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Centers Report Increased Interest in Being Surrogate Parents, Mothers With AM-Surrogate Mom

February 17, 1987

Centers Report Increased Interest in Being Surrogate Parents, Mothers With AM-Surrogate Mom Bjt

Undated (AP) _ The publicity surrounding the Baby M custody case has greatly heightened interest among infertile couples and women desiring to be surrogate mothers, several surrogate parenting agencies around the country reported Tuesday.

″Inquiries from couples and (would-be) surrogate mothers have at least tripled in volume,″ said Harriet Blankfeld, director of Infertility Associates International of Chevy Chase, Md., which has arranged for the births of 44 surrogate children.

Noel P. Keane, an attorney in Dearborn, Mich., who some call a pioneer of surrogate parenting, said inquiries to his office, from both infertile couples and women desiring to be surrogate mothers, have at least doubled since the Baby M trial began last month.

Although couples wishing to have surrogate children are concerned about the custody trial in New Jersey, none have withdrawn from the process, said Keane, who claims to have arranged more than 150 surrogate births in the last 12 years.

The Infertility Center of New York, which arranged for Mary Beth Whitehead to bear the child of William Stern, has had a ″tremendous number″ of calls seeking information about surrogate parenthood, according to Lou Golden, a spokesman. The center has not been logging the calls and therefore couldn’t give any numbers, he said.

The center, of which Keane is the largest stockholder, has been responsible for about 30 births in the last five years, said Golden.

The 5-year-old Hagar Institute of Topeka, Kan., said it received ″a lot more calls″ from would-be surrogate mothers last month at a newly opened office in Northern California, according to Beth Bacon, director of the institute.

The Hagar agency has arranged the births of 18 children, with nine more on the way, since its founding in 1982, said Bacon.

At the Center for Surrogate Parenting in Beverly Hills, Calif., staff psychologist Hilary Hanafin said Tuesday there has been a steady increase in phone calls and a ″minor increase″ in people signing contracts. The center has arranged for 51 births in the last six years and there are 13 surrogate pregnancies in process, she said.

There have been a total of about 500 surrogate births in the United States in the last 10 years, Golden estimated.