“I’m carrying my daughter’s daughter!” shouts the Daily Mail headlines and you quickly visualise a situation that is better left to sensation seekers and cheap tacky talk shows. Well, I would say, don’t judge yet.
When I first saw the news story about the grandmother who is having her daughter’s child through surrogacy I was caught in a whirlpool of conflicting emotions and I have to say the most prominent feelings were those of distaste, anger and disbelief. But I stuck with it and was amazed to find a beautiful family with a heart-warming happy ending of a tale to tell. There are some controversial issues here which will divide everyone’s beliefs. Is this taking surrogacy a step to far?
A failed pregnancy is always a traumatic experience and a great loss, but in their desperate attempt to start a family Utah couple, Lorena and Micah McKinnon dealt with over a dozen failed pregnancies over a period of three years. An emotionally charged, and a frustrating and sad time, the young couple decided to try in-vitro fertilisation. This too proved to be having no results. Lorena and Micah then decided to research surrogacy but found that the overall costs of $60,000 were way out of their reach and would prevent them taking it any further.
It was at this stage that Lorena’s own mother stepped in by volunteering to act as a surrogate mother. Having seen the tragedies her daughter and her husband had to deal with, 58 year old Julia Navarro felt she could not stand by and watch her daughters dreams disappear into oblivion.
Lorena was overjoyed but it brought with it many issues and concerns. For instance, Julia was passed her prime pregnancy years; Lorena would in effect be mother and grandmother so creating a strange family tree. As much as the immediate family could accept this – what about the child? Surely this would create a state of affairs for a child coming into the world? There was a great deal of preparation needed and doctors stated there was only a 45% chance Julia would become pregnant.
Together with strong Utah policies on surrogacy, it seems the family approached the opportunity realistically and used the professionals who were available to assess the facts and prepare not only for the parents but for the child’s best interests too. Julia took hormone shots for three months leading up to the incubation (this lead to painful bruising and bleeding), and both Julia and Lorena had three months of counselling from psychologists to ensure they were prepared.
The good news is – and I say that now after reading the whole story – Julia became pregnant and the child is due in a few weeks’ time. The family is close as they all prepare and support each other to make sure the birth is as safe as possible.