A surrogate mum's story: 'I was just the oven at the end'

17/01/18

Pregnant woman

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have spoken of their happiness about having a daughter by a surrogate.

And for some surrogate mums, the experience of carrying another family's baby is just as joyful.

Chloe is 28, a mum of three, and she gave birth to her first surrogate child in August 2017.

She's been talking to Newsbeat about why she decided to become a surrogate after having her three children.

"When my daughter was born, it was the most amazing experience," she said.

"I instantly fell in love with this little baby and it broke my heart to think there are parents out there who will never have this."

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
Image caption Kim and Kanye welcomed a new daughter this week via a surrogate mum

Chloe has a five-year-old and three-year-old twins. After the birth of their twins, she and her husband decided together that they wanted to help other families.

Chloe joined Surrogacy UK, an organisation which supports surrogates and couples who are unable to have children, who they refer to as "intended parents".

She was introduced to a couple and describes getting to know them as "almost like dating."

"You offer to exclusively get to know them," she says.

"We then spent just over four months getting to know each other. We did days out, takeaways in. Normal things you do with friends.

"We built up a relationship and we had faith and trust in each other so we started the IVF process.

"They used the biological mum's egg, the biological father's sperm - I was just the oven at the end. I did the cooking."

Pregnant woman
Image caption Chloe says it was easier explaining the surrogacy to her children than to many adults

Chloe says her experience of surrogate pregnancy was very different to when she was expecting her own children.

"I was excited to be a mum and to welcome my babies into the world," she says.

"This time, I'd liken it to looking after someone else's child.

"I very much view it as a baby to give back, I don't view it as mine to give up."

And Chloe found it easier to explain the situation to her children than she did some adults.

"I said to my children the intended mother's tummy is broken and doesn't work properly so she can't have her babies so mummy is going to grow their baby and when it's all grown and born, we're going to give it back," she said.

"Adults on the whole tend to be a bit nosier, know biology a little bit better so they tend to ask a few more questions."

Pregnant woman
Image caption Chloe built a friendship with the intended family before starting IVF

In the UK, it is illegal for surrogates to get paid for a baby, but during the pregnancy the intended parents will pay for the mum's essentials.

And this comes in handy when pregnancy cravings strike.

"My expenses are covered, so things like fuel, clothing and all the extras that come with pregnancy, all the strange food cravings, all the late night trips to McDonalds for instance," says Chloe.

"I had a real hankering for those milkshakes."

Pregnant woman
Image caption She was able to claim expenses such as hospital trips and late night McDonald's from the intended family

When Chloe gave birth, the intended parents had a room in the same hospital so the child could be a part of their family immediately.

She says many adults struggle to understand why she would be a surrogate, but less than six months after giving birth, Chloe is ready to do it all over again.

"I am in that 'get to know' period with another couple," she says.

"I do feel like I've been pregnant forever but to be honest I adore pregnancy. I love being pregnant and I don't suffer like some people do.

"I honestly feel like I breeze it and my husband is willing to put up with me hormonal again."

"It seems like a good time to do it again while I'm young and then I can say I've done my piece."

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