By Holly Lebowitz Rossi
March 05, 2013

Surrogate pregnancy is not uncommon, and it usually ends well for all involved.  But a story out of Connecticut and Michigan is almost operatic in its complexity, drama, and high stakes.  CNN.com tells the story of Crystal Kelley, who acted as a gestational carrier to a Connecticut couple who wanted a fourth child and had frozen embryos from previous in vitro fertilization cycles.

Kelley became pregnant, but a routine ultrasound uncovered a number of severe birth defects in the fetus, including brain and heart abnormalities as well as a severely cleft lip and palate.  The biological parents, on hearing the news, wanted Kelley to terminate the pregnancy, but Kelley refused.

After a legal battle erupted--the contract Kelley had signed stipulated "abortion in case of severe fetus abnormality," but didn't specify what that meant--the biological parents said they wanted to take custody of the child at birth and then turn her over to Connecticut's state-run foster care system.  The case became even more complicated when it was discovered that the couple had used an anonymous egg donor to make the embryo.

Kelley, disturbed by all options on the table, fled to Michigan, where she would be considered to be the baby's mother under that state's laws.

Image: Pregnant woman in hospital, via Shutterstock

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