In the summer of 2014, Sherri Shepherd, former co-host of The View, and her husband announced they were divorcing. Along with all of the usual drama of divorce, this case had added spectacle as Shepherd and her husband had a surrogate mother under contract who was gestating a child for them. The child in question was created using a donor egg and Shepherd’s husband’s sperm—prompting Shepherd to once comment: “It is not my child. I’m not paying child support.”
Just this week, however, an appellate court thought otherwise and ruled against her, declaring her the legal mother of the child.
To those of us who follow the world of surrogacy, this outcome is hardly surprising. Shepherd is an affluent woman, as are most users of surrogacy, and she expected the enterprise to work in her favor. When things got messy, she sought to wash her hands of the situation, despite the fact that there was a child in question—a child that she contracted into existence. For folks like Shepherd, surrogacy is nothing if not for the supposed convenience of being able to outsource your pregnancy, right?
Considering that we’re constantly running up against a media that is all too eager to highlight only the happy endings that surrogacy offers, we’re grateful that for once the public is able to see the underside of an industry that harms women and children at the expense of satisfying the desires of an elite few. But we also lament that there is a child in question (an “it” as Shepherd noted) that was once wanted but is now viewed as nothing more than a child support payment.