My thoughts on the Melissa Cook Decision- See link below..
The Order makes clear that surrogacy agreements are “presumptively valid” in California, with “[n]o minimum levels of income, intelligence, age, or ability are required for either the surrogate or the intended parent(s).”
Judge Wright notes in a footnote: “Should Cook ultimately prevail, the Court is at a loss to imagine an intended parent in this state who would contract with a gestational surrogate, knowing that the woman could, at her whim, ‘decide’ that the intended parent or parents are not up to snuff and challenge their parenting abilities in court.
If you read the above article, I’d like to mention that what has been conveniently excluded is the fact that regardless of biological status of the child, intended parents are not screened WHATSOEVER. No background check, no drug testing, no psychological evaluations, no home-study… ALL of which are baseline requirements for an adoption. The surrogacy issue is not how to protect the intended parents, it’s how to protect innocent children from being born into potentially dangerous situations.
As a surrogate myself I am not against surrogacy in concept, I’m currently 33 weeks pregnant with my new IPs’ twins, but for everyone’s sake, the IP’s should be at least checked out to some extent. Unfortunately, I learned in the hardest way possible to do my own research and exactly what was at stake in the event I ever just took people at their word again. Some of the most depraved and manipulative people are very capable of coming off as charismatic and authentic. IP’s literally undergo less screening than a person trying to adopt a dog.
That being said, for both of my surrogacy journeys I have had psychological testing, STD screening, home visitations, not to mention extensive lists of activities in which I can and can not engage included in my contracts, all so that I could be trusted to provide a hospitable environment to a child for 40 weeks. A child I grew to love and who was formed with such deliberate intention, the same child that, after 9 months of red flags, I was contractually committed to hand over to a man who would 3 years later die of a drug overdose in the same house where his daughter slept. Fortunately for her, the drug dealer (and only other present party) called the police instead of just leaving his lifeless body to be found by his daughter, or worse, taking advantage of a very vulnerable 3 year old child.
What’s worse, is that the laws protected him and never considered her, or me for that matter. After all of the formalities experienced on my end, I assumed at least as much had been considered on his end, after all, 18 years is quite bit longer than 40 weeks. This of course is not the case. After the contract was signed and the pregnancy was confirmed I spent the subsequent 9 months in psychological turmoil as I witnessed the deterioration of the representations of this person who was to become this precious child’s “parent.” Suddenly each appointment a different lover replaced the original partner to whom I was initially introduced. Although they would alternate on occasion, the main relationship in his life would turn out to be a drug addicted, live-in dependent with a propensity for violent outbursts… and yet I’m the one that was screened. For 3 years he got to take advantage of such a beautiful gift, while I struggled deeply with the role I played in her ending up in this life. She deserved a shot at a good life, yet she was a victim at conception. A victim to a self-centered, manipulative narcissist that confused property with parenting; a victim to people who were too busy minding their own business to tell it like it is, who would later admit that they “thought maybe a child would change him”; a victim to a naive do-gooder that just wanted to help a “deserving” fellow human; and finally a victim to an opportunistic institution that rewards financial investment with the life of a human being.
In my case alone, under adoption law, this man would have never been allowed to bring a child into that situation. The fact that it was later made clear that he was also abusing drugs, only helps to prove my point. The issue that uncapped needles were found within reach of the toddler on several occasions, and that she was actually holding one in her little hands just weeks before his death is only made more serious when the fact that he was, subsequent to his death, found to be both HIV and Hepatitis C positive.
The issue is not selfish, emotional surrogates that just willy-nilly change their mind, the issue is an industry that overlooks the best interest of innocent children and well-intended women to so easily allow for children to become victims. So I despise this oversimplification that surrogates are hung up on “minimum levels of income, intelligence, age, or ability for the intended parents.” The issue is that the children of surrogacy are not legally given even as much value as a dog in a shelter.
If there is to be a meaningful change in surrogacy it has to start with the screening of intended parents. We act like what’s most important is that the intended parents maintain their rights as parents, don’t you think it will only further the success of this argument if you can reasonably know whether every intended parent does not have a history of drug abuse, violence, pedophilia or are living in an environment that is indicative of the like.