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The Hard Choices Surrogates and Parents Must Make

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:07pm

By Tina

Being a surrogate was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. But it put me in the position of having to make some difficult decisions – like facing the possibility of becoming pregnant with multiples and facing the issue of selective reduction.

Last year, the Washington Post, in an article titled “ Too Much to Carry,” explained why selective reduction is used and how high-risk multiple pregnancies can be difficult for some women. It also told what the couples went through in choosing selective reduction, a decision that does not come lightly.

I’m not getting into the abortion debate. That is not what this is about. It is about the surrogate knowing her medical risks when carrying multiples. Remember: This is not just about the parents-to-be, it’s also about the surrogate and her health, her family and the lives she is carrying.

In these types of in vitro situations, multiples easily occur. Surrogates need to know what their bodies can handle before agreeing to carry someone else’s child – or children.

I told my intended parents that I was willing to carry twins but would do selective reduction if triplets resulted from the egg transplantation. Before making this decision, I consulted with my doctor to understand my physical limitations and risks. I was told I was too small to carry three babies to term. It would be too risky for the babies and me. (If it were up to me, I would have carried multiples.) Luckily, I got pregnant with twins and did not have to face this decision (phew!).

Discussing selective reduction is not easy. It must be discussed carefully and candidly and specified legally (read: put it in a contract) before anyone enters into any surrogacy relationship. The couple I helped was very understanding of my choice to selectively reduce if the situation called for it.

I know that selective reduction is not for everyone. It wasn’t something I would have considered, but in my case, the medical risks were too great.

How do others feel about selective reduction? If you’ve been a surrogate or an intended parent, how did you handle this issue?

By Tina

Being a surrogate was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. But it put me in the position of having to make some difficult decisions – like facing the possibility of becoming pregnant with multiples and facing the issue of selective reduction.

Last year, the Washington Post, in an article titled “ Too Much to Carry,” explained why selective reduction is used and how high-risk multiple pregnancies can be difficult for some women. It also told what the couples went through in choosing selective reduction, a decision that does not come lightly.

I’m not getting into the abortion debate. That is not what this is about. It is about the surrogate knowing her medical risks when carrying multiples. Remember: This is not just about the parents-to-be, it’s also about the surrogate and her health, her family and the lives she is carrying.

In these types of in vitro situations, multiples easily occur. Surrogates need to know what their bodies can handle before agreeing to carry someone else’s child – or children.

I told my intended parents that I was willing to carry twins but would do selective reduction if triplets resulted from the egg transplantation. Before making this decision, I consulted with my doctor to understand my physical limitations and risks. I was told I was too small to carry three babies to term. It would be too risky for the babies and me. (If it were up to me, I would have carried multiples.) Luckily, I got pregnant with twins and did not have to face this decision (phew!).

Discussing selective reduction is not easy. It must be discussed carefully and candidly and specified legally (read: put it in a contract) before anyone enters into any surrogacy relationship. The couple I helped was very understanding of my choice to selectively reduce if the situation called for it.

I know that selective reduction is not for everyone. It wasn’t something I would have considered, but in my case, the medical risks were too great.

How do others feel about selective reduction? If you’ve been a surrogate or an intended parent, how did you handle this issue?

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