In a tragic reminder that surrogacy is not only morally fraught, but dangerous, a San Diego wife and mother of two has died giving birth to a baby for another couple.

Michelle Reaves was acting as a surrogate mother for the second time for the same family when she died on January 15. Apparently she was the victim of a rare complication, amniotic fluid embolism. The baby survived.

Michelle and her husband Chris already had two children. Although they had agreed that their family was big enough, Michelle wanted to help another family. The commissioning parents were not identified in media coverage.

It is often said that a surrogate is no more at risk than any other pregnant woman, but this may not be true. A 2017 study in the journal Fertility and Sterility claimed that the risks are higher.

Neonates born from commissioned embryos and carried by gestational surrogates have increased adverse perinatal outcomes, including preterm birth, low birth weight, hypertension, maternal gestational diabetes, and placenta previa, compared with singletons conceived spontaneously and carried by the same woman. Our data suggest that assisted reproductive procedures may potentially affect embryo quality and that its negative impact can not be overcome even with a proven healthy uterine environment….

The above comes from a Jan. 26 story in BioEdge