“I rented out my womb – and they almost took my own son” is the title of an article posted by New York Post last October 2017 that talks about the experience of a 31-year-old Jessica Allen from California. Despite the increasing popularity of Commercial Surrogacy in US, only a handful of states legalized its practice where California being one of them.
Jessica told her story in which she agreed to be a surrogate mother for an agreed sum of $30,000 (paid on an installment basis for 9 months) for a couple from China, the Lius. On April, 2016 she had gone through vitro fertilization and 9 days after, was deemed pregnant. A routine check-up six weeks after revealed that, as it turns out, she was carrying twins. On which surrogacy agency and doctors only assumed to might just be identical twins. The Lius was so happy that for the second child, they have increased the payment by $5,000. Then on 12 December, 2016, via a caesarean operation, Jessica gave birth to two healthy boys.
The first time Jessica saw the babies was a month after. From a picture the couple had sent her with a message asking, “They are not the same, right? Have you thought about why they are different?”
“I did notice that one was much lighter than the other. You know, obviously they are not identical twins.” She told ABC News. But the suspicion has been confirmed after DNA tests revealed that one baby was Allen’s and the other one is of the Chinese couple.
“I don’t know how to describe it… we were floored.” Jessica added. “We were like, how did this happen?”
What happened is a rare phenomenon called “superfetation.” Normally, hormones will be released to cease ovulation once a woman is pregnant. But there are rare cases where the body continues to ovulate that could potentially be fertilized. This could result to birthing two children that were developed on different time. Or like in Jessica’s case, different parents. Because of its rarity, even practitioners and scientists have limited understanding about this anomaly.
Despite the expensive and arduous legal process they have gone through, Jessica, along with her husband Jasper, was granted custody of their own child on which they called Malachi.
When asked if she regretted becoming a surrogate mother, Jessica answered that she never did. Or else it would seem like she regretted having her son. But she would also like to share her story, especially to those who are thinking of getting into surrogacy. Hoping that they’ll learn something from her experience.