A 61-year-old Nebraska woman gave birth to her own granddaughter after volunteering to be a surrogate for her son and his husband’s child. Matthew Eledge and Elliot Dougherty began IVF as an option for conceiving a child two years ago and said they were amused by Eledge’s mother’s offer to be their surrogate. “If you want me to be the gestational carrier,” Cecile told Matthew, “I’d do it in a heartbeat.”
Cecile Eledge last gave birth 30 years ago and went through menopause ten years ago, but was still in top physical shape for carrying a full term child. Dr. Carolyn Maud Doherty said, “It’s important for people to note that not every 60-year-old is in good enough health to be a surrogate. There are probably only a handful of people across the country who can do this, only a handful of people who have done it.”
Cecile began taking hormones to restart her cycle, Matthew donated his sperm, Elliot’s sister Lea Yribe donated the eggs, and a healthy embryo was implanted in Cecile’s uterus using in vitro fertilization. She became pregnant on the first try.
Cecile told BuzzFeed, “I had all the same symptoms, but probably more elevated. I had the same morning sickness, but it lasted longer. I had shortness of breath. But I worked out, I walked, I was physically active. As of last Monday, I was still working out on the elliptical. And actually, it was almost easier. Because I’m older, my diet’s been easier to control, and I didn’t have the responsibility of other children. Just this pregnancy.”
Matthew’s mother delivered his daughter, Uma Louise Dougherty-Eledge, without complications this week and told the publication she “feels fabulous.” A friend of Matthew and Elliot stockpiled and froze breast milk for them to feed their baby in more of a joint effort in making the couple’s dream of parenthood as seamless as possible.
Matthew said, “Talk about a support system! This is a friend we trust and love. We love women — we think women should rule the world. Elliot’s sister donated her eggs, my mom carried her, and we have this dear beautiful friend giving her this nourishment. Our daughter, Uma, gets to be surrounded by all these smart, beautiful, compassionate women.”
But! This isn’t the first time a grandmother has birthed their own grandchildren. In South Africa in 1987, 48-year-old Pat Anthony gave birth to three of her own biological grandchildren as triplets, which caused an international uproar surrounding the ethics of surrogate pregnancy. In 2016, a 67-year-old Greek grandmother, Anastassia Ontou, gave birth to her daughter’s baby and made her the oldest known surrogate in the world.
Mothers, would you give birth to your child’s baby?