Anti-vax parents are demanding surrogates avoid the COVID vaccine

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These parents don’t want their baby vaccinated — so they’re asking their surrogate not to get the coronavirus vaccine. 

As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more widely available in the US, surrogacy agencies have been inundated with parents specifically requesting unvaccinated women to carry their babies, Vice reported.

In one extreme case, according to the report, a woman even asked if it was within her rights to have her surrogate abort the baby should the surrogate choose to get vaccinated against the woman’s will.

“The intended mother was going so far as to ask me if the surrogate actually got the vaccine, could she then turn around and request a termination of the pregnancy,” Worldwide Surrogacy founder Victoria Ferrara told Vice of a surrogate who was eligible for the vaccine as a health care worker, but turned it down under pressure from the baby’s mother. “It just really exemplified, for me, that severe level of anxiety that some people have.”

Many surrogates say getting the shot — which has been administered to over 95.7 million Americans and counting — would make them feel like a “guinea pig,” Ashley Mareko, program director for California-based agency Surrogate First, told Vice.

Some intended parents are even willing to pay for surrogates to miss work in the name of not getting the vaccine. “We had intended parents who did not want her [the surrogate] to have the vaccination, were worried about COVID, and they actually paid for her lost wages to not work the last three months,” said Mareko.

The World Health Organization and CDC both promote pregnant women getting vaccinated, but there remains widespread anti-vaccine sentiment stemming significantly from conspiracy theories, a mistrust of the government and online misinformation, in the surrogacy world and beyond.

Jordan McCutcheon, a 28-year-old surrogate and dental assistant, told Vice she signed a contract allowing her baby’s parents to make her medical choices, including the decision for her to not get the coronavirus vaccine. 

“This is their baby, so if that’s how they want to protect their baby, then as a parent they should be able to make that decision,” said the Ohio resident, who hasn’t been able to taste or smell since getting COVID in November while she was traveling to Seattle to have an embryo implanted in her uterus.

The parents whose baby McCutcheon is carrying are more worried about her being exposed to X-rays than COVID, she told Vice.

“I’ve had it and I’m fine,” she said.

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