The Pen

It’s a Family Affair? Mother gives Birth to Grandchild as a Surrogate for Son and His Husband

Elliot Dougherty (left) with his mother-in-law, Cecile Eledge, her husband Kirk, and their son, Matthew.
Rachel Mummey for Buzzfeed News

[Shannon Keating | Buzzfeednews] When Matthew Eledge and his husband, Elliot Dougherty, told Matthew’s mother, Cecile, that they were planning to start their family, Cecile thought fondly of her own parental journey. 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. A postmenopausal 61-year-old couldn’t possibly be equipped to carry and give birth to a baby. Right?

But when Matthew and Elliot, who live in Omaha, Nebraska, were meeting with reproductive endocrinologists to discuss surrogacy options, Matthew mentioned his mother’s joking offer — and their doctor, Dr. Carolyn Maud Doherty, didn’t think it sounded like much of a joke at all. There weren’t any guarantees, but Doherty was game to see whether Matthew’s mother might be a serious candidate for surrogacy.

Cecile’s children always teased her for being such a health fanatic, committed to a good diet and regular exercise, but as it turned out, a lifetime of diligence paid off. The team from the Reproductive Health Specialists at Methodist Women’s Hospital in Omaha ran a Pap smear, a blood test, a cholesterol test, a stress test, a mammogram, and an ultrasound, all of which revealed Cecile to be in tip-top shape — healthy enough, the doctors deemed, to potentially carry a fetus to term.

“She’s 61 years old and has lower blood pressure than the rest of us,” Matthew joked. “When they made her run on a treadmill, even when it was turned up to the highest level, she wasn’t anywhere close to the danger zone.”

“I thought if I could do it, I would do it,” Cecile told me. “It was kind of a no-brainer.”

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[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Shannon Keating and originally published at Buzzfeednews. Title changed by P&P.]