Surrogacy is an amazing chance for parents to have their own biological children. It’s the option when everything else hasn’t worked. And yet, despite the opportunity parents get and although there’s a pile of paperwork and agreements both parties go through, complications can still come up. As a result, bitter custody battles can ensue and unhappy carriers or parents can be left unsettled. This is exactly what happened to one family when they said yes to surrogacy.
31-year-old Jessica Allen and her partner, Wardell Jasper, wanted to give parents the opportunity to start their own family. In the process, surrogacy would help Allen financially, so that with $30,000 in her hands, she could have an easier time financially since she is a stay-at-home mother. And so, in 2016, Allen became pregnant with a Chinese couple’s twins.
The Luis (a pseudonym for the Chinese couple) were thrilled with the news. Allen and Jasper were happy too, it meant $5,000 more on top of the surrogacy fee. Everyone was happy and waiting for the twins to be born.
Later, Allen would tell the New York Post how the medical staff never told her that the babies were in two different sacs. “As far as we were concerned, the transferred embryo had split in two and the twins were identical,” she explained. This would cause both couples a lot of problems and financial loss.
In December 2016, Allen was admitted to hospital and she had her babies. The agreement was that Allen would get an hour with the children before having to give them up to the Luis and the biological parents respected this. When she looked at the babies, Allen didn’t notice anything was different, it was only later that same evening when she kept looking at a picture of them.
There, she started to realize that there were differences between the two. “One, his skin tone was much fairer than the other. One looked full Chinese, the other didn’t look full Chinese,” she explained. “It was very clear that they were not identical … but I didn’t ask questions.” Not for a while, at least.
It was Mrs. Lui who would contact Allen first. Lui sent Allen a picture of the babies and wrote, “They are not the same, right? Have you thought about why they are different?” It was then that Allen and Jasper took action.
The babies underwent a DNA test just a week later. The results proved that one of the babies was Allen’s and Jasper’s biological son. The parents were astonished by the news. Allen had gone through a rare medical phenomenon known as superfetation. It’s when “a woman continues to ovulate after becoming pregnant.”
Allen and Jasper had followed the doctor’s instruction when it came to intercourse and protection. “Wardell and I did not have sexual intercourse until we were given permission by the IVF doctor, who recommended the use of condoms,” Allen explained. Sadly, astonishment turned into a bitter battle. The Luis wanted $22,000 back from the couple, it was the only way they would give up their biological son.
Everything went south for a while for Allen and Jasper. “To my disgust, a caseworker from the agency lined up parents to adopt him and ‘absorb’ the money we owed the Lius,” Allen recalled of the difficult time. The Luis even suggested putting their son up for adoption if that didn’t work.
Allen hated how her son was treated by the agency. She recalled them treating her baby “as a commodity.” At one point, one social worker even demanded $7,000 in expenses because they had taken care of their son.
“We spent $3,000 on an attorney, and there was a lot of strained negotiation between us, our lawyer and Omega. It was an uphill battle, but the agency finally reduced the ‘fee’ we owed the Lius to zero,” Allen explained. But this was never about the fee, this was about getting their son back and that’s exactly what happened.
In February 2017, the couple could finally hold their son, whom they named Malachi. “The moment was incredibly emotional, and I started hugging and kissing my boy,” Allen recalled. “It’s now been nearly nine months since we got Malachi, and he is doing well. He’s beautiful. He’s healthy and his personality is hilarious. He loves his big brothers, is learning to walk and is starting to speak.” I guess agreements don’t cover every kind of situation that could happen during surrogacy.
What do you think of this story? Should they have just given Allen and Jasper their baby without all this trouble? It’s not like you can plan to get pregnant with two babies in two different sacs, can you?