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Friday, May 8, 2015

Sister-in-law gives gift of life as surrogate mum

Natasha Banks says "words can't describe" the gift her Blenheim sister-in-law has given her by being the surrogate mother of her child.

Natasha, 28, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2007.

After a hysterectomy, chemotherapy, radiation treatment and brachytherapy, Natasha was told that she would not be able to have children.

On Monday morning her sister-in-law Pam Banks will be induced at Wairau Hospital and give birth to the daughter of Natasha and her husband Marcus Porter.

An embryo was created with an ovum from an egg donor and Porter's sperm.

Natasha, who lives in Cromwell, said had always wanted to have children.

"Pam's doing me a huge, huge favour. It's emotional and words can't really describe what she's doing for me.

"Someone pretty much giving you a life - it's amazing."

Natasha said on Sunday she was feeling a little nervous ahead of the birth.

"I'm not feeling nervous to be a mum or anything - it's just for Pam, to make sure that she's OK."

Pam would be a "very special auntie" to her daughter, Natasha said.

Pam offered to become a surrogate when Natasha was first diagnosed with cancer, and she offered again when Natasha had a hysterectomy.

But it was not until Pam was seven months' pregnant with her youngest child that Natasha decided she wanted to take Pam up on her offer.

Pam said she offered to become a surrogate as a way of helping out Natasha and her husband Marcus.

She has known Marcus since she was 11-years-old, after he went to school with her sister.

Natasha was involved in looking after Pam's three sons and took care of them during school holidays.

"She's just a really good auntie - she's really good to my kids and they idolise her," Pam said.

Being a surrogate was a greater challenge than Pam thought it would be.

She was working part-time and looking after her three sons while dealing with the commitments of being a surrogate.

"I thought it would be a piece of cake. I thought it would be easy after having three of my own but it's very different."

Pam said she didn't feel pregnant until she was about 28 weeks and her size began to affect the way she did things.

"I didn't feel like there was something growing inside of me.

"There's no emotional attachment. It's a completely different attachment - it's not a motherly one."

She had initially considered having a caesarean section for the birth, but decided against it because of the difficulties of the recovery process and to allow Natasha to be there for the birth.

Pam has ruled out being a surrogate again in the future, but said she had no regrets about the decision.

"Being able to give someone something they can't have - that's probably the ultimate thing.

"It's only a small part of my life and a huge part of [Natasha's]"

People's reaction to the news that Pam was a surrogate depended on what she told them.

"My husband loves telling people, 'My wife's pregnant and it's not mine'."

Some people were a little speechless and changed the subject when Pam told them she was a surrogate.

She wanted to share her story to let people know that surrogacy was a normal thing.

"I don't think of it as a huge thing - I'm doing a favour for someone and I don't want a lot of credit for it.

"I just want Tash to have a kid."


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