Woman Couldn't Get Pregnant So Her 51-Year-Old Mum Is Now Her Surrogate
When Breanna and Aaron Lockwood had difficulty conceiving naturally, they opted for fertility treatment - but Breanna went on to have two heart-breaking miscarriages.
Then, in an unexpected turn of events, Breanna's 51-year-old mother, Julie Loving, volunteered to be the couple's gestational surrogate and carry her own grandchild.
Gestational surrogacy is an arrangement where a woman carries and delivers a child for another couple or person. In GS, the eggs used to make the embryos do not come from the carrier.
The eggs are retrieved from one woman and implanted into another. The eggs are fertilised in a laboratory using IVF and a limited number of resulting embryo(s) are transferred into the uterus of the carrier.
Breanna and Aaron - who tied the knot back in June 2016 - began trying for a baby right away.
At the time, Breanna's grandfather was sick with cancer, and the pair hoped to have their first born before he passed away.
After months without success, the pair visited the Fertility Centers of Illinois, and Breanna began a course of fertility treatment.
But the couple's ordeal continued, as Breanna went through two devastating miscarriages, which left her with Asherman's syndrome, a condition caused by scarred tissue in the uterus.
By now, the couple were emotionally exhausted and had spent nearly $100,000 on fertility treatments.
It was at this point that Breanna's mother, Julie, stepped in with a new plan: she would carry the couple's child - her biological grandchild - for them.
Breanna Lockwood told Tyla that her mum persistently pushed the surrogacy solution: "She came to me multiple times saying, 'let me do this for you".
"I kept repeatedly telling her no, as I didn't even think it was a possibility.
"But now I'm just so grateful, having my mom carry is the closest place to home."
A two-time marathon runner with a keen interest in nutrition, Julie felt she was well-positioned to carry her daughter's baby - and is now acting as her gestational surrogate.
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Talking about the decision in an interview with OprahMag.com, Julie said: "I kind of felt like I went through this with her from the beginning. I felt all of her grief and her struggle.
"I knew that I was healthy as a 51-year-old, and I knew I could do this for her, I took good care of myself. I actually don't feel 50, I feel 30!"
When the family put their solution forward to Dr. Brian Kaplan, who had been overseeing Breanna's fertility treatment, he was hesitant.
Breanna told OprahMag: "I could see a look in his eye, and I could see his wheels beginning to turn a little bit."
Being fighting fit, Breanna went on to pass a string of tests, including cholesterol, psychology tests, panels of bloodwork, before getting the go ahead from Dr. Kaplan to be her daughter's surrogate.
"This is obviously a very unique scenario and was done after very careful personalized medical, psychological and ethical considerations," Dr. Kaplan told OprahMag. "The family dynamic, unconditional support and sacrifice and the resilience of the human spirit was humbling for me as a physician."
The family initially kept their decision private for fear they might receive insensitive comments, but have since gone public with their journey, sharing it with 31 thousand followers on Instagram.
"I decided to go public with everything to celebrate my mom and everything she has done," said Breanna.
She has been "shocked by the reception" on social media, which she told OprahMag had been "really eye opening and touching".
Talking about the darkest days of her pregnancy struggle, Breanna said that the pain of her experiences "rocked her world".
"I really struggled with talking about it; it put a strain with family and friends and your marriage.
"What really helped me when I was really struggling was that I was very determined. I kept saying 'I am going to be a mom.' I think that's important for women to know that there are options," she continued.
So far, Julie's surrogacy has been problem free - the main challenge has been social distancing at appointments due to coronavirus.
Last week presented a major milestone, as the family felt the baby kick for the first time.
Their new addition - a baby girl - is due to arrive 12th November.
Julie told OprahMag that she had "no doubt, no regrets, I would do that. I love her [Breanna] so much I just wanted to help her."
You can follow the family's surrogacy journey on Instagram. Congratulations Julie, Breanna and Aaron!
Featured Image Credit: Credit: Breanna Lockwood