After I read CNN’s story about Crystal Kelly, I developed a splitting headache. As an ob-gyn physician, a former infertility patient and an adoptive mother, I have walked down that bumpy road towards parenthood. However, Kelly’s story illustrates how complex things can become when the conditions of the pregnancy falls outside of the proverbial box called “normal.”
Kelly needed money and someone wanted a baby. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately it wasn’t. The baby had several abnormalities and the biological parents wanted her to abort. She refused. She was offered $10,000 to have an abortion and “in a moment of weakness” she had asked for $15,000. The biological parents refused to pay that price. Kelly then had a “change of heart” and decided to maintain her position to keep the baby. The biological couple’s lawyer sent threatening letters warning Kelly that time was running out. In the contract that she signed was a provision that stated an abortion should be obtained in the event of an abnormal baby.
A legal battle ensued regarding who had legal authority over the baby. Kelly was originally in Connecticut where the biological parents had legal custody so she moved to Michigan with her three children, applied for Medicaid and planned to deliver at a hospital that specialized in taking care of special needs babies. In the midst of the legal battle for custody, it was discovered that the pregnancy was conceived by IVF with the use of an anonymous donor’s egg. Therefore, the baby’s “biological “mother was not her “legal” mother.
Once Kelly reached Michigan, she decided that she could not care for the baby and found a couple to adopt the baby. The baby was subsequently born with an abnormal brain, a cleft palate and other severe problems. The biological parents have fought and won the right to keep in touch with the adoptive parents and see the baby.
The prognosis of the baby is not good. She is presently eight months old, requires several surgeries and only has a 25% chance of having a “normal” life. Did Kelly make the right decision? I’ll let you be the judge of that.