This week’s cover story (“Meet the Twiblings” by Melanie Thernstrom) does last year’s (or rather late 2009’s) “Her Body, My Baby” one better: Thernstrom has not just one child via a gestational surrogate, but two, via two surrogates, at the same time. Dare to judge!
Generally, this story is very positive on surrogacy and egg donation. Thernstrom was infertile and unhappy, and egg donation and surrogacy provided her with two healthy children. Furthermore, the medical procedures went smoothly: the first retrieval resulted in a good number of healthy embryos; enough for two separate transfers that both resulted in live births. She is brave (and right) not to consider her egg donor and carriers as threats to her own maternity.
The piece is her own personal story, so one cannot quibble with her statements of feelings and opinions. But two egregious unsubstantiated points stood out: “The Internet was filled with stories of predatory egg-donation and surrogacy agencies” and “There were several cases of surrogacy in recent years in which the surrogate succeeded in keeping the baby despite an absence of any genetic connection.” On the former, the Internet is filled with a lot of stories, many untrue. The vast majority of egg donation agencies are reputable. On the latter, I am unsure of these “several” cases to which she refers. But if a surrogacy takes place in a state with established legal protections in place, and governed by a proper contract, the carrier would have no claims to the child.