Selfless woman becomes a surrogate to triplets at the age of 21
A selfless woman has given birth to triplets after becoming one of the UK’s youngest surrogates at 21 years old.
Shaniece Sturdy, from Carshalton, Surrey, first became interested in surrogacy as a teenager after watching a documentary on TV.
After the birth of her son, Rylee, now four, she contacted a surrogacy centre and came across hopeful parents Joanna and Steve.
She was desperate to help them complete their family and flew to Los Angeles to a specialist clinic to have their embryo inserted.
Shaniece, who has since set up her own cleaning business, was shocked when midwives found not one but three heart beats.
Joanna and Steve were thrilled they were expecting triplets and Shaniece now visits them every year for their birthdays.
Shaniece said: “Even though I was only 21 and it was a huge responsibility carrying their babies, it was one of the best experiences of my life.
“I had no morning sickness or cravings, the whole pregnancy flew by and with the support of Joanna and Steve, it was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone.
“I was only supposed to be helping the family have a brother or sister for their little girl but I ended up giving them three babies at once.
“At our first scan at just a few weeks pregnant, we were all told I was carrying twins, Joanna and Steve had already picked their twin pram.
“At the 10 week scan I joked, ‘I wonder if they will find another heartbeat,’ and just minutes later, they did.
“I was now expecting triplets and at just a few months pregnant, I was already bigger than I had been with Rylee at eight months, I looked huge.
“We all opted for a planned C-section at 33 weeks but my waters broke on Halloween.
“Joanna came down to theatre with me and although I was nervous all I cared about was ensuring the babies were delivered safe and healthy.
“The triplets were taken to intensive care but Willow, Daisy, and Harrison, were all perfectly fine, weighing 4lb 2oz, 3lb 7oz and 3lb 11oz.
“I was advise anyone thinking about becoming a surrogate to do it, I can’t wait to do it again.”
The triplets were home with their parents Joanna and Steve after just two weeks in hospital – now three, Shaniece visits them every year on their birthday to catch up.
She added: “I always get so emotional when I see them, not because I miss them or want more children of my own but because I’m so happy that I was part of their journey.
“I think a lot of people presume you have to use your own eggs when you’re a surrogate but that’s not the case at all.
“I had Joanna and Steve’s embryo inserted in Los Angeles so it’s biologically their child not mine, I was just the host womb.
“Seeing them both with the triplets for the first time in hospital was such a special moment, I’ll never forget it.”
Shaniece, who is now 24, feels the laws surrounding surrogacy need to be changed here in the UK so hopeful parents have more control.
She added: “Throughout the pregnancy I had all the questions about the babies directed at me, for example, birth plans, vaccinations, scan dates.
“I would just turn to Joanna and Steve and say, ‘what do you want to do?’ it was my body but they weren’t my babies.
“If the law could change so the parents could make the decisions it would make things easier on both parts.”
Shaniece didn’t tell her family straight away about her surrogacy plans in case they didn’t approve.
She added: “I decided to conduct all my own research beforehand and it wasn’t until I met the hopeful parents that I told anyone.
“I was only 21 at the time but I wasn’t interested in partying and drinking, I wanted to help another couple fulfil their family dream and raise Rylee properly.
“It really doesn’t matter how old you are, as long as you’re ready and understand the importance of what you’re doing.”
A spokesperson for Surrogacy UK, said: “Surrogacy UK is a not-for-profit organisation providing information and support for surrogates and intended parents. Our ethos is “friendship first” and we believe trust and honesty between surrogates and intended parents is key to successful surrogacy journeys.
For more information visit www.surrogacyuk.org.”
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