US woman, 61, says being surrogate was ‘gift’ for her son and his husband


Cecile Eledge gave birth to her grand-daughter, who was conceived with eggs from the sister of her sons partner

A 61-year-old woman who served as a surrogate mother for her son and his husband has described her role as a “gift for her son”.

Cecile Eledge thought doctors in her home state of Nebraska would not allow her to carry a baby for the couple because of her age.

But the family rejoiced when Uma Louise Dougherty was born in an old-fashioned delivery two weeks ago at a Nebraska medical centre in Omaha.

“I wanted to do it as a gift from a mother to her son,” Cecile Eledge said.

Uma’s birth led to the family being inundated with messages on social media – most of them positive but some extremely angry and negative, Matthew Eledge said.

“People from all around the world have been reaching out,” he said. “They want to help in any way that they can.”

Cecile Eledge with her son Matthew, right, and Elliott Dougherty a few days before the birth. Photograph: Reuters

The family was trying to ignore the negative reactions – the people who wrongly think that Matthew had sex with his own mother to produce the baby, or who leave homophobic remarks.

Eledge and his husband, Elliott Dougherty, have battled prejudice throughout their relationship, with Eledge losing his job as a teacher at a Catholic school after the pair announced they would be married.

They were concerned that they would be denied permission to adopt a baby in their conservative home state. So they decided to try in-vitro fertilisation with a donated egg and a surrogate to carry the foetus.

Dougherty’s sister, Lea Yribe, offered to donate her eggs for the IVF. The eggs were fertilised with sperm from Eledge, giving Uma genetic material from both sides of the family.

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