by Jennifer Lahl*
I was out of town over the Memorial Day weekend when I saw a notice of GoFundMe posted on Instagram informing me that another surrogate mother had died in the US.
The GoFundMe was created by Ashlee Hammonds the head of Family Makers Surrogacy, aAtlanta agency. Hammonds is trying to raise money for the children left alone - the woman's children, ed - because their mother is dead and can no longer provide for them. He asks for privacy for the family and does not want to disclose any identifying information.
Due to the scarcity of information details of the woman's death are scarce. We know that she had been a surrogate mother three times and that she was due to give birth on the day of her death. We are told by GoFundMe that it is died of an amniotic embolism, a complication of pregnancy.
We do not know whether she was carrying one or more children, nor what became of them. It is said that his daughter is about to turn 16 and that he has had other children, although we are not told how many.
Since no one else is reporting this death, I am writing about it together with other deaths of surrogate mothers I have already mentioned: Brooke Brown and the twins she was carrying, Crystal Wilhite and Michelle Reaves . These three women were wives and mothers. I wonder how many other deaths have gone unnoticed?
Today it can no longer be denied that a pregnancy surrogacy is much more risky of a spontaneous pregnancy, where the woman carries her baby.
One important study has pointed out that when comparing a normal pregnancy with surrogate pregnancies, the latter have higher rates of hypertension, gestational diabetes and placenta previa, which place both mother and child in a high-risk category.
I am often asked: "How many surrogate mothers have died?"and my answer, always the same and very sad: "Simply we don't know and we have no way of knowing because there is no traceability or monitoring'.
When this woman died, the registered cause of death was probably that something related to a pregnancy complication took her life. Nowhere will it be recorded that she was a surrogate mother.
The child's birth certificate (or children, as we do not know whether she was carrying one or two twins, or more) will not record the fact that the birth mother is dead. Most likely, due to pre-birth arrangements, the name of the birth mother will never even appear on the birth certificate.
The cover-up of #BigFertility was quick and efficient. All my efforts to find out who the woman was and where this death occurred proved to be in vain. I sent a private message to Family Matters on Facebook that I was trying to contact Hammonds.
I received a message sayingHi Jennifer, out of respect for the family we are honouring their wish by not sharing further details outside of what has already been shared on Go Fund Me reporting the tragedy. Thank you for your understanding."
Funny, my question didn't mention that death, it just said I wanted to talk to Hammond. As I was immediately prevented from sending any more messages, that door was closed. I called their offices and was unable to speak to anyone.
Their Twitter account "doesn't exist", there was such a flurry of tweets about this breaking news that I imagine it prompted them to close their account.
These are the questions I put to Hammonds. If you are reading this, I would love to talk to you.
GoFundMe allows you to see donors by 'highest donations' and I found it chilling that almost all of the major donations ($ 2,000 was the highest as I write this) have been made by people who earn a living and profit from #BigFertility: surrogacy lawyers, owners of fertility agencies and clinics. A quick Google search for the names of these donors showed this in just a few clicks.
The slogan of Family Makers Surrogacy is "Changing the lives of those we serve".. The family of the woman who died saw their lives changed tragically in the service of #BigFertility. I wonder and hope that this death will cause Hammonds to rethink his Family Maker business, given that sometimes surrogacy leads to the creation of orphans.
An orphan producer who at the time of writing this article has raised just over $ 21,000. Is this what this woman's life is worth?
*Jennifer Lahl is the founder and president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture and Stop Surrogacy Now, and producer of the documentaries "Eggsploitation", "Anonymous Father's Day", "Breeders: A Subclass of Women?" "Maggie's Story" and "#BigFertility". His new film is " Trans Mission: what is the rush to reassign the gender?".
original article heretranslated by Marina Terragni