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Giving my daughter and grandchild the gift of life

My name is Helen. I just turned 53 and my husband Bob and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary this past year. We have three beautiful children: Pamela, who is 26, Jonathan who is 24, and Peter who is 21. Pamela married her husband Jason two years ago. She’s always known that she wanted to have children, but unfortunately she was born without a uterus. She has her ovaries, which apparently are functioning fine, but without a uterus her doctors said the only way for Pamela and her husband to have a child is if a surrogate carries the baby. When they started to research surrogacy, they were shocked to find out how expensive it would be – possibly up to $60,000 (US). Pam and her husband are just starting out. They’ve only recently found full time jobs, and they both have debt from college. So there’s no way that they’d be able to afford the cost of a surrogate, at least not until they get their loans paid off by which time they’ll likely be in their mid 30s. Bob and I are helping put our youngest son Peter through college and Jason’s mom is having enough trouble making ends meet since Jason’s dad died a few years ago.

When Pamela and Jason started talking about the possibility that they might not be able to become parents it broke my heart. Pamela would make a wonderful mother and Jason would be a great dad. And of course, Bob and I are keen to become grandparents. So we talked it over, and both decided that I’d offer to carry Pamela and Jason’s child – my grandchild. I’m in pretty good health for my age, and even though it was a few years ago, I sailed through all my pregnancies. We talked to Pamela and Jason – who were thrilled – and then talked with our sons Jonathan and Peter. Maybe it’s because they’re boys, but neither seemed to bat a eye about the whole thing. They thought it was “neat” and “cool” that I might be able to help their sister become a mom.

When we went for the consultation at the fertility clinic we were told that because of my age, there was a reduced chance that the embryo would implant, but that otherwise, given my health, it was quite possible that I’d be able to carry a pregnancy. We decided it was worth a try. So Pamela went through the hormone injections and the egg retrieval. In the lab they were able to fertilize six of her eggs with Jason’s sperm. The doctors transferred two of the embryos into my uterus. After a very nervous few weeks, I had my blood tested. Our entire family was thrilled to learn the tests were positive – I was pregnant! The pregnancy has been fairly straightforward and is going fairly quickly. Pamela has been with me for every medical appointment, and she and Jason were there for the ultrasound at 20 weeks. We were all in tears when we saw the little tadpole swimming in her sac and heard the heartbeat. You realize I said “her” sac. We found out it’s a girl! I’m carrying my granddaughter for my daughter! It’s like coming full circle. I’m set to give birth in a couple weeks. Pamela and Jason will both be there for the birth of their daughter. I look forward to the years ahead – getting to know my granddaughter and watching my daughter be the wonderful mother I know she’s going to be.

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