A woman has had a child with her stepfather to grant her mother’s wish to have another baby.
Jacky Edwards, 47, had been unable to carry a child after she suffered a traumatic pregnancy and had a partial hysterectomy 12 years ago.
At the time, the mother-of-five thought she didn’t want any more children. She was widowed five years later, but in 2013 met Paul, a 48-year-old chemist.
The couple married in Mauritius in 2014 and a year later decided they wanted to try for a baby. However, due to Mrs Edwards’ age, IVF clinics refused to take them.
They said there was "no chance" because she had gone through the menopause and was no longer producing eggs.
They were about to give up when Mrs Edwards’ eldest daughter Katherine, 30, offered to act as a surrogate after seeing how much it would mean to her mother.
Mrs Edwards said they were having coffee when Katherine took her hand and revealed she and her husband Sam had been investigating the idea.
Katherine said she wanted to do it to "bring some happiness" back to the family after the unexpected death of their father seven years ago. It would also give her mother the DNA link she craved – and effectively mean Katherrine was giving birth to a brother.
"My eyes just welled up with tears," Mrs Edwards said. "The fact that she was willing to do this for me and Paul, it stopped my heart completely.
"It’s a bit Jeremy Kyle, but Paul was jumping for joy. He was like, 'oh my God, it is going to happen'. And there would be a genetic link with the baby." Such an arrangement is incredibly rare in Britain. Although Katherine could have donated her egg to be used by another woman, she was adamant that she was going to carry the baby herself out of pride for being her mother’s surrogate.
They decided not to have IVF treatment because it is expensive and has a lower success rate than simply transferring her mother’s husband’s sperm to her body.
Lawyers and surrogacy experts agreed the arrangement was feasible, and in mid-2015 the family met over the kitchen table to draw up a formal contact.
They discussed how the sperm would be transferred, how they would feel if Katherine miscarried, or if the baby was born disabled, and whether Katherine would be happy to have Paul in the room during her labour.
It was decided that Katherine, an admin worker, would be paid £1 000 (about R16 000) a month in expenses for loss of earnings, maternity clothes and travel to doctor’s appointments.
Katherine and her husband Sam also agreed not to have sex to ensure there was no doubt Paul would be the father. The "transfers" of sperm would take place twice a day for a week in a hotel room in Portsmouth.
Because Mrs Edwards was too shy to buy a home insemination kit, the baby was conceived using plastic syringes and measurement pots from children’s medicine bottles.
Katherine said: "I’d then use the syringe to sort out the transfer, watching Disney films to blank out the reality of injecting my mum’s husband’s modern-day surrogacy sperm into me. Then I’d stay there for a few hours, chatting with mum about what the baby would be like. We did that 14 times in the space of a week and it was a precious time – although I was praying I was pregnant so that I didn’t have to do it again."
Mrs Edwards added: "As a nurse I’m very used to being matter of fact, but it was gross."
Luckily, Katherine found out she was pregnant after the first rounds of attempts. Her mother and Paul then attended every single baby scan, but Katherine – already a mother of two – vowed she wouldn’t become too emotionally involved. The baby would be treated like a nephew or niece, she said.
While her children were played UB40 songs while they were in the womb, the baby, who was named Caspian, was played Doris Day, her mother’s favourite singer. During the pregnancy she suffered terrible morning sickness and had to give up her job. But on May 13 last year, Katherine’s waters broke at 37 weeks while she was in a Costa Coffee in Gosport, Hampshire, with her mother.
Baby Caspian was born 13 minutes later at a birthing centre next door. The couple were in the room when he appeared, and Paul arrived in time to cut the cord.
Mrs Edwards, from South Horrington, Somerset, said: "It was just the most amazing moment."