There’s more than one way to make a family and with celebrity couples like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West turning to turning to surrogacy to expand their families, more and more regular folk are following suit.
In fact, a US study published in 2010 has shown that the surrogacy market has been “exploding” over the past 10 to 15 years, with hundreds – possibly thousands – of babies being born this way each year.
But one surrogacy story has the internet up in arms this this week after a would-be dad took to internet forum Reddit to tell his and his wife’s story.
The man’s post – shared in the Reddit thread AITA – explains that the surrogacy agency made a “rare” mistake during the conception process and that the man is not the father. The couple now no longer want the baby that the surrogate gave birth to.
The anonymous poster shared that he and his wife desperately wanted a child and turned to surrogacy after struggling to conceive.
“We paid lots of money to a surrogacy [agency] in order to have our own child together,”” he writes. “The surrogate was a nice lady who took care of her body and we got along very well.”
He goes on to say the pregnancy went smoothly and on the day she gave birth, he and his wife were “so excited”.
But as soon as the baby was born, their hopes were dashed.
“Once I saw the baby I knew that there was something wrong,” he writes. “The baby had Asian features, black hair and brown eyes, when we’re both white, blonde folks with blue eyes.”
Puzzled, the couple immediately brought up the issue with medical staff and asked that a DNA test be done. “I’m not the father,” the man admits in the post, that’s since been deleted.
Staff investigated the matter and told the couple there’d been an “extremely rare” mix-up between the surrogacy agency and the sperm bank.
Put simply, they gave the wrong sperm to the surrogate.
According to the man the surrogacy agency and the sperm bank offered to give the couple money if they didn’t go to the media or sue.
But he says he and his wife are devastated.
“We don’t care about race, we’re just upset that the baby wasn’t both of us. If he was white and not mine we still would’ve been just as upset.
“The surrogate was really heartbroken as well after we revealed what happened but can’t afford to keep it as she already has five kids.”
The shocking post immediately sent shockwaves across Reddit, with many commenters wonder why the couple were unable to love the child anyway. Others expressed heart-ache that this baby might be denied a loving home as the result of the horrible mix-up.
“I’m in tears reading this, it has ruined my day,” Redditor comments. “I know it’s a big ask but can you really not find it in your heart to love this child? He’s still been blessed to you and your wife and needs to be loved just like any other baby.”
Another Redditor points out that because the mix-up only had to do with the sperm and not the egg that was used, this is unfair to the original poster’s wife.
“The baby is biologically related to his wife,” the person writes. “If he’s using biology to justify why they’re morally allowed to abandon the baby, the wife would immorally be abandoning her child, even if he doesn’t consider it his own. If she’s ok with giving up a child she’s been wanting to have, she’d be a huge [expletive]. He’d also be the [expletive] for not accepting that his wife’s child is also his child, even if they’re not related by blood.”
At the same time, there were plenty of people who were firmly on the man’s side.
“It’s not the child they wanted to have,” one writes. “They specifically went with surrogacy to get a child that was biologically theirs. That is the entire point of surrogacy. Whether that’s morally right or not is another question, and a difficult one. But it seems pretty clear to me that neither got what they wanted.”
Another put it more bluntly, saying: “No way, man. That kid’s gotta go and the company needs suing out of business.”
In the end, the man updated his post by saying he and his wife, as the baby’s legal guardians, had made their decision. “We’re contacting an adoption agency to place the baby in a loving home,” he writes.
Here’s hoping that things work out for the child.