Surrogacy for a friend - nearly cost me my life

Surrogacy for a friend - nearly cost me my life

When Sarah Watkins, a 28-year-old mother of two from Leigh, Lancashire, agreed to be a surrogate for a friend, she had no idea how close she would come to tragedy...

Lying on my hospital bed after giving birth, with the doctors and midwives bustling around me, I began to lose consciousness. Sounds and voices were fading into the background. Before I knew what was happening, I was wearing an oxygen mask and waking up to alarm bells as a crash team battled to save my life.

I couldn't see anything and was crying out for my husband Dave. Reaching out, I felt him grab my hand, letting me know he was there. I was more terrified than I'd ever been in my life. This was it: I was going to die.

Above all else, I thought about my two young sons, Matthew, who was two-and-a-half, and 18-month-old Adam, and wondered if they'd ever forgive me for leaving them.

This was not how I imagined it would be when I agreed to be a surrogate mother for a friend.

I couldn't have been happier in my own pregnancies. My hair shone, my skin glowed and everyone commented on how healthy I looked. I'd loved every minute. When Adam was born in April 2007 after an easy labour, I felt bereft at the thought I might never experience pregnancy again.

Dave and I had agreed we could not afford a bigger family. It was during my second pregnancy that I started reading about surrogacy. We'd done it all so easily, but thousands of couples struggle to have a family, spending tens of thousands of pounds and experiencing years of anguish trying to have a baby.

A friend's sister had real problems conceiving, which made the issue feel personal to me. I mentioned to Dave that surrogacy was something I'd be interested in, but he didn't take much interest, presumably thinking it was a whim I'd soon forget about.

But after Adam was born I came across the surrogacy charity COTS and read some accounts on its website forums. I sat Dave down and told him I was serious.

The baby wouldn't be ours - we'd just be keeping it warm 'until it was cooked' - but he wasn't convinced. He was worried I wouldn't be able to cope with being pregnant, holding down a job and looking after two young children.

Dave wasn't worried about giving up the baby because it wouldn't be part of our family, but I know he had doubts about how I'd feel after carrying it for nine months. But I was 26 and had lots of energy.

I wanted that amazing feeling of being pregnant while helping another couple. We looked at the website together and, after a week of badgering, Dave came round to the idea. He said he'd support me.

We filled in the application forms, had Criminal Records Bureau checks and then met a support worker for counselling about what potentially could go wrong, from medical complications to separation issues. I wasn't worried. I'd had two perfect pregnancies and was young, so I couldn't see anything but positives.

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Posted: 25/02/2010 08:04:14


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