Woman shares adorable images of baby she conceived using late husband’s frozen sperm

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Lauren McGregor and Baby Seb. Images provided (Collage by Futhi Masilela)
Lauren McGregor and Baby Seb. Images provided (Collage by Futhi Masilela)
  • As Lauren McGregor cradles her newborn son, Seb, her joy is bittersweet.
  • Baby Seb's father died more than two years before his birth.
  • Lauren conceived her son using sperm frozen by her husband Chris, who died in July 2020 after being diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour.
  • And when she gave birth by planned C section, doctors made sure there was a picture of Chris in the operating theatre. 

Lauren McGregor recently gave birth to an adorable baby boy she conceived using her late husband's frozen sperm after he succumbed to cancer in July 2020.

The 33-year-old mom shared that as soon as Seb was born she had an overwhelming feeling that her late husband, Chris, had the baby before her.

She felt as though her husband had passed Seb onto her from another place. When she gave birth there was a photo of Chris in the labour room.

"I didn't feel as though I needed to introduce Seb to the photo of his dad - it just felt like they already knew each other. He's just given me a little piece of himself from wherever he is now," she said.

"Seb looks more like his dad every day. When he was born he had a thick head of hair, with a perfect 'M' shaped hairline, just like Chris' that we all teased him about. As his features start to emerge, I can see Chris in him more and more. His lips have filled out, just like Chris' - whereas my lips are quite thin. I knew doing this alone would be hard, but there are so many moments that I just wish Chris were here to share."

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Next Father's Day, she plans on reminiscing the good times with their son and Chris' son Wade, 18, from a previous relationship.

"We want to make a list of all of Chris' favourite places and start a tradition of going to a new one every Father's Day - just the three of us. It's going to mean a lot having a day just to talk about him, obviously we talk about him in passing but this would be dedicated to remembering him and how he was" she says.

Although Seb won't ever meet his dad, he will certainly know all about him. Lauren's home is filled with photos of her beloved partner and she often tells her newborn about the fun, kind man he was.

"I had a planned C-section, which I discussed with doctors beforehand partly because Seb was measuring so big. It wasn't a surprise that he was a big baby, because Chris was tall, and the doctors at the scans were always asking 'was dad big'?," she adds.

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When the doctors in the theatre found out her circumstances, they let Lauren put a picture of Chris up in the room, and even though patients usually have to remove all their jewellery, they allowed her to keep her wedding ring and a necklace with Chris' ashes on while Seb was born, and just remove them afterwards.

"That meant the world to me. One of the first things Seb did was grab hold of the necklace of Chris' ashes, which was just beautiful. The staff were amazing, they were really understanding of the situation," she adds. Lauren was also able to capture the emotional moment Chris' son Wade carried baby Seb, who weighed 8lbs 11oz, out of the hospital.

"I think he must have seen some posts on social media about how dads usually carry the baby out of the hospital. It was something he mentioned really early on in my pregnancy that he wanted to do. I don't think there are many teenage boys who would even think of that, but it was something he really wanted to do for his dad. It's a really lovely picture and a lovely memory. Wade said to me that he feels as though he has a piece of his dad with him now, but I had to remind him that he already has a piece of his dad in himself."

Although Lauren knew what she was letting herself in for, she admits she couldn't be without the help of her parents, who live down the road and help look after Seb.

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"I'm really looking forward to the adventure, although I am sad that the baby will never meet Chris. Sometimes, when I'm up in the middle of the night breastfeeding I think about what Chris would be doing if he were here. The house is so quiet and I think about all the stories I want to tell Seb one day about his dad; all the funny stories, and the places I can take him to. Seb won't ever miss out on anything. We will tell him all about his dad but I don't want the situation to be a burden on him. When he's older, his dad can be as much or as little a part of his life as he wants, and I know that might change as he gets older" she adds.

"Chris' mum sadly passed away a year before Chris did, and he never knew his dad, so sadly there are no grandparents on Chris' side. However, our families are linked because my mum and his mum were best friends, so my mum will be able to tell Seb all about his own grandma," says the new mom.

Lauren and Chris first got together just nine months before he fell ill in 2013. "Chris and I had known each other since we were children, our mums were really good friends. We reconnected in 2012 and started dating in April 2013, so it wasn't very long before his first symptoms. After he died, I had to wait nine months before I could start the IVF process as a sort of grieving period, and to make sure I knew what I was entering into. Having a baby was something we spoke about for years while we were together, and said we wanted to do."

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Chris' symptoms began very mildly back in 2013, and he went into remission several times. "Obviously we didn't know they were symptoms at the time, but they started in October 2013. He was feeling poorly, he'd go to the doctors because he had a head cold, he was getting hot flushes if he stood up a bit too fast. Then in December 2013, we were on the phone and lost signal, and we had agreed before if we ever lost signal he would call me so we weren't both ringing each other at the same time. We lost the signal and he didn't call me for an hour, but when he did he said it took so long because he couldn't remember my name to ring me back," she says.

The pair booked an appointment at the GP straight away, who recommended a brain scan. 

"They ruled out a stroke quite quickly, and did some blood tests, and then a CT scan. Once they confirmed there was something on his scan, he was admitted straight away, and he had brain surgery in March 2014. They managed to remove 95 percent of the tumour, and a year later he had pretty much fully recovered."

His symptoms came back at the end of 2016, but it wasn't big enough for surgery so he did chemotherapy and radiotherapy. "Then in November 2019 he started describing the same symptoms again, and we found out he had a second tumour in the other side of his brain. He started chemotherapy in January 2020, and after three months the second one had disappeared and the first was contained," she says.

The doctor recommended stopping chemo because, with Covid-19, she didn't want his immune system compromised. That May, the symptoms were back, and another scan showed the tumour had grown beyond belief, and he passed away in July.

"Losing Chris was the worst day of my life, but he's managed to make sure that we can keep our love growing even when he's not here anymore," she says. And she had already decided that she would like to use more of their frozen embryos to give Seb younger siblings. "I do think once Seb gets to three or four that this is something I'd consider doing again. It's funny, I suffered really badly with nausea and sickness with this pregnancy, and I said to a friend to never let me do this again! But once that passed, you get excited for everything to come, like any mum does."

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