Asked to Abort Because of a Down Syndrome Diagnosis, This Surrogate Mom Chose LIFE

Andrea Ott-Dahl was already a mother of five when she agreed to serve as a surrogate for a couple she knew who had been trying to conceive for six years, but she was happy to do it. She even donated her own eggs for the procedure, making the baby her own biological child, but she was willing because she says, she already knew the joy of having a family. When she became pregnant, everyone was overjoyed. After finding out that it was a girl, the intended parents named her Delaney. All was total  joy—until the baby’s 12-week ultrasound in January 2013. Andrea tells of the day they received the devastating news that would change all their lives.

“…the doctor noticed the buildup of fluid behind the baby’s neck. He told us this would be Down syndrome, or worse,” Andrea told Yahoo News.

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“The doctors made it seems like Delaney was going to be blind [and] have autism. ” continued Andrea’s partner, Keston Ott-Dahl. “They said the fluid build-up on the back of her neck, it would either kill her or there would be a severe deformity that would look like another head. They told us she had a five percent chance of surviving up until birth.”

The baby’s intended parents were scared of the doctor’s grim diagnosis. He had advised that Andrea terminate the pregnancy via abortion, and the intended parents agreed with him. They asked Andrea to undergo an abortion. Keston Ott-Dahl says they told Andrea “The decision to terminate is our decision alone.” But Andrea couldn’t do it. The Ott-Dahls decided that they loved the baby, and would keep her.

On January 20, 2013, the Ott-Dahls told Delaney’s intended parents that Andrea would not have an abortion, and that they were going to keep the baby. Though the intended parents threatened a lawsuit, they never followed through, and on July 2, 2013, Delaney Skye was born. Except for a heart defect that had to be corrected by surgery (common with Down syndrome), she is completely healthy and has been hitting all the toddler milestones.
DelaneySkye
Photo: Screen shot from YouTube

Now the Ott-Dahls have started a foundation and have written a book called “Saving Delaney” to raise awareness about Down syndrome so that other parents with a pre-natal diagnosis won’t be afraid to give their baby a chance at a wonderful life.

“We just want to show parents out there — you don’t have to lose hope,” Andrea said. “You don’t have to terminate your child. Down syndrome is a label and that’s what society does. It determines what people can and can’t do based on that label.”

Personally, I have some very special people in my life who happen to have Down syndrome, so I applaud the Ott-Dahl’s for choosing LIFE for Delaney and for encouraging other parents to do the same! People with Down syndrome, thanks to therapies and early intervention, are accomplishing great things and living lives full with family, careers, marriage, and so much more. Studies have shown that up to 90% of babies with a pre-natal Down syndrome diagnosis are aborted, and that is a heartbreaking WRONG. I am hopeful that through Delaney’s story, many more expecting parents will understand that life is a gift, and that life with Down syndrome can be extraordinarily beautiful!

Check out this awesome video about Delaney’s story, and spread the word about choosing LIFE!

*Editor’s note:*Editor’s note: Yes, I realize that the Ott-Dahl’s are lesbians, but that’s not the focus of this story. The point is they did the right thing and chose LIFE for their precious baby girl, and are encouraging others to do the same.


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Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.