1. Giving The Gift Of Motherhood
For many women, they dream about having a child one day with the love of their life. Unfortunately, for some people, getting pregnant is not easy, and sometimes it is impossible. For those who struggle to conceive naturally, they turn to alternative methods to become parents.
After Jessica Allen had two children of her own, she felt lucky to be a mother and have that special bond with her babies. She wanted to help other families experience that joy, so she signed up to be a surrogate. Although there are many risks, Jessica was willing to go forward with the process.
2. There Were Many Pros And Cons For This Decision
This was obviously a huge decision for Jessica and her family because pregnancy puts so much strain on your body and mind. As a mother of two, she already had her hands full with her children, but Jessica wanted to go through with the process.
Not only did she want to help a couple in need, but there were many perks that could benefit her family's future. Jessica wanted to be at home more often and create a better life for her family, so the $30,000 paycheck was worth the pregnancy.
3. Getting Matched With A Couple
After looking into the process, Jessica signed up with a San Diego based surrogacy agency called Omega Family Global. The agency matcher her up with a Chinese couple who traveled to the United States to make their dream of being parents come true. In China, surrogacy is illegal, so they had to leave their country for the process.
When Jessica agreed to be their surrogate, the couple felt blessed to start their process. They were so excited that someone would carry their baby and help them become parents. It was so special for not only the couple but Jessica as well.
4. Getting Ready For The Process
To prepare for the process, Jessica had to prepare for her third pregnancy mentally. Although the child would not be hers, it was still going to be a difficult nine months and a significant strain on her body. Her first two pregnancies went well, so she was hoping this one would be the same.
In April 2016, the couple went through IVF (in-vitro fertilization), and Jessica had their eggs implanted in her uterus. The first treatment took, and Jessica was pregnant with the couple's baby. They were delighted to hear that it worked on the first try because that is not always the case.
5. How Does It Work
IVF is a process that makes it possible to collect eggs from the mother and fertilize them with sperm from the father. Once they are collected, the embryo is placed back in the uterus of whoever will be carrying the baby. Sometimes multiple embryos are used to guarantee a pregnancy.
In this case, the embryos were put in Jessica because, as the surrogate, she would be carrying the baby for nine months. Although she was the one carrying the child, Jessica had no genetic ties to the fetus. This can be confusing, which is why there are specific laws for surrogacy for each state.
6. Following The Rules
Since Jessica went through a surrogate agency, there were specific guidelines and rules she had to follow. It is technically a job; therefore, Jessica made sure she was doing everything by the rulebook to bring a healthy baby into the world.
As a mom, Jessica knew her responsibilities and wanted to make sure she could do everything not to let the couple down. Six weeks after she became pregnant, Jessica went for her first ultrasound, and this was the first surprise she would experience throughout the process.
7. The Doctors Discovered Something Interesting
When Jessica went in for her first doctor's appointment, the doctor discovered she was pregnant with twins. This is not uncommon in surrogacy, so the doctors weren't shocked, but Jessica and the couple were.
The doctor explained that when undergoing IVF treatments, there is an above-average chance of conceiving multiple babies. Since they sometimes put more than one embryo to ensure pregnancy, there is a higher chance that the woman will get pregnant with twins.
8. The First Of Many Surprises
At first, Jessica was nervous about carrying twins, and she was scared the couple would be unhappy. Once she heard that the couple was more than excited to get twins, Jessica's nerves eased slightly. She was happy that she could do more than what they had initially intended.
Jessica now knew that this would be a more difficult pregnancy because she was carrying two babies. She started to get nervous because she didn't know how this would change things, and it was going to be an even more significant strain on her body.
9. Her Family Was Supportive
With the support of her husband and children, Jessica's nerves were eased because she knew that they would be there for her every step of the pregnancy. Her husband was the most supportive, and helped her with everything around the house.
As the months went on, Jessica had more difficulty moving around the house and running errands, but her family helped so much. When she would go to the doctor, she got positive news to relay to the couple that the babies were healthy and growing at a normal rate.
10. More Babies, More Money
At first, Jessica was only going to be paid $30,000 for expenses throughout the pregnancy. However, because she was carrying twins, each installment was increased by $5,000. The extra baby meant she was getting a bigger payday, which seemed like a win-win situation for the couple and Jessica.
When Jessica heard that she was having twins, she wasn't told that they were in separate sacs, so everyone assumed the twins came from the same embryo. This made Jessica feel better because it meant her family would be in an even better financial situation than she intended.
11. The Pregnancy Was Going Well
The rest of Jessica's pregnancy went smoothly, considering she was surprised with twins. There was nothing out of the ordinary, and Jessica felt healthy besides the typical symptoms. The couple was eagerly awaiting their babies, and they were excited as the due date approached.
As the nine-month mark approached, Jessica was ready to bring the twins into the world. She followed all the guidelines, and the pregnancy went well. When December rolled around, the twins were delivered via C-sections at a hospital in California.
12. Something Unusual About The Babies
Since Jessica gave birth via C-section, she didn't get to really see the babies when they were born. Due to her contract with Omega Family Global, the babies did not get to spend time with her after they were born. She saw them for only a few moments before they were taken away.
This left Jessica sad for a few days after the birth, but she prepared for this for months. After the delivery, the couple showed her picture of the twins, and Jessica noticed that they looked much different. The twins were far from identical, which was conflicting from the information she received throughout the pregnancy.
13. Not Enough Time With The Newborns
Since Jessica did not have much time with the twins, the thought of the picture played with her mind. She didn't know if she was overthinking their appearances because she was hormonal after the delivery, or if something was actually wrong.
Although she was carrying the baby for someone else, Jessica felt emotional when the babies were taken away. It was obviously a complicated process since she had grown them for nine months in her womb. There were many emotions, and she tried to focus on recovering from the c-section.
14. The Confusion Continues
Jessica couldn't stop thinking about the twins, but she continued on with her life. Now that she had the money, she and her husband were planning to buy a new home, and they were going about life as usual. It seemed as though the surrogacy chapter in her life was closed, but that was not the case.
About one month after the delivery, Jessica and her husband planned their move when they received a message from the couple. The mother sent a picture of the twins and said, "They are not the same, right? Have you thought about why they are different?" Jessica was in shock after this.
15. The Babies Were Very Different
As she studied the picture more, Jessica began to toy with the idea that one of the children might belong to her. The babies could not look more different, and Jessica started to question everything. She could not let go of this idea, and she didn't know what to do in this situation.
Jessica showed her husband the picture, and he agreed that the boys were not twins. Not only was Jessica concerned about the legitimacy of the babies, but the Chinese couple was also confused because their babies were two different races.
16. The Truth Is Revealed
Both parties raised concerns about the babies, so the couple decided to do a DNA test to find out the truth. When the results finally came back, everyone was in total shock. Jessica's suspicions turned out to be accurate; one of the babies was hers even though she followed all the guidelines.
Both couples had no idea how this could have happened, and they didn't know how to proceed. Everything started to make more sense because the boys were in two different sacs, and they had different gestational periods.
17. This Was An Extremely Rare Occurrence
So how could this have happened? This is known as "superfetation" when a woman ovulates even though she is already pregnant. Even though Jessica was pregnant with the Chinese couple's embryo, she also got pregnant with her own biological child!
There have only been about ten recorded cases of this happening, and the surrogacy only made this more complicated. Now there was only one more thing to figure out, who kept the baby? Biologically it was Jessica's child, but the couple paid her for the babies.
18. Who Gets The Baby?
The guidelines laid out by the Omega Family Global agency said that Jessica could not be intimate with her husband until the doctor said it was okay, and they even used condoms to be safe. However, Jessica managed to conceive the second baby after she was already pregnant with the couple's child.
Jessica was heartbroken that her own baby was taken away from her, but the couple had paid for it. It was now a question of who kept the baby. This child was her flesh and blood, but he technically belonged to the Chinese couple. Jessica was not going to give up hope that she would get custody of her son.
19. Conflicting Opinions
The couple that was once so grateful to Jessica for bringing their child into the world turned on her. They used the argument that they had paid for the second baby; therefore, it legally belonged to them. Jessica and her husband were so upset and panicked because they didn't want to lose their child.
Although the couple had named the baby Max, Jessica and her husband called him Malachi. Conflicts began to rise between the two couples, and no one understood how Jessica got pregnant despite using condoms and waiting for the appropriate amount of time.
20. How Did This Happen?
Since it was such a rare occurrence, the couples didn't know how to hand the situation. The boys had different biological parents, and it was more common for a person to get struck by lightning than to get pregnant while already pregnant.
Jessica was fortunate that she carried both babies to full term because they had different gestational periods. The babies are at least a few weeks apart because she had to be intimate with her husband until the IVF doctor gave her the "green-light."
21. The Situation Got Worse
For most people, the simple solution was for the couple to give Jessica her son back, but things were not that easy. It turned out that the couple was not interested in raising a son that was not biologically theirs, and they asked Omega Family Global to look after him until the situation was sorted.
Jessica wanted to hold her son and have him home, but the couple requested $22,000 for the child. However, Jessica and her husband used the money to buy a new house before they found out the child was theirs, and they could not afford to pay the fee. She worried that she would never see her child again.
22. It Became A Battle For Their Son
Although the couple did not want Jessica's son, they were not going to hand him over so easily. Jessica and her husband decided to hire lawyers because they wanted to fight for their son. All they wanted was to have their son home, and they didn't realize how long it would take to get him there.
When Jessica got a call from their lawyer, she hoped that he had a simple way to get their son, but that was not the case. The lawyer explained that the couple wanted compensation for the child. It seems like everyone forgot that they were talking about an innocent baby rather than a material item.
23. Taking Her Story To The Media
Jessica wasn't going to sit back and let people steal her child. Once her story got around, she was invited for many different interviews. People could not believe that this was happening to her, and she wanted everyone to understand the pain she was suffering while she didn't have her son.
People sympathized with Jessica and her family because it was almost like her son was being held hostage. The couple didn't want him, but they refused to return the boy to his biological parents. The story tugged at the heartstrings of parents everywhere.
24. The Couple Was Asking For Too Much
The couple was asking for too much, and Jessica couldn't afford their demands. On top of the couple's requests, Omega Family Global was also asking that Jessica pay for the costs from having a caseworker take care of their son while the situation got sorted out.
Jessica and her husband had already spent most of the money they got from the surrogacy contract when they bought a house; therefore, they couldn't afford to pay all these "debts." They felt horrible because they couldn't buy back their son, which was already ridiculous.
25. They Couldn't Afford To Get Their Son Back
All Jessica wanted to do was hold her baby in her arms, but she was not able to see him. Her family couldn't afford all the payments, and they were devastated. This was her biological son, yet no one saw it through her perspective.
They refused to give up the fight for their son because they just wanted him to be at home and safe. It was bad enough that the couple didn't want their son, but now he was in the care of a caseworker, which was frightening for Jessica.
26. Up For Adoption
From an outside perspective, it would seem simple to give Jessica her biological son because the couple didn't want him, and the agency didn't want to pay for him any longer. However, no one wanted to let Jessica out of her debts. On top of everything, his birth was no one's fault.
Jessica received the news, which made her break down in tears; the agency lined up parents to adopt her son. If that didn't work out, the Chinese couple was planning to put him up for adoption independently. Jessica's family was heartbroken by this news, and they didn't know what they could do.
27. She Was Asked To Buy Her Baby Back
It seemed that there was nothing Jessica could do because the agency and the couple both wanted to put her son up for adoption. Jessica certainly couldn't afford to "buy" him back, and the odds were against her.
Jessica started to think she would never see her son again because the situation was out of her control. She didn't understand how this was legal, and she became suspicious of the case. She had to figure out what was really going on and how to get her baby back.
28. The Legal Fees Were Piling Up
Since Jessica and her husband decided to get a lawyer to fight the couple and the agency, the bills started to grow. She not only owned the couple and the agency, but she also owed the lawyer for all the work he was doing to get their baby back.
It all seemed to be too much for Jessica, and she was overwhelmed. How could this be happening to her? This baby was her biological child, yet he was being ripped away from her because everyone wanted money.
29. A Tearful Reunion
After two long and painful months, many excuses, and a legal battle, Jessica and her family were finally reunited with her baby. They were initially told that the couple didn't want to sign over power of attorney, but again, Jessica was given false information.
In a Starbucks parking lot, Jessica tearfully held her baby for the first time since she the delivery. The couple's lawyers had given them false information, and they finally realized that Jessica had no ill intentions and just wanted her son back.
30. Who Could They Blame For This Mess?
After everything was said and done, who was to blame for this mess? Some people believed that Jessica and her husband shouldn't have been intimate throughout her pregnancy, while others blamed the fertility doctor. It was such a rare occurrence, so those parties weren't at fault.
The Chinese couple just wanted to become parents, but some blamed them for dragging out the process. However, the ones who made this mess much worse was the surrogacy agency. The agency gave incorrect information and refused to reach an easy resolution.
31. The Perfect Addition To Their Family
Jessica and her family had to prepare for her son's homecoming quickly, but they were delighted to have their baby home. Malachi was the perfect addition to their family, and regardless of the struggles, Jessica does not regret becoming a surrogate.
Although they are struggling financially, her family is finally complete. They set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the baby's expenses like getting his birth certificate and legally changing his name.
32. What The Surrogacy Agency Did Wrong
Omega Family Global made matters much worse for Jessica while she was trying to get her son back. They told the Chinese couple that Jessica was going to sue them, which she never said. The couple got scared, and that was one of the reasons why the process was delayed.
Through manipulation and lies, the agency caused everyone to rack up considerable legal fees, but they refused to explain. Their only answer was the surrogacy is a complicated process, and issues can arise with any pregnancy. Omega Family Global did not take any responsibility for the role they played in this process.
33. A Cautionary Tale For Other Women
Although Jessica does not regret becoming a surrogate, she would never do it again. No one could blame her, considering the traumatic experience she had to endure. Jessica and her husband didn't plan to extend their family, but Malachi was a blessing regardless.
She hopes that other women will still consider surrogacy but learn from her story. It not only left emotional scars, but the financial burden is immense. It is such a gift to help people become parents, and she hopes that this will not deter people from going through the process.
34. Another Couple Decided Not To Use An Agency For Surrogacy In Fear That Something Would Go Wrong. Instead They Turned To Someone Close To Them.
After getting married, Nicole and Kevin Barattini wanted to be parents more than anything in the world. They were so excited to start trying, but soon after, they learned it might not be possible to conceive naturally.
They had been trying for a few years before they started to lose hope. Although it was hard, they still wanted to be parents, but they had to get to the root of the problem and determine why they couldn't get pregnant.
35. A Rare Auto-Immune Disease Prevented Her From Getting Pregnant
After years of trying, Nicole decided to go to the doctor and get to the root of the problem. Nicole battled with health issues in her teens, and she was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). It can be fatal if not treated, so it was good that she caught it at such a young age.
After years of managing her TTP, Nicole wondered if this was why she couldn't get pregnant. The doctor gave her the horrible news that it would be too risky for her and the baby if she were to get pregnant because of the medication she took to manage her disease. It was even more heartbreaking to tell her husband when she got home.
36. Turning To Close Friends To Make Their Dreams Come True
After considering all the risks and looking for alternatives, Nicole froze her eggs, and they decided to look for a surrogate. Although it was a more expensive option, it was right for them. One evening, when they were having dinner with their friends, Liana and Shaun, the topic of pregnancy came up.
Liana had five beautiful children, and she saw how sad Nicole was because she couldn't conceive. One thing led to another, and Liana surprised everyone by saying she would be their surrogate. They couldn't believe that one of their friends would offer to do this for them, and they couldn't refuse.
37. A Generous Offer Changed Their Plans
After recently welcoming their fifth child, Liana and Shaun wanted to help Nicole and Kevin in any way they could. Liana offered to be a surrogate for Nicole, and they were overwhelmed with emotions. She felt so blessed with her large family, and she wanted to give Nicole the joy of being a mother too.
Liana prepared for the process, and everything was moving quickly. Nicole and Kevin were thrilled to become parents, and they couldn't wait for Liana to get pregnant. She began IVF treatments, and waiting to find out if Liana was pregnant seemed like time was slowing down.
38. Second Times The Charm
When they found out that the first treatment didn't take, Nicole and Kevin didn't want to give up. Liana was also supportive of trying the IVF treatments again. She went in for a second round, and the waiting began. They implanted multiple embryos the second time to increase her chances of getting pregnant.
Everyone was anxiously waiting to find out if the second treatment worked, and they were filled with joy when they got the good news. The second round of IVF was successful, and Liana was finally pregnant with their baby. However, they weren't expecting what would come next.
39. An Unexpected Surprise
When Liana went in for her first ultrasound, the doctor was happy to share that the IVF treatment was successful. Nicole and Kevin were all smiles when they talked about the baby, but the doctor had more exciting news.
The ultrasound showed that Liana was pregnant with twins. Nicole and Kevin were over the moon to find out that they were having two babies. It was more than they could have dreamed, and they were excited to share the news with their family and friends.
40. The Big Day Finally Arrived
After nine long months, the due date finally arrived. Nicole and Kevin waited patiently to welcome their twins, and Liana was ready for the delivery. In February 2017, Liana went into labor and gave birth to two healthy, beautiful babies.
When Nicole and Kevin held their children for the first time, it was like their dreams had finally come true. They had a baby girl and boy, who completed the family they had always wanted. They said it was the most fantastic feeling they had ever experienced in their lives.
41. Healthy And Happy Babies
The twins were absolutely beautiful, and Nicole and Kevin were incredibly grateful for Liana's generosity. They didn't know how they could ever thank her for what she did. They wanted to be parents for so long, and their friend helped that desire become a reality.
Each day with the babies was a new adventure and a blessing. Having them home was something Nicole and Kevin waited for, for so long. They also used their experience to encourage other women to consider surrogacy because it was a life-changing gift.
42. A Big Happy Family
Through their incredible connection, Nicole and Kevin saw that it only fitted to make Liana and Shaun the god-parents of their children. They had been there every step of the way, and they considered each other to be family.
Throughout the process, Nicole was able to continue her TTP treatment, and their family goals came true. Nicole said Liana was like a sister now, and she would cherish their bond forever. Both couples are excited to watch their children grow up together.