In April 2016, Jessica Allen agreed to be a surrogate mother for a Chinese couple, and underwent an in-vitro fertilisation process, the cost of which came to $30 000, or just over R450 240.
The California-based mom lives in one of a few US states where surrogacy programs are paid for.
When she was six weeks pregnant, she went for her routine ultrasound and found out that she was carrying twins.
The Chinese couple paid her another $5000 for the second baby, as the doctors and surrogacy agency presumed that she had unexpectedly fallen pregnant with twins.
In December, she gave birth to two healthy boys through a C-section.
"They are not the same, right?"
"I didn't even get a look at the babies when they were pulled out because it was done behind an opaque screen. They were taken from the operating room before I had a chance to see them," she said.
But a month later, the Chinese couple sent her a message with a picture of the twins, asking, "They are not the same, right? Have you thought about why they are different?"
Allen agreed that the twins were, without a doubt, not identical.
A DNA test was administered to confirm the suspicion, and it was found that one baby was the Chinese couple's child while the other baby was Allen's biological child.
A rare case of superfetation
Allen told the New York Post that she still wonders how all of this happened.
The only explanation medically is that this is a rare case of superfetation, whereby a pregnant women's body continues to release hormones leading to the woman ovulating and releasing an egg that managed to be fertilised, while she was already pregnant.
Allen then endured a lengthy and expensive legal battle to gain full custody of her son, who she named Malachi.
The Chinese couple requested that she pay them between $18 000 and $22 000, or as much as R327 990, as 'compensation'.
Allen states that by the time this money was asked of her, she had already spent most of the money she earned from the surrogacy contract.
By this time, the Chinese couple were considering putting the child up for adoption, as they were still his legal parents, to get the money they wanted.
Allen and her partner payed over R45 000 for an attorney to negotiate for her on behalf of the couple and the agency and after lengthy discussions, the agency reduced the amount of money they owed to the couple, and she gained custody of her child.
Nonetheless, Allen does not regret being a surrogate mom, and she hopes that other women considering surrogacy can learn from her story.
Source: New York Post
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