- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 11, 2001

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A British surrogate mother has sued a California couple she met on the Internet, saying they backed out of the pregnancy deal after she refused to abort one of her twin babies.
Helen Beasley, who is 25 weeks pregnant, said an abortion would be too risky to her health. But that has left the 26-year-old secretary bearing children that she doesn't want and says she cannot afford to care for.
"When they're born, what happens to them? I can't have them. I can't do anything with them. They're not mine, " she said.
Miss Beasley sued the couple, Charles Wheeler and Martha Berman, in San Diego on Aug. 1, claiming breach of contract and fraud.
Mr. Wheeler, reached at his law office in San Francisco, declined to comment yesterday, saying to do so would be a breach of the confidentiality provision of the surrogate contract. Messages left for Miss Berman at her home and office were not returned.
"This was a group that was a disaster waiting to happen," said Shirley Zager, director of a nonprofit group for surrogate parents.
Miss Beasley, who declined to name the British community where she lives, met the couple a year ago over the Internet on a Web site for surrogate parents. Miss Beasley, who is a single mother of a 7-year-old boy, said she wanted to be a surrogate mother because she felt sorry for couples who could not have children. The couple agreed to pay her $19,000 to bear their child, according to court documents.
In March, Miss Beasley underwent in-vitro fertilization in California with Mr. Wheeler's sperm and eggs from a donor selected by the couple.
Miss Beasley's deal with the couple required what it called a "selective reduction" of babies if she became pregnant with more than one, according to court documents.
But Miss Beasley claims they made a verbal agreement that a "selective" abortion would be done before the 12th week of pregnancy. Miss Beasley said she told the couple she was carrying twins when she found out, about eight weeks into her pregnancy.
At the end of Miss Beasley's 13th week, she said, the couple told her they had scheduled an appointment in San Francisco to abort one of the babies. Miss Beasley refused.
"No way was I going to put my health at risk when they had all that time to sort it out," she said.

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