Starting a family is no simple endeavor, though it happens for some more easily than others. It can be especially difficult for members of the LGBT community who have to overcome many obstacles to bring a child into the world.
This is why it is so incredibly touching to read a story about a selfless mom who offered to be the surrogate carrier for her son and his husband. Grab your tissues because there is nothing quite like this amazing journey to parenthood.
Matthew Eledge and his husband Elliot Dougherty were planning to start a family of their own.
When the couple told Matthew’s mother, 61-year-old Cecile, she graciously offered to be the surrogate.
“If you want me to be the gestational carrier,” she told Matthew, “I’d do it in a heartbeat.”
While they appreciated the gesture, Matthew and Elliot tried to be realistic. At Cecile’s age, the likelihood of pregnancy would be low, not to mention the risks it could have on her health.
When they met with a reproductive endocrinologist to go over their surrogacy options, Matthew jokingly mentioned his mother’s generous offer and their doctor, Dr. Carolyn Maud Doherty, who actually thought it might be a good idea. So, she decided to run tests that would determine if Cecile would be a viable candidate for surrogacy.
According to Matthew, Cecile has always been somewhat of a health nut.
“She’s 61 years old and has lower blood pressure than the rest of us,” Matthew told BuzzFeed. “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.”
Her kids teased her for being a fanatic, but it turned out that her diligent healthy lifestyle paid off. After several tests, the Reproductive Health Specialists at Methodist Women’s Hospital in Omaha determined Matthew’s mother was in phenomenal shape and could carry a fetus to term.
“I thought if I could do it, I would do it,” Cecile said. “It was kind of a no-brainer.”
Dr. Doherty added that there can be higher risks for older surrogates including pulmonary problems and blood clots because “bones just don’t move the way they did when they were younger.”
But Cecile seemed meant for the job.
The 61-year-old got pregnant after her very first embryo transfer which used an egg donated by Elliot’s sister and fertilized with Matthew’s sperm.
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I've been scrolling through these pictures non-stop ever since we received them last night, and I can't even believe this is real life. As most of you know, this year my sister underwent a surgery that allowed us to retrieve several of her eggs. Several healthy embryos were created out of those eggs. Then, Matthew's mother stepped forward and offered us the greatest gift of all. She offered to carry our baby for us. Our first daughter, being created in the womb of her grandmother. It has been such a beautiful journey. We are so incredibly grateful. I can't even begin to describe and capture all of the feelings I have looking at these images. What an honor it is to have these two women in our life. What a beautiful gift this has all been. We are so excited that Uma Louise will be joining us earth side here in a few weeks. I love her deeply and immensely already. Photographs by @arielpanowicz
Last weekend, after years of preparation, Cecile gave birth to her granddaughter, Uma Louise Dougherty-Eledge.
Uma weighed in at 5 pounds, 13 ounces and is healthy as can be.
“We’re very, very lucky,” Matthew said.
Though the long journey was successful, pregnancy isn’t without its rough patches. Whenever Cecile started having a tough time, she told herself, “Wait for the day I hand them their baby, their precious gem. It will be so worth it.”
Matthew and Elliot hope that their story inspires other LGBT parents and proves that a family like theirs can thrive even in the most conservative of locations.
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Well, holy smokes, y'all. Little tiny Uma Louise has ventured into this world and let me tell you, she is simply perfect. Carried and birthed by her 61 year old Grandmother, and created by her two Dads and loving Aunt, Uma is surrounded by an immense amount of love. Being a part of today was amazing. Cele, you are a warrior. @matt_eledge + @ephemeral.elliot, you're already the best Dads. Can't wait to watch you all grow. ?? P.S., EVERYONE TAG @theellenshow. Y’all know she’d love this.
Through all of life’s obstacles, the couple is completely in love with their new baby. “Seeing her — it’s so hard to explain. I just want to stare at her. I’m looking at her — and this has been a two-year process,” Matthew said. “It was all a theory. But then through creation and creativity and imagination and dreams, she became a thing, a physical thing. That’s when I think I lost it, when I realized she’s no longer a thought, an idea. She’s here! We did this. We all did this together.”
Needless to say, people are touched by the couple’s story.
How sweet! Can't get a more supportive family than that. https://t.co/8JVi0sxlEI
— Jerry (@Chicagomuscle) March 29, 2019
This is some type of love that just warms my whole ass heart ???? https://t.co/4na2WIZQmc
— Que (@queee_3) March 29, 2019
This is love . This is a mother . God bless. https://t.co/nKQ66odCh3
— mean ass mami (@madeslimm) March 29, 2019
Wow what a remarkable story! That’s love https://t.co/pgMB8Ma6gH
— Renee Washington (@ReneePwash) March 29, 2019
The amount of loving generosity the other mothers in this story offered to these dads is truly ???? I love women and I love LGBT allies. https://t.co/hw6vD4aIhU
— er (@burtsbeets) March 29, 2019