Surrogacy Novel Review: White Lilies (The Mitchell Sisters, #2) by Samantha Christy
White Lilies is a harlequin romance surrogacy novel that unfolds a compelling narrative exploring the profound impact of surrogacy and the enduring strength of friendship amid life’s challenges. Skylar Mitchell, the main character, yearns for a meaningful change in her life. One thing she has always been certain of is that she never wants to have children of her own. She even jokes about being a surrogate, a selfless move that seems like an out-of-character life decision.
In a fortuitous encounter, Skylar connects with Griffin and Erin Pearce, a couple who seem to have it all — a perfect life and a perfect home but sadly cannot have children through traditional means. As Skylar offers to become their surrogate, she finds herself falling in love with Griffin while becoming best friends with Erin. Unconditional love, heart-wrenching loss, and unwavering friendship form the bedrock of this story. Skylar’s choices will test the bonds that tie her to Erin and Griffin, ultimately leading them all on a journey of self-discovery and transformation.
Legal and Scientific Realism
A genetic (also known as traditional) surrogate is when the surrogate uses her own egg and the father’s sperm, making the surrogate genetically related to the child. The main character becomes a genetic surrogate, which is not legal in New York if the surrogate is compensated. Skyler was compensated with expensive shopping trips and other financial gifts for being a surrogate, from the Intended Parents. While these may be considered gifts, this is legally problematic.
The parties entered into the arrangement without the usual psychological, medical or legal clearance steps. The Intended Parents chose Skylar to become their surrogate despite her never having children despite this being a best practice (also required in New York with gestational surrogacy), even more so with a genetic surrogate.
Skylar did not have a lawyer representing her to review the surrogacy agreement or at any time during the process. It’s unclear how the insemination took place, or what legal plan the intended parents had to establish parentage rights for the child, whether by adoption, passing off the child as theirs or through a proper parentage action.
It is doubtful that any surrogacy professionals were consulted so that more realistic elements could have made the story. It’s unfortunate, because adding some legal realism wouldn’t necessarily take away from the main storyline. Readers seeking a more realistic portrayal of surrogacy will find the novel’s deviation from legal correctness a notable drawback.
Despite its engaging exploration of the daily interactions of a surrogate and her intended parents, this reader is left with mixed feelings, prompting a three out of five-star rating for entertainment but zero out of five stars for accuracy. The novel fell short in character development as it primarily showcased Skylar’s budding romantic feelings. A more comprehensive understanding of backgrounds, motivations, and relationships would have enriched the narrative, while a better understanding of the surrogacy process would have added authenticity.
Disclaimer: This book is a bodice ripper, meaning it is for adults only and offers a fantasy depiction of surrogacy which is for entertainment purposes only. The portrayal is imaginative if not outlandish, not reflective of most surrogacy journeys. The work aims to present a creative narrative but still manages to provide some insights into surrogacy from a surrogate’s perspective.
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