Sydsvenskan article about a surrogate mother: "Hon vill föda någon annans barn"

Sydsvenskan, one of Sweden's largest national newspapers, featured the story of Lisa Hardy-Bell, a surrogate who delivered a baby in the USA for a Swedish couple and CT Fertility clients. The interview, part of an article titled "She Wants to Carry Someone Else's Child" ("Hon vill föda någon annans barn") explores the reasons why some women would decide to carry another person's child and quotes Dr. Michael Doyle as he implants fertilized embryos within the surrogate.

Although surrogacy is prohibited in Sweden it is legal for Swedish citizens to have children through surrogacy abroad and to bring them back to Sweden after the birth.

Below are a translated excerpt of the article. Click here to see the original in Swedish.

She Wants to Carry Someone Else's Child / Hon vill föda någon annans barn

Translated excerpt from article in Sydsvenskan, April 2009
Reporter: Johan Anderberg

Carrying and giving birth to a child for someone else. For Lisa Hardy-Bell this is an obvious act of compassion. We were there when she tried to get pregnant for the sixth and last time. If everything goes well she will soon be giving birth, somewhere in the middle of the United States, to a baby for a Swedish couple.

"Are you trying to play God?" A question she often hears.

It is not easy for Lisa Hardy-Bell to explain. The neighbors in her hometown are deeply conservative and can not understand how she can get pregnant, carry a baby for nine months and then just give it away. It is difficult for many to understand - not just religious people. She knows it.

Everything is clear: Lisa gave herself injections for several days and when she and her daughter go into the clinic, they know that the fertilized eggs look exceptionally good.

"Here we go," adds Dr Michael Doyle.

"Family relationships are about love, not genes. And biological parents are not necessarily better than adoptive parents" believes Lisa.

When she was born 35 years ago in a small village in Missouri, her biological parents chose to give her away. They were young and did not think they could cope with a child. The nurse in the village was Lisa's adoptive mother. But just a few blocks away lived her biological parents. Lisa says she could not have wished for a better upbringing. She saw first hand how her life could have been. "And I would not like to have changed my life".

So when her cousin had ovarian cancer, she did not hesitated to lend her womb for nine months. "It felt like a given. Why should I not help her?"

Although her cousin's transfer was not successful she has since given birth to a total of five children. Clara, her daughter, which accompanied her to the clinic, two sons, age eight and fourteen, who stayed back home in Missouri, and two babies whom she carried for other families.

"The last two are close to my heart but I do not consider them my children. I feel more like an aunt to them."

Most surrogate mothers here are very careful when chosing prospective parents. Often, they previously helped a friend or relative. If the surrogate mother then goes on to help other prospective parents they find themselves in what can be described as a mixture of first date, job interview and parentage testing.

Lisa feels this is accurate. At first she was skeptical of the Swedish prospective parents: they are older than usual, and many surrogate mothers prefer young couples. They want their children to have their parents for a long time. "But they had such a sad story that I had to help them."

The Swedish couple lost their only child in an accident. Relatives had promised to support the child. "It feels good for me to know that someone will be there for the child for a long time, no matter what happens."

It is time to get pregnant. Lisa is on a bed with straps on her legs. In a chair nearby sits Clara who is watching.

The doctor injects the three embryos through a narrow tube. The entire surgery lasts not even fifteen minutes, but she is asked to remain for a while. "Actually, she can get up immediately. But everyone I've dealt likes to remain for a while, "says Michael Doyle.

Lisa laughs. "Yes, I think that the eggs could fall out."

When she left she took her daughter by the hand and went nearby to a mall. Clara has been promised a big sandwich and she wanted to thank her for accompanying her half way across the country.

The treatment was successful. Lisa Hardy-Bell is now pregnant and the birth is planned for late autumn this year.