Keeping It In The Family
One way of finding a suitable surrogate is to look within the family. Having a sister or cousin carry your baby maybe much easier for everybody than finding a stranger to act as a surrogate. In the same way that people are more prepared to donate a kidney to someone they love, there are many cases in the UK of women who have been prepared to carry a baby for a family member. Here are just some of their stories.
The Twins And Their Sister
When twin Alex had treatment for cervical cancer she was left infertile, and so she wasn't' able to get pregnant with her own eggs, or carry a baby herself. Her twin, Charlotte, offered to donate eggs, but because of her own health problems wasn't able to act as a surrogate. Their older sister, Helen, offered to be a surrogate instead, and Charlotte's egg was fertilised with Alex's husband's sperm using IVF. Baby Charlie was born at home, in 2005, with the intended mum, Alex, holding her sister Helen's hand through the labour. And the three sisters did the whole thing again three years later. Talk about sisterly love!
The Two Sisters
Single sister Lyndsay offered to be a surrogate for big sister Cheryl. Cheryl, because she suffers from Mullerian Agenesis (MRKH) has ovaries but no womb, never thought she could have children of her own. Using Cheryl's eggs and her husband's sperm, Lyndsay's IVF treatment on the NHS led to baby Elliot. Aunt Lyndsay said ‘Giving birth to my nephew has been the most wonderful experience,'
The Sister And Her Brother
Sister Lorna acted a surrogate for her brother Steve and his partner Ivan, using IVF giving birth to baby William. Another woman is also offering to act as a surrogate for her brother and his gay partner, using her own eggs which will make her both the biological mother and the aunt of the baby!
The Aunt And Her Niece
After aunt Sandra suffered many years of infertility, niece Emma offered to step in and act as a traditional surrogate as Sandra's eggs were not suitable. Baby Maia was born using Sandra's husband's sperm through IVF treatment and Sandra says, "She has given me the greatest gift in Maia"
The Mother And Her Daughter
When 54 year old Vivien gave birth through IVF she wasn't an older woman having a desperate last chance baby. She was actually giving birth to her 29-year-old daughter Laura's biological child, her own grandchild! Laura had had cervical cancer, and although she was able to keep her ovaries, she lost her womb. Faced with childlessness, Laura looked into surrogacy but was concerned that the surrogate might decide to keep the baby. Vivien offered to step into the breach. Despite Vivien's advanced age, doctors at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London eventually agreed to help. Vivien was implanted with an embryo created through IVF using her daughter's egg and her son-in-law's sperm. Due to complications, baby Maisie, was born two weeks early by C-section. Nevertheless, Vivien said 'Any mother would have done the same for their daughter'
Many people question the advisability of surrogacy by strangers and think that host surrogacy within the family can lead to confusion for the child. In cases where the surrogate is a relative and is also the biological mother, (traditional surrogacy) complications can obviously arise, even among the most loving of families.
If you are thinking of keeping surrogacy in the family, it is very important that you have proper professional counselling to understand all the implications, not only the emotional ones, but also the legal ramifications.