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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sharing the love: My egg and her tummy for their baby

AFTER going through two IVF cycles, experiencing the trauma of two miscarriages with a surrogate and then her surrogate pulling out, Jill Spears and her fiance Alex were ready to let go of their dream of having a child together.

Then Fernvale mother of three and friend Christine Fraser stepped in and offered to be a surrogate mother for their baby.

Jill was introduced to her egg donor Sarah Cutts through not-for-profit Australian organisation Egg Donation Australia and after some anxious moments in the following months, their baby girl is due any day now.

Five years ago, Jill had moved up to Queensland after meeting her partner, fireman Alex, who she marries in April.

Jill has a daughter, 15, from a previous marriage, but as Alex had no biological children, their dream was to have a child together.

A natural birth was not medically possible for Jill, now 42, who had a hysterectomy due to illness when she was 36.

The couple tried for children through IVF, which proved an expensive exercise.

"Once we had the two miscarriages and our surrogate said she was unable to continue, I just said to Alex this is it, if you want to move on and meet someone that can give you a baby, you need to go," she said.

"I was heartbroken but I thought, no I can't hold him back. And he said, no, I'm with you thick or thin, baby or no baby.

"He said it will be OK, he is the eternal optimist."

One month later her former workmate Christine offered to be her surrogate.

For Christine and her husband, it was the ultimate gift for a friend.

"We've got friends that have had to go through IVF," she said. "Seeing the struggles of our friends and us being so lucky to have been able to have children naturally, we wanted to help."

It was not an easy nine months, with Christine admitting it was a difficult decision for her husband, and going through a scare at 11 weeks, but an experience she has savoured.

"I love a belly full of arms and legs," she said.

"I love feeling the baby move and all of that.

"That's part of the reason why I did it."

Christine, 35, has three girls, 13, 8 and 6.

"All I want to do is give a gift. Even when I was pregnant with my youngest, Caitlin, I said I didn't want any more kids.

"I adore my own children and I have nephews. I am at that stage where I am happy to just have a cuddle.

"My husband would have loved to have had another one. We struggled when we first fell pregnant, he was a little bit out of sorts with it all but he eventually saw too where we are in our lives."

Jill said the three mums would have a special connection for life.

"We've never tried to hide the fact that we are using a surrogate, we've never shied away from it, we're not embarrassed, it's not taboo, it's not a bad thing. This child will be loved just as much as any child that comes into the world naturally. We're pretty lucky," she said.

"Our egg donor Sarah will be a part of our lives forever as well. There's no hiding from our baby, how she was created and where she came from."


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