Sherry Shepherd’s Surrogate Mom Forced to Pay Child Support? Another Surrogate Mess

Sherry Shepherd

Sometimes a woman marries the wrong man. And then things become more complicated because there are children involved. This man that you should have never married is now looking for a big pay day. However, please do not allow innocent children and babies to suffer because of a highly contentious divorce and certainly do no drag the surrogate mother into your mess.

Surrogate parenting (aka Gestational Carriers) is tricky. A woman is hired to have a baby for a couple with the expectation that the couple will pay her and take responsibility for their child. She is screened very carefully to make sure that she’s healthy enough to carry a pregnancy and that there is mutual agreement with the intended parents. It is a gift not to be abused. It seems that is not the case regarding Sherri Shepherd, former co-host of the popular show, The View.

Shepherd’s estranged husband, Larry Sally, is seeking child support from Shepherd and rejected her original offer of $150,000. He has full custody of their son, who was born on August 5, and applied for Medicaid in California. The State of California is now seeking child support from the surrogate mother whose name is listed on the birth certificate. Shepherd has allegedly not seen the baby since his birth.

In surrogate arrangements, both intended parents and surrogate mom are supposed to have psychological testing prior to the arrangement. It’s uncertain whether this has occurred in the Shepherd-Sally case. Based on what has occurred, it would be prudent for the California Child Protective Services Department to intervene in this case. Someone at needs to protect the rights of the baby. Someone also needs to have an adult conversation with both Shepherd and Sally about parental responsibility. The surrogate mother SHOULD not be dragged into the middle of this dispute.

Agree or disagree? Please share your thoughts.

Dying to Have a Baby: The Death of a 56-Year Old Mother of Twins

Lisa Swinton McLaughlin

It happened again; another heart-breaking horror story. In less than 2 weeks after reporting about the death of Erica Morales, a first-time 36 year old mother who died after delivering quadruplets, Lisa Swinton McLaughlin died at age 56, one week after delivering twins. Their seminaries are uncanny. Both were women of color. Both wanted children desperately. Both were over age 35. Both had infertility treatment. Both spent many years trying to get pregnant. Both eventually became pregnant with more than one baby and both are now dead.

When we think of maternal death, images of impoverished, third-world countries with hard-to-pronounce names come to mind, not the United States. Yet American women DO die in childbirth, despite our advances in technology and medicine.

Lisa was by training both an attorney and a physician. She worked as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Nebraska and 13 years later went to medical school and ultimately worked in a high-level position for the Red Cross. One might call her a “high-achiever” but the one thing she desperately wanted was to be a mother and have children. As a physician, she knew the potential complications but forged ahead down that slippery slope towards motherhood. Sadly, she died of a bowel obstruction, mistakenly thinking that her abdominal pain was from the C-Section.

No one can or should judge Lisa’s decision to become pregnant at age 56 but everyone should know the facts:

• Older women have an increased risk of complications during pregnancy, especially if they are pregnant with more than one baby

• Fertility treatments are risky

• Adoption is a viable option for older women seeking motherhood. Just ask Diane Keaton (adopted her first child at age 50), Viola Davis, Shonda Rhimes, Meg Ryan and yours truly

• The use of surrogates is also an option if you can afford it. Angela Bassett, Nicole Kidman and Sarah Jessica Parker are members of that sacred club.

It’s admirable when a woman attempts to get pregnant, but it’s a tragedy when she dies in the process.

What Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Know About Blood Clots

Image from WebMD

Image from WebMD

Blood clots are sneaky, deadly and unfortunately occur more frequently in pregnant women – especially after they have had a baby. In a non-pregnant woman, blood clots are good because they keep us from bleeding to death after we cut our finger or scrape our knees. However during pregnancy, the body produces many blood clots (a condition known as hypercoaguability) which increase the risk of having a stroke, blood clots in the leg (deep venous thrombosis, aka DVT) which could travel to the lungs and cause death. Pregnant women are five times more likely to develop a blood clot than a non-pregnant woman and there is a greater chance that this will occur after the baby is born as opposed to before.
Who is at risk for developing blood clots during pregnancy?

• Women who are born with genetic disorders that increase the risk of blood clots (known as thrombophilia)
• Women who have had greater than 5 children
• Women who have c/sections
• Women who smoke
• Women who are obese
• Women who have had a previous blood clot
• Women who have had injuries that require them to wear a cast while pregnant
• Women who have cancer
• Women who are greater than age 30

A recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine had shed new light on this problem. It was known that pregnant women have an increased chance of having a blood clot for approximately six weeks after delivering a baby. However, a medical study of over 1.6 million women demonstrated that an increased risk of developing a blood clot can occur up to 12 weeks after the baby is born rather than six weeks. The greater risk for developing a blood clot occurs at approximately 3 weeks after having a baby but that risk might continue up until 12 weeks.

Based on this new knowledge, post partum patients at risk for blood clots must wear compression stockings and take blood thinners for approximately 12 weeks as opposed to 6 weeks. Although you healthcare provider is aware of these new changes, you should too.

Remember, a healthy pregnancy doesn’t just happen. It takes a smart mother who knows what to do.