Seraphina Harrell, a little girl who received national attention because the surrogate who gave birth to her had refused to have an abortion, has died.
Seraphina passed away July 15, a few weeks after her eighth birthday. In 2012, when Crystal Kelley, Seraphina’s surrogate mother, was halfway through her pregnancy, an ultrasound showed she had multiple severe birth defects. The couple who hired Kelley to carry their baby offered her $10,000 to have an abortion.
Kelley refused and moved from Connecticut to Michigan, where according to that state’s law she would be the baby’s legal parent and not the couple who hired her. Soon after Seraphina was born, the Harrell family in Massachusetts adopted her with Kelley’s blessing.
Seraphina Harrell, the girl who was the center of a surrogacy case where the surrogate mother refused to abort her despite tracing early signs of deformation and chromosome deficits, has passed away too early at the age of 8, on July 15. This was only weeks after her birthday.
The said case happened in 2012, when Crystal Kelley, the surrogate mother, discovered that her pregnant baby was depraved and was a subject for legal abortion, as she had birth defects in all forms and symptoms.The original parents had pleaded Kelley that she needed to let go of Seraphina in an abortion with 10,000 dollars as compensation.
She ardently refused their offer, and then moved away to Michigan where the state law decreed her to have the legally entitled maternal rights, in stead of the commissioned parents.
Seraphina’s case helped change that, said Melissa Brisman, an attorney who specializes in surrogacy. “People heard about this case, and they got scared about skipping steps. That’s good for the industry,” Brisman said. Seraphina has carried heterotaxy syndrome. Her stomach and liver, were in the wrong places. She had multiple heart defects and two spleens, which for the obvious reasons did not act properly
She also suffered from a rare syndrome called holoprosencephaly, where the brain’s hemispheres. does not embody their distinct separations. She died in the hospital “following a combination of complications from a needed surgery and infection,” according to her obituary.
“What drove the conflict when Crystal was pregnant with her, was whether or not she’d have a meaningful life.
And I think without hesitation, the answer to that question is yes, she did.Seraphina had a very, very meaningful and happy life,” Harrell said. Seraphina could only speak a few words, but learned American Sign Language. She couldn’t walk, but mastered her wheelchair.
“She could get herself around in a power wheelchair like nobody’s business,” Harrell said.
Seraphina’s favorite sign was “I love you.”
“She’d sign it and always add a little kissing sound,” her mother remembers. “She was so loving. If you looked sad, she would comfort you. If you got even the slightest little poke, she would sign ‘sorry’ and then kiss your boo-boo,” Harrell said. “When her baby cousin cried, she would sign ‘Baby, cry, Mama, milk.'”
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