When Cecile Eledge overheard her son, Matthew and his husband, Elliot talking about how they needed a surrogate to help them have a baby, she immediately volunteered.
Video above: Keeping surrogacy in the family. Insight explores what lengths people are going to, to have a baby. Tuesday, October 22 at 8:30pm on SBS On Demand.
Cecile Eledge's offer to be a surrogate for her son was a sincere one, but at 61 years of age, she didn’t think it would be accepted.
“I just figured this would never come to reality," she tells Insight host Jenny Brockie.
Matthew and Elliot were skeptical, too – they laughed it off as a nice gesture. But their fertility doctor didn’t think it was a joke at all.
Cecile was brought in for a series of tests, and sailed through them all before being handed a bag of estrogen and progesterone – “to trick my body into thinking that I was 30 years old again” – and facing the reality of what she’d signed up for.
While she’d had three of her own children before, carrying her granddaughter – conceived from Matthew’s sperm and Elliot’s sister’s egg – was a “new experience.”
Her morning sickness was more severe, and she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and high blood pressure throughout the pregnancy.
But on the plus side, “this time I could go home and take a nap if I didn’t feel well, where before I couldn’t do that when I had children and was working.”
While the family was full of questions about what to expect, there weren’t a lot of answers.
“The doctor looked at me and said: ‘We don’t have a manual on a 61-year-old having a baby, we’re writing it with you,’” Cecile tells Jenny. “So … I didn’t ask any more questions, I just went with the flow.”
Cecile gave birth to her granddaughter Uma earlier this year through a vaginal delivery, with her husband, son and son-in-law by her side.
“It was that moment of handing her over to them, and I knew then: right now my chapter of the story is over with, I’ve done what I was supposed to do.
“Now it’s their time to start their story with their precious little girl.”