When Matthew Eledge and Elliot Dougherty decided they wanted to have a baby, they would have never thought Eledge’s mother would turn out to become their surrogate.
The gay couple from Omaha, Nebraska, has just welcomed a baby girl named Uma Louise. The gestational carrier is Eledge’s mother, Cecile, who is 61.
‘If you want me to be the gestational carrier, I’d do it in a heartbeat,’ Cecile told her son when he shared his wish to become a dad.
The couple thought a postmenopausal woman couldn’t possibly carry and give birth to a baby, but their doctor proved them wrong.
‘It was a no-brainer,’ says Cecile
Dr. Carolyn Maud Doherty said there weren’t any guarantees, but she was down to see whether Cecile might be a candidate for surrogacy.
It helped that Cecile was committed to a healthy lifestyle and did regular exercise. As Doherty explained, there aren’t many 60-year-olds that can be surrogates.
‘She’s 61 years old and has lower blood pressure than the rest of us,’ Eledge said of his mother in an interview with BuzzFeed.
‘When they made her run on a treadmill, even when it was turned up to the highest level, she wasn’t anywhere close to the danger zone.’
‘I thought if I could do it, I would do it,’ Cecile said.
‘It was kind of a no-brainer.’
Uma Louise Dougherty-Eledge born at 6:06 a.m. on March 25th 2019 weighing 5 pounds 13 ounces. Life is a dream.photo credit Ariel Panowicz Ariel Panowicz Creative
Having a kid ‘on our own terms’
Cecile got pregnant after her very first embryo transfer.
Dougherty’s sister Lea Yribe, 25 at the time, donated an egg. It was then fertilized with Eledge’s sperm.
The couple had previously considered fostering or adopting. These are still options they’re very open to when it comes to building out their family in the future.
And in choosing the IVF route instead, Eledge said, ‘you have to navigate this guilt. Like, why do we want to have a genetic connection? Are we just obsessed with ourselves? Are we trying to be heteronormative, to be just like a straight couple?’
Up until two years ago, Nebraska banned same-sex couples from fostering children. In April 2017, the Nebraska Supreme Court struck down the state’s ban on same-sex couples becoming foster parents.
Thanks to Dougherty’s sister and Eledge’s mom, Eledge said, ‘We could do this on our own terms.’