Last week, a 61-year-old woman carrying her own granddaughter via a surrogacy pregnancy gave birth in a Nebraska hospital.
Cecile Eledge carried her gay son’s daughter to term; the six-pound baby girl, named Uma Louise Dougherty-Eledge, was conceived through in vitro fertilization with her son Matthew Eledge’s sperm and his husband’s sister’s eggs.
According to NBC News, Matthew and his husband Elliot Dougherty decided to have a child using Elliot’s sister Lea Yribe’s eggs via surrogacy but were “hesitant to go into agencies” due to the conservative nature of the state.
“Nebraska is a bit more conservative, and we were hesitant to go into agencies, and had a bit of fear that maybe some things would hold us back being a gay couple,” Matthew said, according to the outlet.
So, Matthew’s mother offered to carry the baby. “I just never hesitated. I was just so excited to be able to be part of this adventure with them. … It was just unconditional love,” she said.
Due to Cecile being postmenopausal, Matthew was initially unsure if such an offer could be delivered. Doctors, however, cleared the healthy 61-year-old for the pregnancy.
“It was really exciting to know that my mom and dad and whole ancestry and family lineage were going to be a part of her,” said Elliot, who recently lost his mother.
“I was feeding her, and it was early, and she wasn’t eating very fast, and I just looked at her face, and I saw my mom’s face there,” he added. “In a way it just felt like I was taking care of my sweet mom.”
According to The Cut, surrogacy is actually not legal is all states. “[S]urrogacy laws vary on a state-by-state basis,” reported the outlet. “For instance, surrogacy agreements cannot be enforced under New York law, so someone in the state who would like to find a surrogate to carry an embryo to term will have to find a carrier in a surrogate-friendly state, like New Jersey or Connecticut.”
“This is a fascinating part of surrogacy that most people don’t realize,” said Dr. Brian Levine, who founded and serves as practice director of fertility center CCRM New York. “There are a number of attorneys who specialize in surrogacy law, so people wanting to use a surrogate will have to consider that legality and the legal cost as well,” he added.
It’s also a hefty chunk of change. “According to Levine, the costs for the whole process — including IVF and compensating the surrogate — can range from $50,000 up to $200,000,” noted The Cut.
“The cost of transferring an embryo is not expensive; the cost is more so for paying the carrier to carry the pregnancy,” added Dr. Ryan Martin of Shady Grove Fertility.
Matthew and Elliot told NBC “they anticipate difficult conversations and narrow-minded reactions over Uma’s unconventional birth story, but the couple is prepared to explain the circumstances to Uma when she gets older.”