Girl in famous surrogacy case dies at age 8

Dec. 28, 2019 -- Seraphina Harrell at age 7 at home.

(CNN)Seraphina Harrell, a little girl who received national attention because the surrogate who gave birth to her had refused to have an abortion, has died.

Seraphina passed away July 15, a few weeks after her eighth birthday. In 2012, when Crystal Kelley, Seraphina's surrogate mother, was halfway through her pregnancy, an ultrasound showed she had multiple severe birth defects. The couple who hired Kelley to carry their baby offered her $10,000 to have an abortion.
Kelley refused and moved from Connecticut to Michigan, where according to that state's law she would be the baby's legal parent and not the couple who hired her. Soon after Seraphina was born, the Harrell family in Massachusetts adopted her with Kelley's blessing.
    Crystal Kelley holds her baby, Seraphina Harrell, in 2012 before Kelley, the baby's surrogate mother, gave the infant up for adoption to the Harrell family of Massachusetts.
    The conflict between Kelley and the couple that hired her drew national attention and marked a turning point for surrogacy.
    Eight years ago, agencies and lawyers who arranged gestational surrogacies sometimes failed to make sure surrogates and hopeful parents were on the same page about important issues, such as whether or not to terminate a pregnancy if the fetus was found to have abnormalities.
    Seraphina's case helped change that, said Melissa Brisman, an attorney who specializes in surrogacy.
    "People heard about this case, and they got scared about skipping steps. That's good for the industry," Brisman said.
    In recent years, the use of surrogates has risen steadily. The use of ge