Woman welcomes healthy baby girl after sister acts as surrogate

Woman whose SISTER offered to carry her baby finally realises her dream of becoming a mother – after being warned falling pregnant could KILL her

  • Lauren Hooper, 31, was told pregnancy could kill her as she has hole in heart
  • Lauren and husband Michael, 36, of Devon, were desperate for children 
  • Lauren’s sister Ebony, 35, acted as surrogate and gave birth to baby Rae 
  • Ebony went through three failed IVF implantations before falling pregnant
  • Said she would not hesitate to act as a surrogate for her sister a second time 

A would-be mother who was warned falling pregnant could kill her due to the hole in her heart has realised her dream of becoming a mother – after her sister carried her child for her.    

Lauren Hooper, 31, and her husband Michael, 36, of Okehampton, Devon, met their little girl Rae when she was born last month on July 24, after nine months inside Lauren’s sister Ebony Hutt’s womb.

In 2014 Lauren was devastated to be told that, because she’d been born with a hole in her heart, a malformation of the pulmonary artery and collateral arteries to the lungs, carrying a child could prove fatal – to both her and a baby.

As she was about to give up hope of starting a family, Lauren’s sister, Ebony, 35, herself a mother of two, offered to act as the couple’s surrogate.   

After three failed implantation attempts, Ebony fell pregnant at the end of 2017, and, last month, gave birth to her niece, Rae Ebony Ann Hooper.

Lauren Hooper, 31, and her husband Michael, 36, of Okehampton, Devon, were unable to have children so Ebony, 35, (centre) offered, in the ultimate act of selflessness, to act as a surrogate

After three failed implantation attempts, Ebony fell pregnant at the end of 2017, and, last month, gave birth to her niece, Rae Ebony Ann Hooper (seen with Lauren and Michael)

New mum Lauren said: ‘This has been an incredible journey. We didn’t know if we would ever become parents, and then Ebony made her incredible offer.

‘It’s been a difficult process but one that has brought us closer. I am so glad I could do this with my sister.


  • It’s NOT working out! Hilarious photos capture the most…


    ‘She’s going clubbing and swimming all at once!’ Bizarre…


    Woman slams Poundland for selling appetite suppressants at…


    Life’s little luxuries: FEMAIL picks out the best…

Share this article

‘We’re so in love with our little girl and auntie Ebony will always be very special to her.’

When Lauren was first born on May 2, 1987, doctors believed that she was terminally ill after they discovered her heart wasn’t pumping properly.

But, amazingly, she survived and, aged 10, underwent four open heart surgeries.

Lauren (left) feared pregnancy would kill her but has finally become a mother after an emotional four year journey, thanks to her sister, who gave birth for her- Ebony (right)

Ebony (seen with baby Rae) is now a very special aunt to the little girl after carrying her for nine months for her sister

After meeting Michael through friends in 2010, the pair got engaged 2011.

Casually mentioning her forthcoming nuptials at an annual medical check-up, her consultant asked if the husband-and-wife-to-be were thinking about having children – before breaking the news that her heart was unlikely to be able to cope with pregnancy.

‘We weren’t trying to have kids at the time but I knew I wanted to have them at some point in the future. I loved being an auntie to Ebony’s kids and knew I wanted my own someday,’ Lauren said.

But, when Lauren and Michael, who went on to went on to marry in Willand, near Exeter, in 2014, told their families, Ebony made her astonishing offer.

When Lauren was first born on May 2, 1987, doctors believed that she was terminally ill after they discovered her heart wasn’t pumping properly ( seen with her sister in the nineties)

Amazingly, Lauren survived and, aged 10, underwent four open heart surgeries (seen in intensive care after her operations

The couple’s first cycle of IVF, arranged through the NHS, resulted in three embryos – and three shots at parenthood.

The first implantation took place in April 2016, but sadly Ebony suffered a chemical pregnancy, where the embryo falls away within the first few weeks.

They suffered further heartbreak when the second embryo implantation was unsuccessful, before the third resulted in another chemical pregnancy in January 2017.

But after gathering £15,000, via a crowdfunding page and a string of fundraising events, to pay for another, private cycle of IVF treatment, another embryo – the only viable one – was implanted in Ebony in November 2017.  

And luckily this time, Ebony’s bump started to grow. 

When Lauren and Michael married in a beautiful ceremony in Willand, near Exeter, in 2014, they told their families they couldn’t have children and Ebony made her astonishing offer

After gathering £15,000, via a crowdfunding page and a string of fundraising events, to have the entire procedure done again privately, an embryo was implanted in November 2017 (Ebony gave Lauren and Michael a litte tub of her urine so they could perform the pregnancy test)

Lauren, who waited until the birth to find out the sex of the baby, said: ‘Ebony was carrying our baby, but she did so much to make sure we were involved.

‘She was always sending us things and even at the beginning, she gave us a pot of her urine so we could do the pregnancy test and find out first.’

After a straightforward pregnancy, the final few weeks were the most difficult as, at 35 weeks, a scan detected the baby was breech – in a bottom or feet first position.

When she still hadn’t shifted at 37 weeks, medics told them they would need to move the baby.

They managed to get her into a head first position – but within 10 minutes, she moved back, prompting medics to admit Ebony to Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, where they could keep a close eye on her.

Lauren said of Ebony: ‘She was always sending us things and even at the beginning, she gave us a pot of her urine so we could do the pregnancy test and find out first.’

Lauren, who waited until the birth to find out the sex of the baby, said: ‘Ebony was carrying our baby, but she did so much to make sure we were involved’

After a straightforward pregnancy, the final few weeks were the most difficult as, at 35 weeks, a scan detected the baby was breech – in a bottom or feet first position

At 38 weeks, on July 23, with baby Rae still in the wrong position, doctors decided to turn her then hold her in place and break Ebony’s waters

Lauren continued: ‘Our medical team were fantastic throughout and they were with us every step of the way. They decided that because the baby had moved again, we live 25 miles from the hospital and this is such a precious baby, Ebony should be admitted.

‘They couldn’t risk her going into labour far away from the hospital with a breech baby.’

At 38 weeks, on July 23, with baby Rae still in the wrong position, doctors decided to turn her then hold her in place and break Ebony’s waters.

Speaking of the 12-hour labour, Lauren recalled: ‘We were joking that July 23 was our cousin’s birthday, so it’d be nice for Rae to be born the same day.

‘Ebony was pushing and pushing. I looked at the time and it was 11.53pm. I said, ‘You’ve got five minutes. Come on.’ She was born at exactly midnight so she just missed it by seconds.

Surrounded by Lauren, Michael and her partner, graphic designer Gavin, 41, Ebony gave birth to Rae, who weighed 6lb 12oz, and passed her straight into Lauren’s arms, with Michael cutting the umbilical cord

Because of the long labour, doctors took Rae to the neonatal unit to make sure her brain had not been starved of oxygen

‘She had a little knot in her umbilical cord, which is apparently very rare but a sign of good luck. It just felt like it was all meant to be.’

Surrounded by Lauren, Michael and her partner, graphic designer Gavin, 41, Ebony gave birth to Rae, who weighed 6lb 12oz, and passed her straight into Lauren’s arms, with Michael cutting the umbilical cord.

Lauren laughed: ‘It felt like a dream. We had been picturing that moment for years, and she was finally there.

‘Poor Ebony was so tired she couldn’t even cry. It was absolutely perfect though. We were all there, helping and holding each other’s hands.’

Because of the long labour, doctors took Rae to the neonatal unit to make sure her brain had not been starved of oxygen.

She was monitored for around six hours, before being declared perfectly healthy.

From there, she was sent back to the family’s private neonatal room, where Lauren and Michael held and fed their girl for the first time, while Ebony slept in a separate room.

She was monitored for around six hours, before being declared perfectly healthy

After being monitored  Rae was sent back to the family’s private neonatal room, where Lauren and Michael held and fed their girl for the first time, while Ebony slept in a separate room

Later that afternoon, with Ebony already discharged, Lauren and Michael took their little girl home for the first time.

‘Our whole family was waiting to meet her and it was so special. Her cousins – Ebony and Gavin’s kids – Tegan, nine and Sonny, six, got to meet her first. They’ve always known that this is their little cousin,’ said Lauren.

‘Ebony is expressing milk for her. She does it at home and then Gavin drops it round every day to make sure she’s getting the antibodies. I’m not sure how long that will last but we’ll do it for as long as Ebony can.’

Now starting the legal process to become Rae’s official parents, as the law states that the woman who gives birth is the baby’s mother, Ebony and Lauren told how they believe surrogacy is a very special thing.

Lauren said: ‘Ebony said she would do it all over again but I’m not sure we want to do it again. It is partly because of the cost but even if we did have the money, I don’t know if I would want to put her through it again. We are just counting our lucky stars that we have Rae.

‘We will be forever grateful to Ebony for everything.’

Later that afternoon, with Ebony already discharged, Lauren and Michael took their little girl home for the first time

Now starting the legal process to become Rae’s official parents, as the law states that the woman who gives birth is the baby’s mother, Ebony and Lauren believe surrogacy is a very special thing

Ebony said: ‘As I came to the end of the pregnancy and it became more complicated, I was a little bit worried, but we had come so far. We just had to get through those last few weeks.

‘It was a difficult labour and very different to my labours with my children, as I had never been induced before.

‘Having Lauren, Michael and Gavin with me to support me was amazing. We did a lot of laughing throughout the labour and that is what got me through.

‘This has always been Lauren and Michael’s baby and I’ve always known that in my head. The minute she was born, I just wanted her to be with Lauren and Michael. Seeing her with them was so special, and that was the thing I always wanted and the reason I did this.

‘We’ll always have a special bond but I am just enjoying being her auntie.

‘I know Lauren and Michael aren’t sure they would ever do it again, but it has been a really positive experience for me and I would have no doubts about being a surrogate again if they wanted me to be.’

Lauren said: ‘Ebony said she would do it all over again but I’m not sure we want to do it again. We will be forever grateful to Ebony for everything.’ (Lauren, Ebony, Michael and and Ebony’s husband Gavin)

Her cousins – Ebony and Gavin’s kids – Tegan, nine and Sonny, six, got to meet her first. They’ve always known that this is their little cousin,’ said Lauren

 

Source: Read Full Article