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Surrogate Left to Care for Twins When Parents Divorce
byKaitlin StanfordAug 21, 2013
Photograph by Getty Images/Brand X
For the last 11 years, Susan Ring has been a devoted gestational carrier, bearing an incredible 8 babies to couples struggling with fertility. Last year, one of those couples—whom she had already carried a boy for—came to her again, wanting more children. Ring agreed, and became pregnant once more, this time with twins.
But just 14 weeks into the pregnancy, the couple dropped a bombshell on her: they were divorcing. And, by the way, they no longer wanted the babies. (What!?)
As Ring told HuffPost Live: "It was perplexing because the question I kept asking was 'why? How can this possibly happen?' I mean, it just doesn't make sense—they go to these extremes to have children, and then all of a sudden they just don't want to carry on with the pregnancy. I tried to work it through the whole thing, and kept trying to tell them 'My gosh, you've got to keep the babies. These are your babies — they are genetically linked to your son.'" But her words would fall on deaf ears.
Unable to face the idea of putting both babies into social services, Ring made the incredible decision to take the children home herself. She named them, she cared for them. And when they were three months old, Ring was named their legal parent. In the process, she's the first gestational carrier in California to ever be named as parent to non-biological children. But considering she had her own kids to care for, Ring's life sure got a lot more complicated, fast.
The biggest issue? She hardly had any money to care for them, since the babies' biological parents didn't actually pay in full for the surrogacy at all, let alone provide any sort of child support after the birth. "They didn't have the funds up front—big, huge mistake. Nothing to help the babies, nothing to take care of the babies, nothing to buy supplies," Ring said, explaining that the surrogacy agency agreed to let the parents pay in installments (which never came) during the pregnancy, since the first pregnancy had been smooth sailing. "So financially," says Ring, "I was taking care of twins and my own kids and day care kids and it was difficult. But it was well worth it in the end."