Gay Dads Left $34k In Debt After Surrogate Demands More Money, Then Refuses To Hand Over Twin Daughters
It's a very difficult and selfless act that can help someone complete their family.
It's also filled with a lot of controversy, as the situation can be abused if you aren't protected.
This arrangement benefits the rich over others, as paying for options for becoming a parent is an expensive process and they have the resources to do so. But for people on the bubble, surrogacy, in vitro fertilization, fertility treatments and even adoption can use most of their available resources in their quest to have children.
In many countries, it's also possible for the surrogate to back out and fight the parents for custody, even when both the egg and sperm are implanted.
Without proper legal protection, there may be nothing the other party can do about it.
Steven and Marc Winchester-Horscraft found out about this the hard way.
After a previous successful surrogacy that gave them their son, they wanted to complete their family. The couple said they got to know and befriend their surrogates before they tried to get pregnant, even inviting their second surrogate and her boyfriend to their wedding.
When they finally got pregnant, they were overjoyed to find out it was twins. This increased the pregnancy costs the surrogate billed them for, but they were happy to pay the £17,000 ($22,280) requested to cover her costs. It is illegal in many countries to pay a surrogate for their services, however the parents can be contracted to cover the costs associated with the pregnancy for their surrogate.
However, the babies were born at 28 weeks, and had to spend time in the NICU.
"Having our girls in NICU was only the very beginning of our long, excruciating nightmare."
@PinkNews Surrogacy is an amazing thing usually, the women who do it to give anyone, straight or gay, a family of t… https://t.co/Xe8nRdXekC— Jay (@Jay)1578397874.0
"It's super easy to donate. The story is heart breaking. How cruel people can be." - Motorcyclegrrl
This story is absolutely horrible, here's the link to their GoFundMe page to help them: https://t.co/6P21Xamvkp https://t.co/oEKvVemOgr— マ 💛🦌🖤🦅 (@マ 💛🦌🖤🦅)1578410505.0
"This story is horrendous.
"These poor men. Their poor babies. Donated!!! Thank you for sharing their story."
"The community works so hard to form families of biological origin. Surrogacy, IVF, trans-implantation of eggs, oh man. So much science."
"And to have something so selfish happen to them. OVER MONEY."
"I just can't even..."
"I know there's 2 sides to every story so I'm sure there's more to it.... But god damn... Stop hurting people for profit." - TrixieGears
As the little girls fought for their lives, the surrogate's boyfriend tried to get more money from the couple. He asked for another £3,000 (almost $4,000 USD) which the couple didn't have after already paying the £17,000 ($22,280) the surrogate already asked for.
"Before our surrogate was discharged she wanted the remainder of her pregnancy expenses to be paid, which we paid with out any fuss... nearly 17k in total."
After turning him down, the surrogate texted the couple to say they would not list Steven, the biological father, on the birth certificate, nor would she sign over parental rights.
According to Steven:
"A couple of days later I receive a text saying because we have not paid the extra money, our surrogate will not be putting me (the biological father) on the birth certificate and she will not sign a parental order (a form needed to remove surrogates parental responsibility giving it to the couple the babies were conceived for)."
The couple didn't have extra money for a lawyer at that moment, as they put all their money into the final expenses the surrogate asked them to pay.
So they took out loans to get legal advice.
@PinkNews This is why you should have contracts. Surrogate or sperm donor have a legally binding contract agreeing everything beforehand.— lonelysleepwaker ♿♎ ♀🐀🌈 (@lonelysleepwaker ♿♎ ♀🐀🌈)1578401709.0
#Gay #fathers left in £43,000 debt after #surrogate refused to hand over their #newborn #twin #daughters. - This i… https://t.co/8ntXo9GndR— Susan Larson 🏳️🌈 (@Susan Larson 🏳️🌈)1578416851.0
As legal proceedings began, the surrogate also put a ban on the couple seeing the children.
She claimed her boyfriend was the father of the girls. Eventually, a DNA test proved she was lying and the couple now has custody of the twins.
But not without great cost.
Currently, the couple is sitting in debt of £26,000 ($34,000 USD) after all the legal fees. This is a lot, both in terms of money, and just the story itself.
It has brought up the question online about the ethics of surrogates.
Gay fathers in £43K debt after surrogate refused to hand over twins https://t.co/uio50Xb7eU < should have adopted t… https://t.co/kdIe4X1PpQ— Tackleberry (@Tackleberry)1578386019.0
@laurajanejenny @PinkNews It wasn't that she couldn't hand over the babies, it was a matter of wanting more money f… https://t.co/L7YhWwzPPl— Agent007 (@Agent007)1578415342.0
@DailyMailUK Her body, her choice— Collinz (@Collinz)1578422699.0
@Femail Her twin daughters.— Megan Wills (@Megan Wills)1578387745.0
The couple started a GoFundMe to try and cover some of the legal costs.
"We are both nurses and have spent our working lives caring for others. I guess I am just hoping for some help from others in order to get us out of this awful situation. Due to our surrogates actions we have not been able to enjoy the time we have had with our girls. Both having to try and work as much as we possibly can to break even and get us out of this downward spiral."
At time of writing, they have about £6,400 raised of the £26,000 they are asking for.
They understand that they are asking for a lot, when it comes to this donation, but they aren't expecting it to fully fund.
"I understand that the amount we are hoping for is most likely unrealistic, but we would be eternally [grateful] for any help at all."
If you're looking at fertility options for any reason, the book Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (What You Need to Know About Surrogacy, Egg Donation, and Sperm Donation) is available here.
Chris Evans Exposes Troubling U.S. Policy That Strips Citizenship From The Children Of LGBT Americans
He may only play a superhero on the big screen, but off it, Chris Evans is doing his part to help people.
The man who would be Captain America is a very vocal critic of the Trump administration. His personal politics have even got him in trouble with some contingents of fans.
Recently, he helped bring attention to a U.S. policy that is making it difficult for LGBTQ parents to register their kids as citizens.
Take a minute to read this. It’s maddening. We are regressing. https://t.co/cQptvKZAar— Chris Evans (@Chris Evans)1557949615.0
Evans retweeted an article from The Daily Beast written by Scott Bixby. It's a deep investigation into a policy that is disproportionately affecting LGBTQ+ parents.
The problem began with a State Department policy enacted in 2014, that has been reinterpreted recently by theTrump administration. The new policy redefined how the State Department classified children of U.S. citizens born abroad and their relation to their parents.
Despite whatever may be on the birth certificate, or the legal status of the parents, if the genetic father is not married to the woman giving birth, the baby is considered born out of wedlock. This makes it more difficult to obtain citizenship for the new baby.
Gay couples are disproportionately affected by the new reading of the policy, which had its enforcement changed recently.
I agree with Chris Evans... this is maddening! These are not the kind of values that America is supposed to be abo… https://t.co/AUYBdT5Dcq— April (@April)1558118779.0
@ChrisEvans This is absolutely terrible!! It not only punishes lgbt parents but also the kids! Just another example… https://t.co/2dOscpvwzQ— Sydney (@Sydney)1558018352.0
@ChrisEvans This is absolutely disgusting and dehumanising. America, you need to do better. Why are we forgetting… https://t.co/dQxsA6YAQe— Luke Waltham (@Luke Waltham)1557950113.0
THIS is our Captain America, a spokesperson for LGBT rights.. I salute you Cap! @ChrisEvans https://t.co/KGrne6PR60— danilo (@danilo)1557965373.0
Bixby's article is a deep look into a couple's efforts to have their child registered as a citizen, a process that has become needlessly more difficult since they did this with their last child two years ago.
Chris Evans saw the story and shared it with his more than 11 million followers, helping spread the word about this policy.
The Trump Administration has been very vocal in their war against "anchor babies." In their attempt to stop people with U.S. citizen children from becoming citizens, they made things more difficult for people who are citizens to begin with.
They claimed in the article this policy is "longstanding guidance"—the same excuse they gave for their family separation policy, but the Foreign Affairs Manual that addressed the policy was updated in 2018. Since then, US citizen parents have noticed the policy very unevenly applied compared to two years ago.
Despite this, you still have people supporting the new policy, which is why it's good Evans brought more attention to this article.
We need to fight this. https://t.co/jrLOgEi1VQ— Yvette Medina (@Yvette Medina)1558055751.0
@Faiith72 @ChrisEvans You are not the judge of whether two mothers or two fathers are nuturing or not. The fact you… https://t.co/ZDMSek9glH— 💜✌🏻💜 Alifiya Shikari 💜✌🏻💜 (@💜✌🏻💜 Alifiya Shikari 💜✌🏻💜)1558118253.0
@RUTHNCOLEE @ChrisEvans I truly believe Trump is referring to the late 1940’s and early 1950’s as the great era. LG… https://t.co/Xntt6vcN4O— Mindy 🐾 (@Mindy 🐾)1558049665.0
@crystallpurvis @ChrisEvans @LillyGulliver Babies' rights to be a naturalized citizen.— SuZen Cho (@SuZen Cho)1558025766.0
Evans has been very vocal about his political views. He, along with many other celebrities, have been criticizing the draconian abortion bills being passed in several states around the country.
After his retirement, or maybe just an extended vacation, from playing Captain America, he was teasing a new project. This one involved him working with politicians, which for a while, had people thinking he might dabble in politics himself.
It was recently revealed that this was for a bipartisan website that allows candidates and parties to present their views and arguments on current political issues.
"I just thought, 'Why isn't there a place I can go to hear both sides of an issue in a succinct way that I can trust?'"
Many people are feeling the same way about the White House lately. Why isn't there a place we can trust?
34-year-old twins Jill Noe and Whitney Bliesner have been best friends their whole lives.
The pair are inseparable.
When Noe heard her sister was in need, it was second nature to offer help.
Whitney Bliesner has a rare genetic condition known as neurofibromatosis type 2, which causes noncancerous fibrous tumors to develop in her nervous system.
The hormonal changes that are a normal part of pregnancy stand a good chance of making this worse, so it isn't safe for Whitney to become pregnant. The tumors have already led to Bliesner's loss of sight in one eye and hearing in one ear.
Bliesner and Noe are fraternal twins, they do not share all of their DNA, so the genetic condition that affects Whitney isn't present in Jill.
When Whitney confided in Jill that she really wanted a baby, but surrogates and adoption were prohibitively expensive, Jill didn't hesitate before offering to act as a surrogate for her sister and her husband.
"I was like, yeah! Let's just do it! Let's just see where this goes and let's see if I can get my body to where it needs to be to have your kids."
Whitney spoke with The New York Post about her reaction to Jill's offer:
"I was speechless at first. She was giving up her life to do this for me."
Noe has always been very athletic, formerly playing basketball for Arizona State University. Bliesner told CNN that she was shocked her sister would give up that lifestyle for her.
"I was very happy and excited, but also shocked, because I know how active and fun and exciting her life is, and for her to want to actually stop that for me was just kind of like a shock."
Because of Whitney's medical concerns, they were unable to use her eggs, so the couple opted for a donor egg fertilized with Whitney's husband's sperm.
"We couldn't use my eggs because there's a 50/50 chance I could pass it on and I just don't think I would be able to live with myself if I knew I passed this condition to my kids."
Jill is currently in a relationship and said that things can get a bit awkward when meeting people for the first time. She told The Post:
"I tell people I'm a surrogate for my twin sister. As I see their wheels turning, I offer up the information that they used a donor egg and her husband's sperm — and no, I did not sleep with her husband!"
The ASU Alumni Association shared the news of Noe's act of love on Twitter.
From Sun Devil to surrogate, #ASUAlumni and former @SunDevilWBB player Jill Noe gives new meaning to the word team… https://t.co/gB1kumJHSD— ASU Alumni (@ASU Alumni)1554772504.0
Noe also shared the story on Facebook, to many congratulations from both friends and family, and the general public.
Family being there for family is nothing new, but the love that Noe has shared for her sister with this one act is remarkable.
She truly wants her sister to be happy.
"She's had so many things taken away from her. This is a way I can help provide her with two beautiful children."