‘I’m giv­ing birth to my mom’s child’

Woman has baby with step­fa­ther to grant her mother’s ar­dent wish

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - TOM PAYNE

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.

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