- Jacky Edwards, of South Horrington, Somerset, unable to carry baby naturally
- Widowed at 40, she didn’t want more children after a traumatic pregnancy
- But after re-marrying, she and new husband Paul decided they did want a child
- Daughter Katherine agreed to be surrogate; with couple paying her £1,000 a month in expenses
A woman has had a child with her stepfather to grant her mother’s wish to have another baby.
Jacky Edwards, 47, had been unable to carry a child after she suffered a traumatic pregnancy and had a partial hysterectomy 12 years ago.
At the time, the mother-of-five thought she didn’t want any more children. She was widowed five years later, but in 2013 met Paul, a 48-year-old chemist.
Widowed at 40, Jacky Edwards (left) was unable to carry a baby naturally. When she married again, she and her new husband Paul wanted a baby and her daughter Katherine (right) offered to act as a surrogate, later giving birth to Caspian (also pictured) for them
Katherine drew up an agreement with a lawyer, agreeing that Jacky and Paul (also pictured) would pay her £1,000 a month in expenses. She was then artificially inseminated with Paul’s sperm
Jacky has has written an account of her nursing and family life, ‘The Sky is Not the Limit’ and is working with Katherine on a book about the pregnancy
The couple married in Mauritius in 2014 and a year later decided they wanted to try for a baby. However, due to Mrs Edwards’ age, IVF clinics refused to take them.
They said there was ‘no chance’ because she had gone through the menopause and was no longer producing eggs.
They were about to give up when Mrs Edwards’ eldest daughter Katherine, 30, offered to act as a surrogate after seeing how much it would mean to her mother.
Jacky, 47, of South Horrington, Somerset, pictured with Katherine, 30
Pictured, a newborn Caspian Edwards, who was born healthy at a birthing centre in Portsmouth in May last year
Mrs Edwards said they were having coffee when Katherine took her hand and revealed she and her husband Sam had been investigating the idea.
Katherine said she wanted to do it to ‘bring some happiness’ back to the family after the unexpected death of their father seven years ago. It would also give her mother the DNA link she craved – and effectively mean Katherrine was giving birth to a brother.
‘My eyes just welled up with tears,’ Mrs Edwards said. ‘The fact that she was willing to do this for me and Paul, it stopped my heart completely.
Once Caspian is old enough, Jacky will tell him how he was conceived and show him the memory box of photos she and Katherine have collected
Jacky said: ‘Caspian was hard to get and we are all very proud. He will absolutely know where he came from. Four people created him in a circle of love’
‘It’s a bit Jeremy Kyle, but Paul was jumping for joy. He was like, “oh my God, it is going to happen”. And there would be a genetic link with the baby.’ Such an arrangement is incredibly rare in Britain. Although Katherine could have donated her egg to be used by another woman, she was adamant that she was going to carry the baby herself out of pride for being her mother’s surrogate.
They decided not to have IVF treatment because it is expensive and has a lower success rate than simply transferring her mother’s husband’s sperm to her body.
Lawyers and surrogacy experts agreed the arrangement was feasible, and in mid-2015 the family met over the kitchen table to draw up a formal contact.
Jacky had suffered a traumatic pregnancy with her fifth child 12 years ago and underwent a hysterectomy. After re-marrying, she decided she wanted another child. Above, Katherine and Caspian
Jacky (pictured right with Katherine) began dating husband Paul in 2013 and married in Mauritius in 2014
They discussed how the sperm would be transferred, how they would feel if Katherine miscarried, or if the baby was born disabled, and whether Katherine would be happy to have Paul in the room during her labour.
It was decided that Katherine, an admin worker, would be paid £1,000 a month in expenses for loss of earnings, maternity clothes and travel to doctor’s appointments.
Katherine and her husband Sam also agreed not to have sex to ensure there was no doubt Paul would be the father. The ‘transfers’ of sperm would take place twice a day for a week in a hotel room in Portsmouth.
When Caspian was born, the little boy was handed straight to Jacky, who was delighted to meet her son
After making enquiries at various clinics, Jacky (right) and new husband Paul Edwards were told there was ‘no chance’ of success because she had gone through the menopause. Jacky’s eldest daughter Katherine (left), already a mother-of-two, offered to act as surrogate after seeing how much it would mean to the couple
Because Mrs Edwards was too shy to buy a home insemination kit, the baby was conceived using plastic syringes and measurement pots from children’s medicine bottles.
Katherine said: ‘I’d then use the syringe to sort out the transfer, watching Disney films to blank out the reality of injecting my mum’s husband’s modern-day surrogacy sperm into me. Then I’d stay there for a few hours, chatting with mum about what the baby would be like. We did that 14 times in the space of a week and it was a precious time – although I was praying I was pregnant so that I didn’t have to do it again.’
Mrs Edwards added: ‘As a nurse I’m very used to being matter of fact, but it was gross.’
The family drew up a contract in mid 2015 after seeking legal advice
Katherine (right), who lives in Holland with husband Sam, 27, who is in the Navy, added: ‘I knew that if I didn’t offer to be mum’s surrogate, she would struggle to find one
Jacky (left) said: ‘The fact that she was willing to do this for me and Paul, it stopped my heart completely’
Luckily, Katherine found out she was pregnant after the first rounds of attempts. Her mother and Paul then attended every single baby scan, but Katherine – already a mother of two – vowed she wouldn’t become too emotionally involved. The baby would be treated like a nephew or niece, she said.
While her children were played UB40 songs while they were in the womb, the baby, who was named Caspian, was played Doris Day, her mother’s favourite singer. During the pregnancy she suffered terrible morning sickness and had to give up her job. But on May 13 last year, Katherine’s waters broke at 37 weeks while she was in a Costa Coffee in Gosport, Hampshire, with her mother.
Baby Caspian was born 13 minutes later at a birthing centre next door. The couple were in the room when he appeared, and Paul arrived in time to cut the cord.
The family drew up a legal contract in 2015, which said Jacky would pay for Katherine’s expenses and she agreed not to have sex with her partner until she conceived
Mrs Edwards, from South Horrington, Somerset, said: ‘It was just the most amazing moment.
‘Caspian was handed straight to me because Katherine didn’t want to bond with him and she wanted me to have those moments. It all fell into place. We are totally over the moon with him. We look at him and pinch ourselves because it seemed impossible that Paul and I would ever be able to have a baby together.’
Katherine, who now lives in Holland with husband Sam, 27, a Navy engineer, added: ‘I knew that if I didn’t offer to be mum’s surrogate, she would struggle to find one. The artificial insemination was disgusting… I just thought, “I’m making a baby in a different way,” and blocked it out. There were times when I thought, “have I made a mistake?”. I was told that I was going to feel something for this baby. But when I actually gave birth he was handed straight to my mum. Then I looked over and saw the three of them together and it was amazing. I was at home two hours later, sipping champagne in the bath, while mum took on the role of new mother. Giving Caspian to mum felt so natural.’
Katherine underwent 14 ‘transfers’ over the course of a week and became pregnant
Jacky, who worked as an NHS nurse for 15 years but is now an author, had three sons and two daughters before Caspian, who are now aged between 12 and 30. Seven years ago, her husband Jason, 47, died of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.
Mrs Edwards said: ‘It was devastating but I adapted to single life. I was happy – I got on with things. I didn’t want another relationship, baby, nothing.
‘But my grown up children started worrying I was lonely and they put me on Plenty of Fish and Tinder, and I promised I would go on a few first dates. One of the men happened to be Paul.’
The Edwards were advised by Nicola Scott, a solicitor with Somerset law firm Porter Dodson who was the first in the country to qualify in fertility and parenting law
What surrogacy law says
- When a child is born its mother under English law is considered to be the woman who carried the infant through pregnancy, in this case, Katherine
- If she is married her husband is considered the legal father – which means the intended father, in this instance, Paul, has no automatic claim to legal parenthood. If she is unmarried it is possible for the genetic father to be considered a legal parent
- The surrogate is responsible for registering the birth, so her name and that of the legal father will go on the birth certificate
- A ‘parental order’, made possible by the 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, can then transfer full parental status to the intended parents
- This cannot happen until a child is six weeks old, but must do before they are six months, and strict conditions must be met
- One is that no money must be paid by the would-be parents to the natural mum or to an agency, except for legitimate expenses
- Applicants for the parental order must be husband and wife, a married same-sex couple, civil partners or in a long-term relationship
She added: ‘He loved me so much that he just really wanted to have a child with me. I was reticent at first but I knew Paul would always be a tiny bit sad if we didn’t.’ The family revealed they were vilified by friends and colleagues who told them it was ‘against nature’ and questioned how Katherine could give up her baby. But they brushed off any criticisms and pressed on with the pregnancy.
Mrs Edwards said Caspian will be told about how he was conceived once he is old enough.
‘Caspian was hard to get and we are all very proud,’ she said. ‘He will absolutely know where he came from. Four people created him in a circle of love. Katherine is still Caspian’s sister, but there is a gold star attached.’
The trio (picture) were vilified by friends and colleagues who told them it was ‘against nature’ and asked Katherine how she could give up her baby
Katherine said her husband was able to cope with the situation by staying out of the process as much as possible. She said: ‘The thing that made Sam worry was that his name would be on the birth certificate until the parental order was issued and mum and Paul were recognised as the parents.’
She added:‘The one odd moment I had was the day after, when I was out shopping. I thought to myself, “No one knows I had a baby yesterday.”
‘There was none of the recognition you usually get after the birth of a child. It was gone in a moment. My hormones were all over the place after my other pregnancies, but this time my body settled down really quickly.
Pictured, Katherine’s growing baby bump as she was preganant with Caspian. Her waters broke at 37 weeks
Once Caspian is old enough, Jacky (pictured at her wedding) will tell him how he was conceived and show him the memory box of photos she and Katherine have collected
‘Many surrogates say they wish they could be friends with their surrogacy family, so I feel lucky. I get to see Caspian grow up.’
Mrs Edwards was advised by Nicola Scott, a solicitor with Somerset law firm Porter Dodson, which was the first in the country to qualify in fertility and parenting law. Miss Scott said: ‘Whilst this case may seem complicated by the fact that a daughter carried a pregnancy for her mother, it was actually no more legally complex than any other surrogacy arrangement.
‘The law always treats the surrogate as the legal mother, even if she is not biologically related to the child.’
She added: ‘I have heard anecdotes about this happening before but only a couple of times in the UK, if that.
Pictured, Caspian Edwards and his parents as they celebrated his birth in Portsmouth
But even though Katherine was Caspian’s surrogate, the law regards her as his biological mother
‘I have been in this practice for more than ten years and it’s the first time I’ve ever had clients come to me and say, “we are thinking of doing this.”
‘It’s pretty rare. Looking at the detail it sounds a little bit strange, but in terms of the law it is just like any other surrogacy.’
Surrogacy is an increasingly popular option for would-be parents in Britain. According to the Ministry of Justice Family Court, there were 394 parental orders last year – the transfer of legal rights from the surrogate to the parents. In 2011 there were just 117.
Jacky said Caspian is Katherine’s sister ‘with a gold star attached’. Pictured, the trio pose for a picture
It is not known how many women have acted as surrogate for their mothers, but it is certainly very rare. In 2015, Anne-Marie Casson, 46, acted as a surrogate for her gay son Kyle, 27, using a donor egg. And in July last year a 60-year-old woman won a landmark legal case to carry her dead daughter’s frozen eggs.
In December, Julie Bradford, 44, gave birth to her grandson after she agreed to be a surrogate for her cancer-stricken daughter.
Mrs Edwards has written an account of her nursing and family life, The Sky is Not the Limit, and is working on a new book about her surrogacy.