An infertile woman is overjoyed when her sister became her surrogate mother after wedding guests help pay for her fertility treatment.
Rachel Ward, 33, was made sterile at age 26 after doctors found a mass during a smear test.
After battling cervical cancer, she knew that due to the harsh side effects of radiation therapy, it would be impossible to carry her own baby.
Rachel had her balls frozen and was overjoyed when her selfless sister, Rebecca Maclean, 41, offered to be the couple’s surrogate mother.
Rachel, her husband, Ben Parker, 32, wrote a poem on her wedding invitation last July asking guests to contribute to their surrogacy trip.
The couple received generous contributions from their wedding guests that enabled them to start the fertilization process.
Fortunately, her first implantation was a success – and Rebecca will be born in October.
Rachel is now telling her story for the first time to give hope to other couples with fertility problems and to show how surrogacy is an option.
The account manager said, “When we got married last July, we knew we wanted to have our own family soon.
“We wrote a little note asking for help with our fertility treatment. We had 90 guests and had an incredible crowd that we were so excited and grateful for.
“We feel incredibly happy that our implantation worked for my sister Rebecca for the first time, as this is almost unknown.
“I am so proud of my sister because it is amazing that, despite her three children, she was ready to help us become parents.
“It’s a dream come true and we’re all really looking forward to next month.
“Rebecca decided to have a caesarean this time so we could all know the date but decided not to tell anyone yet.”
Rachel was made infertile at the age of 26 after doctors found a mass during a smear test.
During the routine appointment, she began to bleed profusely and was quickly diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Rachel added, “I hope my story highlights the importance of being up to date with smear tests.
“I didn’t want kids at this point, but I knew I would in the future, which is why I had my eggs frozen.
“Rebecca offered me to be my surrogate mother one day all those years ago, but it wasn’t until I was married to Ben that we really talked about it.
“At first I didn’t want to say ‘yes’ to Rebecca as she is already a busy mother of three.
“But the more I got into it, the more I realized that this was the best option for us.
“I trust my sister completely and she wanted to give me the chance to become a mother because I am so close to her children.”
Fortunately, Rebecca had a smooth pregnancy and Rachel managed to be by her side with every scan.
She added: “We were so lucky considering this pregnancy occurred during the lockdown.
“We both live so close that I’ve managed to be there for Rebecca every step of the way.
“I still have to pinch myself that this actually happens.
“We set up the kindergarten and bought most of the things like the stroller so we would be ready for the baby to arrive.
“We still don’t know the gender so it will be a big surprise.”
Rebecca, who is currently 33 weeks pregnant, said: “I had no intention of being a surrogate mother until my sister was diagnosed with cancer.
“We were both living in New Zealand at the time and I remember offering to help her as soon as we knew she was sterile.
“We were so lucky it was our first round of IVF.
“There was a lot of pressure in the first few weeks as we were all so desperate that it would work.
“But it was an easy pregnancy and I chose to have a caesarean section so it was different from my other births.
“My husband, Phil, 47, has been the unsung hero for the past few months for being so supportive.
“It was hectic with three kids of my own, but we’re counting down now and it’s very exciting.”
Rachel hopes that by sharing her story, she will give hope to other couples and raise the profile for surrogacy in the UK.
She added, “I actually had my eggs frozen in New Zealand since I was there when I realized I had cancer.
“I had to ship my eggs last July and then I fertilized my eggs with Ben’s sperm.
“But only three of the original 11 frozen eggs matured into embryos that could be transferred.
“We have now frozen an embryo.
“We cannot wait for the future as a family and we feel so happy that my sister was ready to help.”