A grandmother, whose daughter was born without a womb, has given her the ultimate gift by acting as a surrogate for her.
When Tracey Smith was diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser Syndrome (MRKH), the 31-year-old feared that she’d not be able to become a mother.
But Smith’s 55-year-old mother, Emma Miles, came forward to help her daughter, offering to carry her child in her own womb.
Smith used IVF with her 40-year-old husband Adam to produce an embryo which was then implanted into Miles.
However, it wasn’t so plain simple. Miles had to take hormones to kick start the process on top of shedding six stone (38 kg) to gain the required weight.
And though older mothers face a severe risk of pre-eclampsia, a condition which can take the life of both the mother and the baby, Miles – a supermarket worker – was desperate to help her daughter.
Fortunately, nothing bad happened and the family welcomed their newest addition on January 16. Miles gave birth to a healthy baby, Evie Siân Emma Smith, weighing 7lbs 7oz, through a C-section.
‘To find out that Tracey couldn’t have children was gutting to me,’ Miles, who is also mother to Nicola, 24, said.
‘She rarely felt able to open up but when I had the chance just after her diagnosis I remember sitting on her bed and saying: “I’m here if you need me.”
‘Despite my age I wasn’t worried about giving birth at all. All of my focus has been about doing this special thing for my daughter.
‘I don’t feel anymore attachment to Evie than any other proud grandmother. Tracey is my baby and I did it all for her to be a mother.
‘Now I’m glad to be back to work and getting back to normal. But I have offered to do it all again if they ever want a little brother or sister for Evie.’
Miles is one of the oldest surrogate mothers in Britain.
Two weeks after the birth of Evie in February, Mr and Mrs Smith tied knots with each other. This year, Smith will be celebrating her first Mother’s Day, thanks to the ‘amazing gift’ she received from her own mother.
‘Every moment of heartache was so worth it just to have our little bundle in our arms. I am so grateful to mom for her amazing gift to us,’ Smith, a nursery worker living in Coventry, said.
When Smith didn’t have her period by the age of 15, scans revealed that she was born without a womb. But she still had working Fallopian tubes and ovaries.
Smith was diagnosed with MRKH – a condition in which the uterus and vagina are either underdeveloped or totally absent. Doctors told Smith that she’d never carry her own child as the rare condition was incurable.
Miles said at the time that she’d go to any length to help her daughter. But it wasn’t until 15 years later when Smith took her offer.
‘When I was diagnosed it tipped my world upside down. I was heartbroken at the idea that I wouldn’t carry my own child,’ Smith said.
‘I’d always known that I wanted to be a mom, even at 15.
‘Straight after my diagnosis mum made an offer to do what she could to help. I knew that she meant one day she’d carry my child for me.
‘Over the years she mentioned it in passing but we never really made a firm plan. It was only after I met Adam and we got engaged in 2016 that he broached the subject of children.’
Initially, the couple decided to use a surrogacy agency but gave up the idea due to Britain’s ‘outdated’ laws.
‘The law in this country gives the surrogate – and her husband if she has one – all parental rights from birth and that felt like a huge risk,’ Smith said.
It was when Smith asked her mom if she was serious to help the couple.
‘I remembered mom’s promise to me,’ Smith said. ‘So the next time we met up I asked her if she’d been serious about carrying our baby.
‘I was delighted when she replied: “Of course I was”. She had just been waiting for me to ask.’
Finally, the day came when Miles successfully gave birth to a child in the first attempt. ‘Adam and I were allowed to both stay by mpm’s side as Evie came into the world,’ Smith said.
‘It was such an incredible emotional moment. I was so nervous that everything would go well for mom and for the safe arrival of our baby.
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