USA Today bestselling author Jacqueline Diamond is known for her mysteries, romantic comedies, medical romances and Regency romances—102 titles as of 2017. A former Associated Press reporter, Jackie received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award. She currently writes the Safe Harbor Medical Mysteries and is reissuing her classic romantic comedies. Learn more about Jacqueline and her books at her website.
Choosing a Surrogate Mom: Friend or No?
When 29-year-old Cress learned she couldn’t conceive or carry a baby, she was thrilled by her best friend Tanya’s offer to serve as the surrogate. Her husband, Wes, was delighted by the chance to save money.
Although many parents choose commercial surrogates, and most such women are at least partly motivated by an altruistic desire to help complete a family, the cost can rise into the tens of thousands of dollars. And that’s in addition to medical expenses.
Cress’s obstetrician, Dr. Eric Darcy of Safe Harbor Medical Center, agreed to the arrangement as long as all parties signed a legal agreement protecting their rights. In California, where they all lived, surrogacy is well established medically and legally.
Cress and Tanya believed the experience would bring them closer. Instead, it had the opposite effect after someone murdered Cress’s husband. As the circle of suspects widened and evidence indicated Wes had been cheating on his wife—possibly with the surrogate—the pair began fighting about the future custody of the unborn baby, which had been conceived with Tanya’s own egg.
These women’s situation is fictional, but the issues are real. Often there’s a happy outcome when a friend or relative carries a baby, but complicated issues can arise. While these rarely involve murder or infidelity, unanticipated emotions and tensions can change a relationship.
The surrogacy process requires a long commitment by the birth mother, and is physically invasive. A volunteer, who has not undergone the rigorous screening of a commercial surrogate, may underestimate the impact on her.
Regardless of whether the surrogate is a friend or a stranger, medical professionals advise against using the surrogate’s own eggs. If the intended mother can’t provide viable eggs, these can be obtained from a separate donor—at a cost, of course. But this reduces the risk of the surrogate feeling as if she’s giving up her own child.
Also, everyone involved needs to consider how they’ll interact after the baby is born. What role will the friend/surrogate play? Are there expectations of greater closeness with the new baby’s family or will there be a power struggle?
In The Case of the Surly Surrogate, Cress and Tanya must sort out their issues under the glare of the media and mounting concern that whoever killed Wes may target one or both of them. Their obstetrician, Eric Darcy, proves a major source of support as he stands by them and risks his life to help catch the murderer—just as the baby makes her entrance into the world.
The Case of the Surly Surrogate
After Dr. Eric Darcy discovers the body of a patient’s husband, he lands in the midst of a murder investigation. Was the photographer killed because he was cheating on his wife, or was he using his photos in a blackmail plot? And how did he antagonize the surrogate mother about to give birth to his baby? The puzzle pieces snap together in a fast-paced climax that could cost Eric his life.