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  1. #1
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    "A cautionary tale for couples using surrogates"

    A cautionary tale for couples using surrogates

    One couple vows to continue battle with woman who decided to keep baby

    By Mike Celizic
    TODAYShow.com contributor
    Updated: 9:56 a.m. CT Oct 23, 2007

    Despite a court ruling against them, a Florida couple vows to continue their legal battle to gain custody of a child born by the woman they hired as a surrogate, but who then decided to keep the baby.

    The issue, Tom and Gwyn Lamitina say, is not about Florida surrogacy law, which clearly gives the woman the right to the child. They are fighting for Tom Lamitina’s rights as the father of the child.

    See link...

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21435600/

    Looks to me like they tried to do this on "the cheap". No donor egg, no attourney... they could have protected themselves a LOT better in this case if they were going to use this method. They should have researched it better. Sounds like they "lucked out" the first time.

  2. #2
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    I am just really not feeling sympathy for these people.

    They tried to "buy" a baby and circumvent the law.
    HMMM?? maybe that is the the mother changed her mind???

  3. #3
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    Sounds like the mother of the baby wanted another child and found a way to get it...along with 1500 dollars. Wonder who paid the insemination fees? Or maybe ...there weren't any!~

  4. #4
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    I feel bad for the couple given her age I would guess this may have been their only option for having children. Due to the fact no problems came up during the first child's birth they probably did feel OK with out a lawyer. My thing is I feel as if the surrogate was pissed because they wanted her to stop smoking.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spazkat9696 View Post
    I feel bad for the couple given her age I would guess this may have been their only option for having children. Due to the fact no problems came up during the first child's birth they probably did feel OK with out a lawyer. My thing is I feel as if the surrogate was pissed because they wanted her to stop smoking.
    Adoption is an option also. $1500 is not enough money for me to go through a pregancy...JMO. Seems even if they had an attorney, the surrogate could still change her mind according to the law if it was her egg. I don't understand about the father not having paternal rights though.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SadieMae View Post
    Adoption is an option also. $1500 is not enough money for me to go through a pregancy...JMO. Seems even if they had an attorney, the surrogate could still change her mind according to the law if it was her egg. I don't understand about the father not having paternal rights though.

    I know I should have been a little more clear. I was meaning as far as a child with any biological relationship. Her eggs may not have been any good. I know this one woman who loves being pregnant I think she would do it for free just cause she likes it. Crazy I know.

  7. #7
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    I don't understand why the dad's paternal rights were voided when he never waived them. At the very least, there should be a hearing to determine custody, just as if they had a one night stand or some other broken relationship. Why does he deserve to have his bio child walking around in the world and no right to see her or contact her or know how she is doing? They didn't even know she was born until they heard about it in the press!

    The bio mom's smoking goes into the win column for dad, IMHO. Also, her credibility is questionable since she didn't even make it halfway through the pregnancy before completely shutting out this couple. How honest is she, really?

    $1500 is only what they paid in the first month...before she cut off all contact.

    I think she heard about some of these adoption scams and saw $$$.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by angelmom View Post
    I don't understand why the dad's paternal rights were voided when he never waived them. At the very least, there should be a hearing to determine custody, just as if they had a one night stand or some other broken relationship. Why does he deserve to have his bio child walking around in the world and no right to see her or contact her or know how she is doing? They didn't even know she was born until they heard about it in the press!

    The bio mom's smoking goes into the win column for dad, IMHO. Also, her credibility is questionable since she didn't even make it halfway through the pregnancy before completely shutting out this couple. How honest is she, really?

    $1500 is only what they paid in the first month...before she cut off all contact.

    I think she heard about some of these adoption scams and saw $$$.
    I don't know if she was really in it for money. From the article, she's delivered 3 other babies for surrogates, but it didn't say from her egg or the bio mom's eggs. I can see how the couple would think there wouldn't be a problem later for the surrogate to release the infant since she's done it 3 times before, AND she already has 2 of her own children. the $1500 could be for prenatal care, food, etc.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SadieMae View Post
    I don't know if she was really in it for money. From the article, she's delivered 3 other babies for surrogates, but it didn't say from her egg or the bio mom's eggs. I can see how the couple would think there wouldn't be a problem later for the surrogate to release the infant since she's done it 3 times before, AND she already has 2 of her own children. the $1500 could be for prenatal care, food, etc.
    1500 for prenatal care...not where I live. Maybe 4000 or so.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by deandaniellws View Post
    1500 for prenatal care...not where I live. Maybe 4000 or so.
    There is NO way that this woman got out of this with even a 4,000 dollar bill. A regular birth is probably 4K... without a c-section. And she sounds like she has had MULTIPLE pregnancies, she has had two kids of her own, 3 babies for other people... this is her sixth baby. somewhere along the way, she's probably had a c-section (research statistics say, in our c-section happy society!!). so, I bet she was a c-section or a repeat c-section (but i could always be wrong!!! Michelle Dugger, mom of 17 had her baby vaginally, right????!!!) c-sections cost more than regular births. plus you add in costs for the care of the baby... and if she had to come to the hospital for any prenatal monitoring, if she had any complications... lab work... ANYTHING... i mean, wow... the bill could get big quick, you know? and if she's been having her "job" as a surrogate (this was her FOURTH baby!!!)... and now she's been out of work now for a while... i wonder who really is paying for this? the state? or does she have another job and have insurance (and WOULD IT COVER A SURROGATE BABY!!!)

    what kind of reproductive technology did she have to use to concieve? was there any at all (i mean, come on?) or did they use a turkey baster? otherwise, ANY doctors visits, ect WERE NOT covered by this woman's "insurance"... they would have been out of pocket for this family... so all her costs for this child would have been MUCH more than 1500 bucks... JUST TO GET PREGNANT. or were they billed to the surrogate? even an insemination... carefully timed... would have been much more than 1500 bucks you know. that stuff is expensive!! and a regular birth is much more than that for her to pay (1500 dollars)!! But, doing it on the cheap by not using a donor egg... thus not protecting themselves (this allowed the surrogate to keep the baby because it was biologically HER baby, and by state law, this father only had the same rights as a sperm donor... she would actually be giving this baby up for adoption to this family).

    And WTF were they doing by not researching her in the first place? Why would you EVER pick a surrogate that smoked, then try to get on to her after the fact (oh sorry, we own you now... you have to stop!!!??!??!?!?!?!?!) Also, if this was her 6th pregnancy... most people would place that as kind of a higher risk... not an emergency by any means... but with that does come with a certain amount of increased risk during the pregnancy and birth (especially to the mother).

    Most surrogates are paid between 20,000 and 35,000 dollars... some much higher. And most of the time, a signifigant portion of this is paid up front to the surrogate... especially during the time conception is occuring. That is a really hard time for the surrogate and her family, when hormones are running high (injections to get and maintain a pregnancy, losses, ect). Then amounts throughout the pregnancy for upkeep (travel to physicians, clothing, high risk OB appointments... some surrogants end up with multiple gestations), then at the end after the birth. I was reading one case online where the really nice family that had a surrogate even offered to pay to have their surrogate go to couseling for a pre-determined set number of visits after the birth. The interview they had said that they had a really good relationship with their surrogate, and the surrogate had seen their twins about 1 to 2 times a year (I do not even think that the surrogate was biologically related to these people, but they were just really good people). They treated her like an extended member of the family.

    While I have never had to consider this, I have always thought that this was an EXTREMELY interesting medical / legal issue. However, this couple has COMPLETELY lost my sympathy. Just something about them. THey seem very presumpuous (sp?). They really got themselves into some deep doo-doo with this one... they should have taken better steps to protect themselves if they were going to tread on such contraversial water, you know? Not just throw sperm... and CHILDREN... around like that. If I EVER thought that there was a chance that someone else could be carrying my hubbys child... by MY choice.... and I wouldn't be bringing that baby home... I wouldn't ever risk it unless I had an IRON proof case. And they could have done that by just using a donor egg!!!


  11. #11
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    I think when they flipped out over her smoking she decided she didn't want to place a child with them.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by angelmom View Post
    I don't understand why the dad's paternal rights were voided when he never waived them. At the very least, there should be a hearing to determine custody, just as if they had a one night stand or some other broken relationship. Why does he deserve to have his bio child walking around in the world and no right to see her or contact her or know how she is doing? They didn't even know she was born until they heard about it in the press!

    The bio mom's smoking goes into the win column for dad, IMHO. Also, her credibility is questionable since she didn't even make it halfway through the pregnancy before completely shutting out this couple. How honest is she, really?

    $1500 is only what they paid in the first month...before she cut off all contact.

    I think she heard about some of these adoption scams and saw $$$.
    I agree about the father's rights. It seems to me he should have the status of birth father and receive at least partial custody.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by deandaniellws View Post
    Sounds like the mother of the baby wanted another child and found a way to get it...along with 1500 dollars. Wonder who paid the insemination fees? Or maybe ...there weren't any!~

    You're so funny!!!!!! She got a sweetheart deal then huh?

    It'd be even better if she could get a bunch of child support out of him each month too, huh????? But then that opens the door for visitation rights!!! LOL


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SadieMae View Post
    I don't know if she was really in it for money. From the article, she's delivered 3 other babies for surrogates, but it didn't say from her egg or the bio mom's eggs. I can see how the couple would think there wouldn't be a problem later for the surrogate to release the infant since she's done it 3 times before, AND she already has 2 of her own children. the $1500 could be for prenatal care, food, etc.
    I'm honestly surprised that the couple and surrogate together found a physician or provider to help them to get pregnant with this child... am I reading correctly that this is her SIXTH baby? Right?

    Most people looking for a surrogate would want a surrogate with a lower number of births... the sixth baby is a lot. They usually want someone who has had children before... actually, if I remember, I think that is a criteria to BE a surrogate. But I think that five previous pregnancies, this making #6, is a bit much. Her poor body must be wore out!! And the smoking?!!!!! Is she LEADING a healthy lifestyle. However helped her get pregnant should have looked into all this!!

    Let me give you this definition I am reading... "Grand multiparity, defined as parity equal to or greater than 5 previous live births, has been described as an independent risk factor for a variety of serious intrapartum complications, including placenta previa, placental abruption, malpresentation of the fetus, instrumented delivery, cesarean delivery, postpartum hemorrhage, prematurity, newborn intensive care unit admission, and maternal death." This is from an ACOG article I pulled up.

    Why would you ever help someone get pregnant ELECTIVELY outside of their own family... when you're looking at these risks? Especially when, like this family says... "the woman could have backed out at any time!!" What about recommending the use of another surrogate? That would have prevented this entire mess. I mean, even if you didn't have a medical background, knowing the risks... wouldn't you have at least THOUGHT about recommending that? EEEK... just my question from my limited knowledge of reproductive healthcare. I work with the kids. Not from behind the stirrups... :-)

    But then again, when you have people in the office begging you to do something for them... and when surrogates are SO hard to come by... I don't know what some people do. But this seems more elective than an "oops" I'm showing up in the office pregnant with baby #6, and managing from there, you know? I guess I am just surprised.

  15. #15
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    I agree that six is a lot of babies, although people who have really easy pregnancies and deliveries might argue with me. I will say that I know of at least 6 women who have between 5-11 babies each and not a c-section among them. After each baby, they walk around like nothing happened, carrying a cute little newborn as if they just went and picked out a new doll. Since I am not one of those people, the thought of going through all that and then giving my child up is unthinkable. No amount of money would do it.

    But on the note of money, again I say that she had only gotten $1500 SO FAR. That might have been totally separate from the medical bills if they were going to the couple. If she cut them off at 4-6 weeks pg and had gotten that much plus they had paid for medical expenses, then that's a lot. But they may have paid the medical bills themselves to avoid the scam of giving her the money and having her keep it and skip out on the bills.

    As for the smoking, I have to wonder if she told them that she didn't smoke and then they busted her. If that's what the dispute was about, I can see them being mad (she was already pregnant and endangering their baby!) and she had total control. I really doubt this woman's credibility.

    This couple definitely didn't protect themselves, but I don't know that a lawyer would have helped (except possibly to get visitation for dad). I think they were naive after getting extremely lucky the first time.

    Infertility is a hard road, and can make you consider desperate measures. Thinking clearly isn't always on the list.

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