Right away, the IM set about changing the family's diet. "She went to the store and came back with wheat germ, spinach, things I never knew anything about," Stephanie said. "She scheduled an appointment for me with a nutritionist to come up with a meal plan."
Even though she had already had two healthy children and the nutritionist seemed unconcerned, Stephanie said she tried to do whatever her IM would do if she were pregnant. But after a difficult amniocentesis procedure left Stephanie in pain and bleeding, the surrogate said her IM "freaked out." She insisted Stephanie not move, not even to go to the bathroom and threatened to sue her for breach of contract if she did.
When she finally allowed her to take a shower, she stood outside the bathroom with a stop watch and banged on the door when three minutes was up.
The lowest point, though, came one night when the IM, crying in the kitchen, confronted Stephanie. "She said, 'Those babies do not belong to you. They belong to me. They should be in me.' She just looked at me with a scary, crazy-eyed expression," Stephanie said. "I thought she could hurt me."
At the same time, Stephanie's husband had reached the end of his rope. "He looked at me and said, "I'm going if she doesn't go.'"
Stephanie told the IM to leave.
Then, pre-natal tests showed that the girl most likely was to have Turner's Syndrome and be mentally disabled, and the intended parents opted for selective reduction. This time, Stephanie balked. Her agency said she would be in breach of contract and the IM threatened to sue her.
Over the pleas of their minister, Stephanie reluctantly agreed to the procedure, which involved stopping the baby's heart, although she would still have to give birth to her along with her twin brother. Her only condition was that the parents no longer have any contact with her until the birth of their son.
Stephanie did not see them again, she said, until they snatched their son out of her hands five hours after she had given birth. She has not heard from them since.
Wiser, she has had two other surrogate experiences, both positive, since then. With both, she switched agencies, asked questions and took her time deciding if the IM's personalities and expectations meshed with hers.
Although Stephanie's IM was an extreme example, Michelle from Missouri said some of the behavior coming from IMs is understandable. "IMs have no control," she said. "Some of them do get a little crazy. We feel for them, but we can never truly understand what it's like to be in their shoes."
Barb from Missouri, who also requested her last name and exact location not be used, said the problems can go both ways, with some unstable surrogates.
Recent tabloid reports about Ross, the woman believed to be Parker's surrogate, suggested that she might be troubled. Star magazine quoted her ex-husband Joseph Erker as saying she was a bisexual with a tattoo on her wrist and a checkered past.
ABCNews.com was unable to reach Ross, any of her family members or her ex for comment. Erker's sister refused to comment.
Parker did not seem worried. "I'm beyond comfortable with who she is," she told "Access Hollywood." "We haven't been reckless, we haven't been cavalier. She hasn't been reckless. ... Every single allegation that I know has been suggested about her is absolutely slander, and libel."
Bottom line for intended mothers and their surrogates, said Barb: "There has to be trust, it's all trust and communication."