A man who is paying a surrogate mother to carry his child has demanded the woman abort a baby after learning she is pregnant with triplets.
The US man has hired a lawyer and threatened Melissa Cook, who is 17 weeks pregnant with the triplets, with financial ruin if she does not go ahead with the procedure. Despite the threats Melissa Cook does not wish to abort a baby.
"They are human beings. I bonded with these kids. This is just not right," the 47-year-old told the New York Post.
Ms Cook has four children of her own, including a set of triplets. She has also acted as a surrogate once before, resulting in the birth of one baby.
The intended father's demands come despite the fact he agreed to the implantation of three embryos, created from his sperm and the eggs of a 20-year-old donor, after hiring Ms Cook as a surrogate.
A letter from the intended father's lawyer, Robert Warmsley, was delivered to Ms Cook last week and reportedly states the surrogate will not receive the agreed $33,000 pregnancy payment and will be sued for damages.
According to the Post the letter states the father "understands, albeit does not agree, with your decision not to reduce".
"As you know, his remedies where you refuse to abide by the terms of the agreement, are immense [and] include, but are not limited to, loss of all benefits under the agreement, damages in relation to future care of the children [and] medical costs associated with any extraordinary care the children may need," the letter reads.
Under the terms of her surrogacy contract Miss Cook is entitled to a $33,000 pregnancy fee for one baby, plus an additional $6,000 for each additional baby.
Ms Cook received a second legal letter on Tuesday requesting she organise a "selection reduction" by the end of the day.
The intended father and Ms Cook both reside in California where the law states abortion is illegal, apart from in life-threatening situations, after about 20 weeks gestation.
Ms Cook said she learned she was having triplets when she was eight or nine weeks pregnant.
The man immediately raised concerns which have grown increasingly threatening as the weeks have passed.
Ms Cook told the Post she wrote an emotional letter to the intended father, who she has never met.
The letter read: "The doctor put in three healthy embryos . . . The chances were high they were all going to take. You knew I was 47 years old. If you knew you only wanted two babies, then why put in three embryos?"
Despite her desire to carry all three babies to term, Ms Cook is worried she will have to go ahead with the abortion.
"I have to reduce. I'm scared. I don't want to suffer," she told the Post.
Surrogacy fee arrangements are legal in at least 22 US states.