I found my surrogate... at SLIMMING WORLD!
‘I found my surrogate SAINT while counting my SYNS!’ Woman born without womb desperate for a baby finds her surrogate at Slimming World group...
Hayley, 30, from Cornwall, knew she would never carry a baby and wanted nothing more than to become a mother. But she never expected to find the answer to her prayers at her local Slimming World group. Her surrogate had been living down the road all along... I wrote her story for the Sunday Mirror:
When Hayley was 16 she learnt she had MRKH, meaning she was born without a womb. She knew she'd never have a baby and when scans showed she had both ovaries, she decided she'd go the surrogate route.
After marrying husband Gareth in April 2019, they started saving for IVF (their situation wasn’t covered by NHS funding) but discovered Surrogacy UK had closed their book for new intended parents. Hayley was devastated. Then via a support group, learnt they could go the independent route.
A year later the couple met a surrogate who wanted to help and they were successful in creating one embryo - only for the surrogate to get cold feet. Once again, their dreams were crushed.
In the meantime, the IVF clinic had told Hayley to lose some weight for a more successful egg retrieval, so she had joined her local Slimming World group, run by consultant Sophie, 36, and was attending every week.
When Hayley told Sophie she was going to miss a few weeks because of IVF, Sophie presumed Hayley was having it to get pregnant herself. It wasn't until Hayley put an emotional post on Facebook that Sophie, already a mum-of-four, realised the length of the couple's struggles. And so she began doing her own research...
To Hayley’s shock, Sophie texted her offering to carry her baby and explained it was something she had always wanted to do. Hayley burst into tears and they went for a cuppa to chat about it. Sophie insisted she was 100% sure and an agreement was written up.
Hayley and Gareth had a second round of IVF at the end of 2020 creating four embryos, meaning they had five altogether.
After a round of medication, Sophie had the transfer, then all they could do was wait the two weeks. On test day, Sophie peed in a pot and the three of them all stuck a pregnancy test in and waited… There were tears all around when all three tests showed positive!
The trio attended all scans and midwife appointments together and visited each other every week to catch up, with Hayley feeling the kicks in Sophie's tummy, buying her care packages and covering Sophie's expenses (surrogatescan't be paid a fee in the UK).
At 38 weeks, in Feb 2022, Sophie was induced and had a C-section. Hayley held Sophie’s hand and watched as baby Rosie was born. Then she took her to meet Gareth crying, ‘she’s ours, she’s ours!’ They couldn’t believe after years of waiting and hoping that their baby was finally here.
The couple made Sophie godmother and Hayley and Sophie are the best of friends - they also still see each other every week at Slimming World! Sophie loves cuddles with baby Rosie, now 13 weeks, but says: “I’m always asked how I felt giving Rosie away but she was never my baby. I wasn’t giving her away, I was giving her back.”
Hayley says: “We cannot put into words what Sophie has given us or thank her enough. For eight years I was in a dark place. I cried when my friends all had babies, cried after every baby shower and waited and hoped my turn would come. Now there is just so much light. Rosie is everything we wanted and more.”
Now Hayley is keen to highlight in her words the ‘worst part of surrogacy’ - how her name is not on the birth certificate and hopes this will change when it goes through parliament hopefully later this year.
Hayley & Sophie are signed to Tell and Sell Stories.