A woman has told her story about how she became pregnant while astonishingly already being pregnant.
31-year-old Jessica Allen, from California, underwent vitro fertilisation (IVF) in April 2016, after agreeing to become a surrogate mother for a Chinese couple.
According to The New York Post, California is one of few US states where you can get paid to be a surrogate mother, with Jessica receiving $30,000 from the couple.
In the sixth week of her pregnancy, Jessica was told she was carrying twins and so charged an extra $5,000 for the second child.
After giving birth via cesarean section later that year in December, the babies were quickly taken away from Jessica meaning she didn’t even get a chance to see them.
Jessica told The New York Post:
It was written in my $35,000 contract that I was allowed an hour with the newborns before they were discharged from the maternity unit — just to check on how they were doing.
But Mrs. Liu and the babies, Mike and Max, had already left the hospital.
I hadn’t even gotten a glimpse of the twins when they were removed from my womb and taken to the neonatal intensive care unit.
The next day, their mom paid me a 10 minute visit and showed me a picture on her cellphone.
Wow! They look different’. I told her, before she snatched back the device.
It turned out the two babies had different DNA and therefore not the same biological parentage.
Mike was an Asian child and the biological baby of the Liu’s, while Max was half-white and half-African-American, belonging to Jessica and her now husband, Wardell Jasper.
In a rare medical incident known as superfetation, the couple had got pregnant naturally after the IVF cycle.
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 identical.
A few days after finding out what happened, Jessica learnt how someone from the surrogacy agency, Omega Family Global, was looking after her child because the Liu’s wanted nothing to do with him.
The Chinese family were even asking for compensation of between $18,000 and $22,000 and the agency had parents lined up to adopt the child.
I told the agency in no uncertain terms, ‘we want our son’ but we would still be responsible for the bill if we kept him.
It was like Max was a commodity and we were paying to adopt our own flesh and blood.
A caseworker from the agency also said we owed her a further $7,000 for expenses she had incurred for the bureaucracy and for looking after our 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 Liu’s to zero.
They also handed over Jessica’s son, who the couple have since renamed Malachi.
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The moment was incredibly emotional and I started hugging and kissing my boy.
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.
What a remarkable and heartbreaking story.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.