Jessica Allen already had
two children with her partner, Wardell Jasper, when she decided to become a
surrogate. The 31-year-old and her family live in Perris, California, where surrogacy
is legal, which is not the case in all states. Allen reached out to San
Diego-based Omega Family Global and was matched up with a couple referred to as
the “Lius,” a pseudonym. The Lius are from China, where surrogacy is illegal.
The $30,000 fee that Allen
would receive for carrying a child for the Lius would allow her to be a stay-at-home mom,
save money to buy a new home and have the added feel-good benefit of helping
another couple realize their dream of having a baby.
All went well with the in-vitro fertilization treatments and in April 2016, Allen became pregnant with the
Lius’ baby. Six weeks later, she learned that not only was she still pregnant, she was carrying twins.
“I was a bit scared, but
I heard the Lius were thrilled to be having twins,” Allen
told the New York Post. “My $30,000 payment, including expenses—which I
received in installments by check each month—was increased by $5,000 for the
second child. Not once during the pregnancy did any of the medical staff
provided by the agency say that the babies were in separate sacs. As far as we
were concerned, the transferred embryo had split in two and the twins were
Uh-oh, can tell where
this story is going?
In December, Allen gave
birth to both babies via C-section. Even though her contract with Omega Family
Global stipulated that she would get to spend an hour with the newborns, Allen
says she didn’t “even get
a look at the babies when they were pulled out because it was done behind an
opaque screen,” and then the babies were promptly whisked out of the operating
While the hour
she was promised with them never happened, Allen says that the day after
their birth, she got a 10-minute visit from Mrs. Liu, who showed her a cellphone
picture of the twins. “Wow! They look different,” Allen
remarked as the twins looked nothing alike and were
obviously not identical twins.
foreboding music ... because things were about to get complicated.
month after the babies were born, Allen says she received a picture of the
twins and a text from Mrs. Liu that read, “They are not the same,
right? Have you thought about why they are different?”
babies were given DNA tests and it turned out that one baby was biologically the
Lius' child and the other baby was a biological match for Allen and Jasper.
could this happen when Allen and Jasper didn’t have sex until
they were cleared by the IVF doctor, who recommended they use condoms? It is
the result of an extremely rare condition called superfectation, where a woman
who is already pregnant manages to get pregnant with another child.
“I was heartbroken
knowing I carried a baby I didn’t know was mine and that he was taken from me
without my knowledge and was in the arms of other people where he did not
belong,” Allen told the
followed for Allen and Jasper was an expensive, emotional and convoluted legal
battle to get custody of their son. Allen alleges that even though the Lius did
not want to keep the child that wasn’t biologically theirs, they were asking
for somewhere between $18,000 to $22,000 as compensation for the child and a
case worker from the agency was also claiming that another $7,000 for incurred
expenses would be needed.
did it all end? Demands for financial compensation were eventually dropped and on February
5, Allen was reunited with her son when a case worker handed him over in the
parking lot of a Starbucks.
the nightmare that Allen went through she says, “I don’t regret becoming a
surrogate mom because that would mean regretting my son. I just hope other
women considering surrogacy can learn from my story. And that a greater good
will come out of this nightmare.”
could that greater good possibly be? Perhaps the lesson to be learned is that
if you're going to be a surrogate or use a surrogate, you have to make sure
that every possible circumstance—the expected and the unexpected—is
accounted for in your contract.
The Modern Family star and her fiancé Nick Loeb have announced that they are in the very early stages of a surrogate pregnancy, the New York Post reported. The 40-year-old actress, who has a son Manolo, 21, from a previous marriage, has reportedly asked a close girlfriend to be the surrogate. A source told the New York Post: “A procedure has taken place, and Sofia and Nick will find out in a few weeks if it was successful, if the surrogate is pregnant, and if they will become parents.”