A 53-year-old UK woman has given birth to a child she was carrying for her daughter, leading many in the media to exclaim that she 'has given birth to her own grandchild'. Annie Casserley acted as a surrogate for her daughter, 35-year old Emma Hattersley, who has a medical condition making her unable to withstand a pregnancy.
Mrs Hattersley has an extremely rare condition - she is thought to be one of only three people in the world affected by it - called Histiocytosis X. The cancer-like condition attacks the lungs, causing them to collapse, and means she is unable to do anything that puts too much strain on them such as having a general anaesthetic, flying, or becoming pregnant. In order to have a child of her own, therefore, she needed to use surrogacy. Her mother agreed to act as a surrogate for her and was assessed by doctors at the Good Hope NHS Hospital, Birmingham, who decided that even though she was 53, she was fit and healthy enough to undertake the pregnancy. In January, Mrs Hattersley's eggs were collected and fertilised in vitro by Mr Hattersley's sperm, before the resulting embryos were implanted into Mrs Casserley.
The healthy child, who was born by Caesarean last Thursday, has been named Annie Trinity Hattersley, in tribute to her grandmother. The name Trinity denotes the fact that there were three people involved in her birth. Mrs Hattersley said that the baby 'has been a miracle from start to finish and it's all down to my mum'. She added: 'when surrogacy was first suggested to me, I didn't want a stranger to carry the baby, I wanted someone I trusted'. Mr Hattersley explained that he had been reluctant at first but said: 'When I came to understand that it was our baby and Emma's mum would just be looking after it, I was all for it'. The couple have decided that they will talk to their daughter about the way she came into the world when she is older.
Carol O'Reilly, a spokeswoman for Surrogacy UK, explained that a woman giving birth for her daughter is a rare situation. 'Women are usually too old, or not healthy enough, to be surrogate mothers for their own grandchildren', she said. She added: 'But, there is nothing worse for a mother than seeing her daughter suffering and not being able to have children is heartbreaking, so if you can help I think that is a wonderful thing'. Mike Moloney, the obstetrician who treated Mrs Casserley, said that he had never seen a mother act as surrogate for her daughter. 'It was unique and a step into the unknown', he said, adding 'there is an 18-year gap between the mother and daughter, and because of Annie's age, there were concerns'. But, he continued, 'when we weighed everything up we came to the conclusion that Annie had a good healthy background, and didn't smoke, so we thought it was a good idea'.