“Just let other intended parents know to be very careful, my suggestion would be to use an agency – it’s very hard now to trust people. We have a trust issue now because of this,” said Chantele.
Knowing what they know now, Paul and Chantele feel that their trust has been violated by a woman they had hired to be their surrogate.
Their story starts as the couple wanted to have a child of their own after rekindling a relationship that has started in high school.
“We had decided unfortunately not to use an agency at that time,” said Chantele, “Our clinic had gave us several websites that we could utilize for people advertising to be surrogates and that’s what we did, and she ended up contacting us,” said Chantele, referring to the surrogate.
The Montover’s and the surrogate entered a written Gestational Carrier Agreement, or Surrogacy Agreement. Paul and Chantele agreed to pay the surrogate $13,000 to carry their baby – money for the surrogate to have her own round of IVF down the road.
“We agreed because we thought well that would be nice to help somebody else out as well,” said Chantele.
The surrogate became pregnant around Easter Sunday, 2016.
Beginning around May, 2016 the Montover’s relationship with their surrogate broke down.
“She said she didn’t trust us anymore, she changed her phone number, we couldn’t get a hold of her on social media,” said Paul about the surrogate.
Eventually, the Montover’s became so concerned they say they contacted the police for help and even considered legal options. At the end of October, they found out the surrogate had given birth at the end of August to twins, born premature at 24-weeks, weighing less than 2 pounds.
“She went through surgeries, blood transfusions,” explained Chantele looking at the baby, whose twin passed away eight days after birth, all unknown to Paul and Chantele.
A judge granted Paul and Chantele temporary custody in December and then in February, a Linn County District Court Judge gave the final judgement in favor of the Montover’s. Unfortunately, their surrogate is now appealing the ruling to the Iowa Supreme Court, maintaining the legal argument she is the legal mother because she gave birth and that the surrogacy agreement is unenforceable.
Such a sad story. Read more about their Surrogacy here.