- Matthew Eledge and his husband Elliot Dougherty wanted to have children, as BuzzFeed News reported.
- Matthew’s mum, Cecile Eledge, offered to be their surrogate.
- They took her up on that offer, and at 61, she gave birth to her granddaughter.
- They used in vitro fertilization (IVF), a common fertility treatment. They used Matthew’s sperm and Elliot’s sister’s egg.
- Uma was born on Monday and is healthy, and so is Cecile.
At first, everyone thought it was an empty promise. But Cecile Eledge wasn’t joking.
As BuzzFeed News first reported, Matthew Eledge, 32, and his husband Elliot Dougherty, 29, wanted to start a family and have children. When Matthew’s mum Cecile heard about their plan, she offered to carry their baby as a surrogate.
The catch? Cecile was postmenopausal and in her 60s. They weren’t sure if it could be done.
When they brought the proposition to Dr. Carolyn Maud Doherty, she said it was worth exploring. And after a series of tests – think a blood test, pap smear, stress test, mammogram, and an ultrasound – Cecile was approved to be a carrier.
Doherty told BuzzFeed that Cecile’s is something of an outlier.
“It’s important for people to note that not every 60-year-old is in good enough health to be a surrogate,” the doctor said. “There are probably only a handful of people across the country who can do this – only a handful of people who have done it.”
After Cecile was evaluated and approved, the couple used an embryo comprised of an egg donated by Dougherty’s sister, 25-year-old Lea Yribe, and Matthew’s sperm. They used in vitro fertilization (IVF), a process by which an egg is fertilised by sperm outside a woman’s body.
The couple told BuzzFeed News they spent about $US40,000 on the IVF process The men saved for the procedure for years, anticipating it would be an expensive process.
“I do think it’s sad that IVF as a process is exclusive to those who can afford it,” Matthew said. “And for queer couples, it’s a particular challenge.”
“It was certainly strange, but I kept remembering it was only temporary,” Cecile said.
After just one embryo transfer, Cecile was pregnant. Although she had been pregnant three times before, this time was different, she told BuzzFeed.
“I had all the same symptoms, but probably more elevated,” Cecile said. “I had the same morning sickness, but it lasted longer. I had shortness of breath. But I worked out, I walked, I was physically active – as of last Monday, I was still working out on the elliptical. And actually, it was almost easier. Because I’m older, my diet’s been easier to control, and I didn’t have the responsibility of other children. Just this pregnancy.”
And nine months later, she delivered the baby. There were no complications. On Monday, Uma Louise Dougherty-Eledge was born, weighing 5 pounds and 13 ounces.
As for grandma? “I feel fabulous,” she said not long after giving birth.
Matthew, who lost his job teaching at a Catholic school in 2015 because he is gay, told BuzzFeed there’s still some work ahead of them.
“It’s kind of embarrassing,” Matthew said. “My mum and I are legally Uma’s parents. Nebraska requires the sperm donor to be the father and the person who delivers the baby to be the ‘mother,’ even if she’s not biologically related to the child. This looks really creepy for us. Let’s just say we will NOT be framing and hanging up Uma’s birth certificate. I thought Elliot could at least put his name on the birth certificate, at least symbolically, but they didn’t even offer that. He now needs to go through an adoption process to get any legal rights. “
But as of now, the couple is happy with their newborn. Plus, they are surrounded by the love and support of family and friends – including one who recently had a baby of her own and has offered to freeze and save her breast milk for Uma.
“We love women – we think women should rule the world,” Matthew said. “Elliot’s sister donated her eggs, my mum carried her, and we have this dear beautiful friend giving her this nourishment. Our daughter, Uma, gets to be surrounded by all these smart, beautiful, compassionate women.”
- Read more:
- Less than a month after giving birth, a 20-year-old woman went into labour again and delivered a set of twins
- A Chinese woman just had twins with 2 different fathers – here’s how that’s possible
- 7 teachers at a Kansas elementary school are all pregnant at the same time, and it’s adorable
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