Tough Topic - All Things Termination
Most things about surrogacy are hearts and rainbows, why wouldn’t it be when creating a baby?! Ok, fine, there is at least one important grey cloud that has to be discussed, with the honest hope that you never have to encounter this situation, termination of the pregnancy. This is a difficult topic, in a very unique situation with more parties involved because of surrogacy. Termination is part of the legal process with your Gestational Carrier Agreement, although this should be discussed while matching or at the beginning of the process when working together. The Gestational Carrier (GC) (and partner) and Intended Parent(s) (IP(s)) should think about this and figure out your threshold separately. What should be discussed about termination? Here are some general categories to start with.
“Ok with Termination” - this is a very general category and means that you are ok with termination for any reason that the intended parents decide to terminate the pregnancy. This decision by the IPs is never taken lightly and not done without good reason (typically recommended by a medical professional). Keep in mind they have invested a lot to this process; time, emotions and money.
“No to Termination”- this means you will not terminate at all, regardless of the reason. The one exception generally may be danger to the GC’s life, however it may mean no – period.
“Reduction Only”, this is a consideration with multiples and reducing the number of fetuses. There are many reasons for this, the first of them is risk. A multiple pregnancy is higher risk for the carrier and the babies. It may be medically necessary to increase the chances of life for one or more of the other fetuses. It may just be a choice to reduce the number, especially if an embryo split. Bear in mind that not all multiple pregnancies can be reduced, even if requested. If the twins are in the same amniotic sac or share a placenta the reduction of one could effectively cause the termination of both.
“Term Only Danger to Life” - This is for a situation when the GC’s life is at risk. Pregnancy comes with risk and complications so the possibility or termination in order to save the carrier’s life could arise.
“No Term for __________” – you fill in the blank. There may be specifics that you are not willing to terminate for…….down syndrome, missing limb, cleft pallet, or any other perceived “problem” with the fetus and may inhibit the babies life. This is a tough one because some “problems” can be life long and can depend on quality of life, not just for the baby that will be born but also to the IP(s) and family it will be joining.
You may be able to fit yourself easily into one category, however many times it is a combination. This can be because you have decided on your own or because the GC and IP(s) work together to find the best options for all involved. Just because you are working with someone else and you want to be matched, does not mean you should change your ideals. Be honest about what feels right for you. No matter where you stand, this is important and needs to be discussed with all parties at a match meeting, or when first meeting each other. No one ever wants to be in a termination situation, but being in agreement and working together through this process from the beginning is vital!