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As A Surrogate, This Grandmother Gave Birth To Her Own Grandchild

the Methodist Physicians Clinic Women's Center
the University of Nebraska Medical Center
BuzzFeed News

Matthew Eledge
Elliot Dougherty
Shannon Keating
Cecile Eledge
Carolyn Maud Doherty
Pat Anthony
Pamela Butler
Lea Yribe
Uma Louise Dougherty-Eledge
Megan Hunt
Kirk Eledge
Ramzy Nakad


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Anastassia Ontou
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She’d loved being pregnant decades earlier with her three now-grown children.“If you want me to be the gestational carrier,” she told Matthew, “I’d do it in a heartbeat.”Matthew, 32, and Elliot, 29, appreciated the gesture, but, they thought, let’s be real — it’s not like that would ever happen. Clocking in at 5 pounds, 13 ounces, Uma is a sweet and healthy baby girl.Cecile “really sailed through this with no complications,” said Doherty.“We’re very, very lucky,” Matthew said.Even so, Matthew and Elliot’s road to parenthood hasn’t been without obstacles, as other LGBT parents around the country — and particularly in Nebraska — can attest. For a teacher and a hairdresser like Matthew and Elliot, these costs were exorbitant.“I do think it’s sad that IVF as a process is exclusive to those who can afford it,” Matthew said. “When we found out insurance wouldn’t cover anything, we thought this could be something that affects us financially for a really long time.”Matthew and his father, Kirk, prepare to leave for the hospital for the birth.Before Elliot and Matthew asked Elliot’s sister, Lea, about the possibility of donating her eggs, “I had already told them I would do whatever I could,” Lea told me. In the end, it didn’t matter — all three embryos were female.Elliot and Matthew fold cloth diapers in preparation for the birth of their daughter.Now, of those three, “One is here!” Matthew said — and that’s Uma. The other two are “on ice” in case the couple should want to expand their family.“It’s this weird thing,” Matthew said. Keeping their embryo creation process in the family “took away the choice,” said Matthew.The couple had previously considered fostering or adopting — options they’re very open to when it comes to building out their family in the future. Are we trying to be heteronormative, to be just like a straight couple?” But, he said, “For us, it was about control.”They knew that, no matter what, their route to having kids would be expensive and time-consuming; with IVF, Matthew and Elliot wouldn’t have to deal with potential bigotry from adoption agencies in Nebraska. (“It was certainly strange,” Cecile said, laughing, “but I kept remembering it was only temporary.”) Last summer, she got suited up for her first — and what would turn out to be her only — embryo transfer.Some people, to “get more bang for their buck,” as Matthew put it, will try implanting multiple embryos at once, hoping at least one will stick, which can sometimes lead to multiple pregnancies. But when Cecile offered him the pregnancy test stick to look at the test himself, he thought he saw it: the faintest little pink line.Matthew decided not to tell his father, Kirk Eledge, who thought that his wife and son were a little nuts for trying to check so early — it was only going to drive them crazy — but he whispered the news to his mother: “I think it’s there, I think there’s a line.”According to Matthew, Cecile “literally said ‘Shut the fuck up’” and pushed him out of the way to look for herself. She’s always been so healthy.”The family did have to deal with awkward and sometimes offensive questions from acquaintances about the path baby Uma was taking into the world, particularly when Cecile started showing around seven months.“People were genuinely curious,” Matthew said. But since Cecile was a surrogate, the risk of genetic abnormalities that’s normally a concern for the fetuses of older pregnant people wasn’t an issue.Besides the normal precautions taken for any high-risk pregnancies, Nakad has no particular concerns about a woman Cecile’s age giving birth, even when it comes to delivering vaginally, which “in any pregnancy is always the aim,” he said, because it means a better recovery for both the mom and the baby.“They’d say, ‘We don’t have a textbook on 61-year-olds having a baby,” Cecile laughed. “I feel fabulous!” Cecile said, and she looked it.Elliot was lying down with Uma, his shirt off so that the baby would benefit from skin-to-skin contact. Matthew and his parents sat together, chatting amiably, at his bedside.I asked if the couple planned on staying in Omaha long term, and Matthew joked that “Grandma wouldn’t allow us to leave.”“That was in the contract,” said Cecile.Joking aside, Matthew thought back to the last time he’d been in the news — when he was fired from his teaching job for being gay — and how much that incident really highlighted the challenges of living in Nebraska as gay people.

As said here by Shannon Keating