Monday, August 11, 2008

An Outlaw called "Intended Parent"


I never quite thought baby making for me would enter this new terrain of law, morality, and intention. Who knew I would have to add lawyer to my long list of reproductive attendants. Isn't doctor, nurse, IVF coordinator, embryologist, pharmacist, blood technician, early morning cab drivers, fertility yoga instructor, acupuncturist, insurance representative, and surrogacy agency enough?

I, as an "Intended Parent," have every intention of having a baby. Is that so wrong? Did I ever think I'd have to be on the run, like some bandit outlaw? For those who haven't had the pleasure of cracking the shell of surrogacy, every state of our United States has a particular opinion on surrogacy that dictates how and whether it can be done. (Click here to see a breakdown of state surrogacy laws) Unfortunately, my state of New York may accept all sorts of characters within its borders but it does not allow for surrogacy. So the story goes that in July of 1993, the legislature passed Article 8, Section 122 of the Domestic Relations Laws of New York. This law states that surrogate parenting agreements in New York are void, unenforceable and against public policy.

So now that I've been long barred from the natural mommy club, and slowly not qualifying for the IVF-on-my-own body club, I'm not only barred from my own body, I'm now barred from reproducing in my own state. My marginalized status seems to be becoming more and more remote. I'm not sure where I will be at the end of this - Siberia? My days are filled with waiting for a surrogate match and contemplating one last IVF on myself. I've felt lonely these days as I used to be a bulletin board whore - joining every type of buddy group from immune issues, to tubal infertility, to pregnancy loss, to repeat pregnancy loss, to lining issues, to ectopic survivors, and now surrogacy. But I'm not sure where I fit in on the bulletin boards anymore. If there was a group called "outlaws" or "road less traveled" or simply "Siberia" then I might join. 

But in my banishment, I realize this is where "intention" has the most profound meaning. As I feel in so many ways already labeled, I need to get used to my newest title of intended parent. Intention involves stretching, bending of the mind toward a goal, determination, purpose, and design. I'm running with my ball and chain out to sweeter and freer states that will let me put my embryos into another dear lady's uterus. Intent is pretty darn significant in a court of law. So if I face a jury of my fertile peers, they must remember that foresight and recklessness shouldn't be equated with intent. Don't condemn me if I don't have the foresight to see what pain lies ahead of me. Don't handcuff me if my choice to use a surrogate seems reckless. But if my crime is the intention to be a mother, intention to raise a child with love, intention to build a family, then I'm ready for my sentencing. 

10 comments:

luna said...

wish I could be on that jury. wishing you well with your intention.

Caba said...

I didn't realize that about NY. I'm in NJ, and you aren't allowed to be a compensated surrogate, but you can use one. So, can you just use one from a different state?

I am about to start this journey as a surrogate for my sister, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and will most probably have to go through chemo. I'll be following along your journey. I hope you find a way to make your dream a reality

Shinejil said...

Yikes, I'm sorry this is all so complicated legally. I had no idea some state prohibit these arrangements.

This makes it all the more painful. I'm sorry you have to experience this pain.

Ms Heathen said...

Oh Tabi! As if your journey to motherhood wasn't already painful and complicated enough...

I hope that you manage to find a way through this legal minefield, and that you will soon be able to fulfill your intentions.

alicia said...

I am so sorry you have to jump through all these hoops! Its just so unbelievable. I hope you are matched soon and that things go really smoothly. I am excited for your sentenceing, I am realy hoping it brings you a child :)

the Babychaser: said...

Jesus. As if this wasn't hard enough already! When I was a kid, and would whine to my mom about how unfair something was, the invariable response was, "Nobody ever said the world was fair."

I didn't really believe it, though. Not until I learned what life could dish out to me, and you, and so many of us I read about.

I'm sure you can find away around the NY laws, but I think it totally sucks that you have to add yet another complication to your list. Do you think this is what Hillary meant when she said "it takes a village?"

Duck said...

I'm with you my intended mother buddy. I too used to be a board whore and now can't even go on them, there doesn't seem to be much action in the beyond infertile category, it's lonely again now that i don't have board buddies.
As for jail, you and me both, it's legal in canada to do surrogacy, you just can't pay beynod 15k for it... so they may drag us off in handcuffss too!

Kymberli said...

Surrogacy is complicated enough as it is without uncooperative states barring it from those who need it. Thankfully, there are ways around the laws, even if they add other layers of complication, time, and expense to the process. Thankfully, there are several states around the NY area that do not prohibit surrogacy. The NY laws are completely circumvented when working with a surrogate and clinic located in surrogacy-friendly states.

It's a new label for a new path, but hopefully at the end there will be a new outcome, and "intended mother" will be just "mother."

honeywine said...

I wish you all the best. I'm no where near to this point yet (2yrs ttc), but I have been keeping the surrogates in India as a last resort thought. I saw a tv program and it's less than $7k. :(

Another Dreamer said...

Wow, thank you for sharing this. I had no idea that some states forbid it! Are we living in the dark ages, or what?

I hope you find a way.