Submitted by Shelby D Burns Sun 01/12/2014
Belly Julia Navarro is ready to give birth in a few weeks to her own granddaughter. The 58-year old woman is serving as a gestational surrogate for her daughter and son-in-law who have struggled with fertility issues.
Long time struggle to conceive
Lorena McKinnon, Navarro’s daughter, began trying to have a baby with her husband three years ago. The 32-year old said she’s had a dozen miscarriages. Her longest pregnancy lasted only ten weeks. The couple then began looking for a surrogate. Lorena’s friend and sister considered acting as the surrogate but ultimately it did not work out for them.
Her mother stepped in and offered to help “As a family, we have to help each other,” Navarro told the Salt Lake Tribune. She underwent hormone shots for three months before an embryo produced by her daughter and son-in-law could be implanted. Because of her age, doctors gave the embryo a 45% chance of implantation. She beat the odds and has had a smooth pregnancy carrying a baby girl, ever since.
Legal arrangements were still necessary even for direct relative
As with any surrogacy agreement, the couple and Navarro participated in three months of counseling. “The psychologists wanted to make sure we knew what we were getting into – that we were mentally prepared,” Navarro’s daughter said. “Mostly, surrogacy contract are with people you don’t know. It was weird to have a contract with my mom.”
Other moms who gave birth to their grandchildren
It’s unclear how many families use this type of arrangement for surrogacy, but a few make headlines. Last year a 53-year old Iowa woman gave birth to twin granddaughters. In 2012, a 49-year old woman in Maine gave birth to her grandson. On average, a couple can spend about $60,000 on procedures and agreements with a surrogate. Using a family member can save emotional stress and money.