“No woman in the world should have to live their life without experiencing the love and the bond from a mother and a child,” Jessica Allen told ABC News in 2017. Allen, who was already a mother of two sons, decided to help a couple in need of a baby by becoming a surrogate.
The surrogacy went off without a hitch. But it wasn’t until after delivery that things got messy, which is why Allen tells People, “I’d never do it again. I’m not the only one with a nightmare story, but I am the only one with a story like this.”
Allen followed all the rules perfectly, but something unexpected happened during the pregnanc
Jessica Allen, a California mom of two, thought she was doing a nice thing by signing on to be the surrogate of a lovely Chinese couple. Since surrogacy is illegal in China, the couple came all the way to the U.S. in order to find a surrogate that would have their baby.
Anyone who has struggled to conceive is likely familiar with the emotional and physical trauma the Chinese couple must have gone through to resort to surrogacy. There’s no doubt that what Allen was doing for them was a wonderful thing.
Allen worked with San Diego-based Omega Family Global, who paired her with the hopeful couple. In April 2016, Allen had the couple’s single male embryo implanted in her uterus through in-vitro fertilization.
Surrogates are required to take estrogen and progestogen in order to prepare their wombs for a successful implantation. Allen was careful to follow the IVF doctor’s instructions both before and after implantation so that the pregnancy would be a success. Six weeks into the pregnancy, however, the doctor found something that would make Allen pretty concerned.
At her six-week scan, the doctors told Allen that she was carrying two babies in her womb. The doctor explained that the chances of a splitting embryo were rare, but that it does happen. Everyone assumed that that was the case and Allen was relieved to know that the couple was excited to be getting twins.
Allen was paid $30,000 plus expenses for volunteering herself as a surrogate. When it was discovered she would be having two babies, her monthly paychecks increased by $5,000. Things were going along just fine until it was time to deliver.
After all was said and done, Allen and her husband were in for a big surprise
On December 12, 2016 at 38 weeks’ gestation, Allen delivered the two babies via C-section. Because the operation was performed behind an opaque screen, Allen didn’t get the chance to see the babies as they were immediately taken from the operating room.
Later that night while she was recovering, Allen received a visit from the intended mother, who showed her a picture of the babies on her phone. “One looked full Chinese, the other didn’t look full Chinese. It was clear that they were not identical… but I didn’t ask questions,” Allen told People magazine.
After the delivery, everyone went their separate ways and Allen returned home to recover. She and her husband used the money they were paid to purchase a brand new home. Almost a month later, they were getting ready for move-in day when Allen received a text from the intended mother.
The mother sent Allen a picture of the babies and expressed doubt that one of them belonged to her. Allen told New York Post that the intended mother asked, “They are not the same, right?” and “Have you thought about why they are different?”
It’s A Rare Medical Phenomenon, But It Happens
The following week, the babies were subject to a DNA test with unexpected results. As it turned out, one of the babies wasn’t the twin of the implanted embryo. Instead, it was actually the biological son of Allen and her husband! Both embryos even had differing gestational ages.
A medical phenomenon like this is called superfetation, in which a woman continues to ovulate during pregnancy. This means that Allen conceived another child in her womb while she had the implanted embryo of the couple growing inside her. For their part, Allen and her husband were shocked that this happened.
You would think that the couple would just give Allen her baby, but of course, it wasn’t going to be easy
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