Checks & Balances

As an example of some of the checks and balances that we highly recommend to any potential Intended Parent, a recent example typifies exactly why you need to do your homework in advance.  This case was highlighted in the media, (search for Theresa Erickson, surrogacy, in any search engine), and shows how easily clients can be duped by someone whom they assumed was an honest broker.

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the story…

 In 2011, Theresa Erickson, a previously reputable and respected attorney and owner of her own surrogacy agency, found herself on her way to federal prison in California for illegally creating what was effectively an inventory of unborn babies.  The concept was quite simple – she sent would-be surrogates to the Ukraine to receive embryos created from anonymous sperm and egg donors.  Once the women reached their second trimester, she would sell the unborn baby to unsuspecting parents waiting to be matched in her surrogacy program.  Her story was that the developing fetuses were supposedly the result of a legal surrogacy arrangement, but the original ‘parents’ had backed out. As someone who knew the legal system well, she filed declarations and pleadings with the Supreme Court of California, falsely represented that the unborn babies were in fact from legitimate surrogacy agreements between the unsuspecting ‘new’ parents and the surrogate.  In the court pleadings she filed with the court; she swore under oath that the contract was signed by the parties before the embryo transfer occurred.  Due to her respected position, no-one doubted her integrity – until her scheme fell apart when surrogates learned late in their pregnancies, that there were no actual parents for the unborn children they carried. Although California law permits surrogacy arrangements if the surrogate and the intended parents enter into an agreement prior to an embryonic transfer, it implicitly forbids the sale of parental rights to babies and children for obvious, and nefarious reasons. If a woman is pregnant BEFORE she meets the intended parents and signs a contract with them, this is not a surrogacy pregnancy and the proper course is a full adoption.