1994, Carol O'Reilly from Newent in Gloucester, has had three children
for childless couples, making her an experienced surrogate mother.
May she will be having her fourth child for Pip and Kev Redmarley,
giving them a second child and a genetic sibling to their first
said, "I've been a surrogate three times now and first became
interested after seeing a programme about surrogacy called Heart
of the Matter.
programme started me thinking and at that time my sister had been
trying for five years to have a baby, but never got pregnant. I
saw the anguish she was going through and felt people like me could
help people like her."
to successful IVF treatment Carol didn't need to help her sister
have a child but she did go on to help another childless couple.
look at the children like nieces and nephews and I love them.
Not as much as I love my own children because I don't have the
same bond, but I love them dearly.
explained, "I didn't go on to help my sister because she went
on to IVF treatment and got pregnant, and she now has three children
of her own.
went on to have a child for a couple in Scotland, then another child
in Scotland and then a child for somebody in Gloucestershire."
are two types of surrogacy, traditional and host surrogacy.
is where the baby is conceived through artificial insemination and
is genetically related to the surrogate and the intended father.
surrogacy is where the baby is conceived through in vitro fertilization.
The baby is created from the intended father's sperm and the intended
mother's egg in vitro and then transferred into the host surrogate.
surrogate is in not genetically related to the babyl. She just carries
the baby for nine months because the intended mother is unable to
carry a pregnancy.
IVF - making babies in a lab!
to Carol, "Traditional or straight surrogacy is what I've done.
I check for ovulation and when it's my ovulation period I tell the
intended father. He comes to my house and either produces a sperm
sample or brings one with him and I then insert it into myself.
There is no sexual contact whatsoever!
then have to wait two weeks to see if it's taken. The statistics
are the same for traditional surrogacy as they are if you are trying
to have a baby naturally."
times a baby!
will try three times to get pregnant for an intended couple and
explained, "I seem to be quite fertile so I've always got pregnant."
has also stayed in contact with all three couples that she has been
a surrogate for.
actual birth is the best part of the surrogacy process. You
have been striving for this actual moment and it's the most
exciting, emotional time. You don't want the baby, you haven't
bonded with the baby but you do have a bond with the intended
almost like an extended family and I'm like an aunty figure. I look
at the children like nieces and nephews and I love them. Not as
much as I love my own children because I don't have the same bond,
but I love them dearly."
what, according to Carol, is the the best thing about being a surrogate?
actual birth is the best part of the surrogacy process. You have
been striving for this actual moment and it's the most exciting,
emotional time. You don't want the baby, you haven't bonded with
the baby but you do have a bond with the intended parents.
when the baby is actually born, watching the baby be handed to them,
or in the last case the intended mother actually delivered her,
watching them standing with their child and becoming a family is
a really good feeling, it's the ultimate, it's absolutely wonderful
and you couldn't top it.
at the end of the day you are giving up an egg and incubating it
and nobody every scorns egg donors. Surrogacy is just one step further
and it's all about helping other people."
her experience as a surrogate Carol co-founded Surrogacy UK with
her friend Elizabeth Stringer to provide a wealth of knowledge on
all aspects of surrogacy.
UK was started in October 2002 because myself and Elizabeth decided
that after being in the surrogacy business for a long time there
wasn't enough support or information out there.
we decided we could make a good job of it and we have. We are a
resource for anybody in the UK who can come to us for information."
is legal in the UK, but no money can be paid to the surrogate mother
other than "reasonable expenses".
explained, "Different costs are incurred by different types
of surrocay depending on how you do it.
costs are incurred by different types of surrocay depending
on how you do it.
you're doing IVF you've got all hospital costs. If you join an organisation
you've got a nominal fee to pay. There is no definitive fee of how
much a surrogate costs because everyone's circumstances are different.
surrogate has to take possibly six months off work, eat better,
to have travel costs, to have maternity clothes, childcare costs
for any children the surrogate, if she's unwell then maybe for a
cleaner, so things do add up and costs can run into the thousands.
the end of the day the surrogate doesn't gain anything from it financially
they just get their expenses paid. It is illegal to be paid for
is now planning on doing a surrogacy for her previous couple, who
had a baby girl called Kitty in August 2002 and would now like a
couple have asked if I will give them a full biological sibling
and we've agreed to start in May.
is the first time I have given a couple a sibling as before it has
always been for childless couples. But this is nice because we have
a really good friendship and get on really well with the intended
will be keeping an online diary of her surrogacy pregnacy so watch
this space for further details.
by Nat Hall
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