‘I’m giving birth to my mom’s child’
Woman has baby with stepfather to grant her mother’s ardent wish
AWOMAN has had a child with her stepfather to grant her mother’s wish to have another baby.
Jacky Edwards, 47, was unable to carry a child after she suffered a traumatic pregnancy and had a partial hysterectomy 12 years ago.
At the time, the mother of five thought she didn’t want any more children. She was widowed five years later, but in 2013 met Paul, a 48-year-old chemist.
The couple married in Mauritius in 2014 and, a year later, decided they wanted to try for a baby. However, due to Edwards’ age, IVF clinics refused to take them.
They said there was “no chance” because she had gone through menopause and was no longer producing eggs.
They were about to give up when Edwards’ eldest daughter Katherine, 30, offered to act as a surrogate after seeing how much it would mean to her mother.
Edwards said they were having coffee when Katherine took her hand and revealed she and her husband Sam had been investigating the idea.
Katherine said she wanted to do it to “bring some happiness” back to the family after the unexpected death of their father seven years ago. It would also give her mother the DNA link she craved – and effectively mean Katherine was giving birth to a brother.
“My eyes just welled up with tears,” Edwards said. “The fact that she was willing to do this for Paul and I, it stopped my heart completely.
“It’s a bit Jeremy Kyle, but Paul was jumping for joy. He was like, ‘oh my God, it is going to happen’. And there would be a genetic link with the baby.” Such an arrangement is incredibly rare in Britain. Although Katherine could have donated her egg to be used by another woman, she was adamant that she was going to carry the baby herself out of pride for being her mother’s surrogate.
They decided not to have IVF treatment because it is expensive and has a lower success rate than simply transferring her mother’s husband’s sperm to her body.
Lawyers and surrogacy experts agreed the arrangement was feasible and, in mid2015, the family met over the kitchen table to draw up a formal contact.
They discussed how the sperm would be transferred, how they would feel if Katherine miscarried, or if the baby was born disabled, and whether Katherine would be happy to have Paul in the room during her labour.
It was decided that Katherine, an admin worker, would be paid £1 000 (R16 000) a month in expenses for loss of earnings, maternity clothes and travel to doctor’s appointments.
Katherine and her husband Sam also agreed not to have sex to ensure there was no doubt Paul would be the father. The “transfers” of sperm would take place twice a day for a week in a hotel room in Portsmouth.
Because Edwards was too shy to buy a home insemination kit, the baby was conceived using plastic syringes and measurement pots from children’s medicine bottles.
Katherine said: “I’d then use the syringe to sort out the transfer, watching Disney films to blank out the reality of injecting my mum’s husband’s modern-day surrogacy sperm into me. Then I’d stay there for a few hours, chatting with mum about what the baby would be like. We did that 14 times in the space of a week and it was a precious time – although I was praying I was
‘I’m very used to being matter of fact, but it was gross’
pregnant so that I didn’t have to do it again.”
Edwards added: “As a nurse I’m very used to being matter of fact, but it was gross.”
Luckily, Katherine found out she was pregnant after the first rounds of attempts. Her mother and Paul then attended every single baby scan, but Katherine – already a mother of two – vowed she wouldn’t become too emotionally involved. The baby would be treated like a nephew or niece, she said.
While her children were played UB40 songs while they were in the womb, the baby, who was named Caspian, was played Doris Day, her mother’s favourite singer. During the pregnancy she suffered terrible morning sickness and had to give up her job. But on May 13 last year, Katherine’s water broke at 37 weeks, while in a Costa Coffee in Gosport, Hampshire, with her mother.
Caspian was born 13 minutes later at a birthing centre next door. The couple were in the room when he appeared and Paul arrived in time to cut the cord.
Edwards, from South Horrington, Somerset, said: “It was just the most amazing moment.
“Caspian was handed straight to me because Katherine didn’t want to bond with him and she wanted me to have those moments.
“It all fell into place. We are totally over the moon with him. We look at him and pinch ourselves because it seemed impossible that Paul and I would ever be able to have a baby together.”
Katherine, who now lives in Holland with husband Sam, 27, a Navy engineer, added: “I knew if I didn’t offer to be mum’s surrogate, she’d struggle to find one. The artificial insemination was disgusting.
“I just thought, ‘I’m making a baby in a different way,’ and blocked it out. There were times when I thought, ‘have I made a mistake?’. I was told that I would feel something for this baby. But when I actually gave birth he was handed straight to my mum. Then I looked over and saw the three of them together and it was amazing. I was home two hours later, sipping champagne in the bath, while mum took on the role of new mother. Giving Caspian to mum felt so natural.”
The family revealed they were vilified by friends and colleagues who told them it was “against nature” and questioned how Katherine could give up her baby. But they brushed off any criticisms and pressed on with the pregnancy.
Edwards, who worked as a nurse for 15 years but is now an author, had three sons and two daughters before Caspian, who are now aged between 12 and 30. Seven years ago, her husband Jason, 47, died of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.
Edwards said: “It was devastating but I adapted to single life. I was happy – I got on with things. I didn’t want another relationship, baby, nothing.
“But my grown up children started worrying I was lonely and they put me on Plenty of Fish and Tinder, and I promised I would go on a few first dates. One of the men happened to be Paul.”
Katherine said her husband was able to cope with the situation by staying out of the process as much as possible. She said: “What made Sam worry was that his name would be on the birth certificate until the parental order was issued and mum and Paul were recognised as the parents.”
Edwards was advised by Nicola Scott, a lawyer with Somerset law firm Porter Dodson, which was the first in the country to qualify in fertility and parenting law.
Scott said: “While this case may seem complicated by the fact that a daughter carried a pregnancy for her mother, it was actually no more legally complex than any other surrogacy arrangement.
“The law always treats the surrogate as the legal mother, even if she is not biologically related to the child.”
Edwards wrote an account of her nursing and family life, The Sky is Not the Limit, and is working on a new book about her surrogacy.
When a child is born its mother, under English law, is considered to be the woman who carried the infant through pregnancy, in this case, Katherine. If she is married, her husband is considered the legal father – which means the intended father, in this instance, Paul, has no automatic claim to legal parenthood. If she is unmarried it is possible for the genetic father to be considered a legal parent. – Daily Mail
He was like, ‘oh my God, it is going to happen’
A couple from Britain, whose baby was born on October 17 by a surrogate, pose their baby for a photo in Anand, India. For 15 years the couple were unable to get pregnant and turned to Dr Nayna Patel’s clinic after seeing her on a TV programme.