suggested “termination” or “just having the baby” early so that Pearson could continue treatment without hurting the child in her womb.
However, the men were adamantly against the baby being born before 38 weeks, falsely claiming that a child born even at 34 weeks would be “blind and deaf” and may not survive.
Despite “multiple families” willing to adopt the child instead, the men “refus[ed] any type of medical intervention,” demanding that the baby be aborted rather than being raised by other people.
“They just wanted their baby’s remains and to move on with life,” Pearson said.
When asked about the delivery, she refrained from sharing details beyond that she gave birth at 25 weeks, that “the baby is not alive, and the parents should have [the] remains by now.”
Details on whether the baby was born alive and received treatment at the hospital have not been confirmed by Pearson. The identities of the men have also not been disclosed.
“I did surrogacy, you know, to give people a baby and try to help in ways that not everybody could, and they took the whole experience and just completely ruined it,” Pearson said. “In their head, they owned me and my body and that’s not what surrogacy is supposed to be.”
According to Pearson, the contract that she had with the two men stated that “while he [the baby] is still inside of me, I had full control [and] as soon as he’s born, I have no control.” Such language left her with the authority to choose her treatment, which eventually led to premature delivery. Treatment for the child after birth was left up to the men, who presumably did not ensure that there was any in place, although no details about what happened prior to the infant’s death have been confirmed.
She also clarified that since the baby died, monthly payments being sent to her in line with the contract had stopped and that she has not been in contact with the men. Despite the tragic loss of the baby and coming down with cancer — a diagnosis that Lahl speculated may be connected to fertility drugs that the mother was taking — Pearson still defended surrogacy as “a great tool.”
She told the Daily Mail that the men had cremated the baby’s remains, a decision she disagreed with and “didn’t understand since they didn’t see him as a baby at all.”
‘Surrogacy is wrong’
Upon hearing about Pearson’s experience from a friend who happened to be related to the mother, Lahl wrote an article for the CBC in which she described the case as an example of “how surrogacy is wrong, is harmful and is bad for women and for children.”
After describing the situation, Lahl explained that Pearson’s family contacted Child Protective Services (CPS) and local law enforcement for verification that the hospital would be required to care for the baby if he was born prematurely. However, police informed them that “this was up to the hospital, and they knew of no law that would allow them to intervene” as a case of infanticide.
“This case highlights many of the problems with contracted, largely commercial, pregnancy,” Lahl wrote. “The mother wanted to try and deliver early, in hopes of saving the baby, and being allowed to start her cancer treatment in hopes of saving her life. But California law recognizes the contracting intended parents in surrogacy arrangements as the legal parents [and] they alone can make decisions around the care of the baby. In this case, refusing care.”
“These real stories are never splashed on the cover of magazines or make headline news,” Lahl continued. “They don’t support the narrative of Big Fertility, which is to be an angel and help people build a family and get a cute healthy baby they so desperately want. These stories highlight there are real losers that pay a huge price, even if it is their own life.”