Because her daughter was born without a womb, a loving grandmother gave birth to her grandchild.
Tracey Smith has more reason to be thankful than most. Tracey’s mother, Emma Miles, gave her the greatest gift — a child — eight weeks ago. In January, Mum-of-two Emma, 55, gave birth to her granddaughter through IVF as a surrogate for her daughter. Tracey, 31, was born without a womb but yearned to have a family with Adam. So the family was thrilled when Tracey’s biological daughter Evie was delivered safely via emergency Caesarean section. Tracey, a nursery worker, says, “I can’t thank my mother enough for everything she’s done. I thought I’d never had my child, so having Evie in my arms is a dream come true.”
Tracey discovered at the age of 16 that she would never be able to have a child. “Scans revealed that I was born without a womb, but with functioning ovaries and fallopian tubes,” she explains. “I was diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome, a condition in which the vagina and uterus are underdeveloped or absent, even though the external genitalia appears normal.” “I was heartbroken because I couldn’t bear my child.” I was offered to counsel and went to a support group with my mother, but it was easier to bury my sad feelings.
Tracey found out when she was 16 that she would never be able to have a child. “Scans revealed that I was born without a womb but with fully functional ovaries and fallopian tubes,” she explains. “I was diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome, a condition in which the vagina and uterus are underdeveloped or absent despite the appearance of normal external genitalia.” “I was devastated because I couldn’t have my child.” I was offered counsel and attended a support group with my mother, but it was easier for me to ignore my sad feelings.
“After my diagnosis, Mum offered to carry my child for me one day.” I didn’t give it much thought at the time, and we never came up with a solid plan.” Tracey met groundskeeper Adam Smith in April 2014 while both were working part-time in a hotel and fell in love. Two years later, they got engaged. “The issue of having a family was always on my mind,” Tracey says. I’d told him it would never happen to me. It was a complex subject, and I had even tried to push him away.
“However, Adam told me it was me he desired. So we began to think about practical ways to start a family and made an appointment with a fertility specialist at University Hospital Coventry. “The doctor said IVF could be successful and asked if we had a surrogate in mind.” We were overjoyed. “At home, Adam and I discussed using a surrogacy agency, but we were concerned about finding someone we could trust.” According to British law, the surrogate has full parental rights from birth, which seemed like a huge risk. “Then I remembered my mother’s offer.” When we met in September 2016, I asked her if she was serious. ‘Of course, I was,’ she said, her eyes lighting up.
“My father, Robert, 61, was also very encouraging.” He stated in writing, through a solicitor, that they would gladly grant me and Adam parental rights once our child was born. “Mum met with our consultant in March 2017, and they devised a plan to prepare her body for pregnancy.” They didn’t seem bothered by her age. “They needed Mum to lose weight, which she was more than willing to do.” She ŀöṩẗ 6st in four months, dropping to a healthy 11st 4lb. “She took hormones in tablet form to prepare her womb, and an embryo made up of my egg and Adam’s ṩṗệŕṃ was implanted in May 2018.”
“At our next appointment four weeks later, the nurse slid a positive pregnancy test across the table, and we were completely taken aback.” It was one of the most joyous days of my life. Mum’s pregnancy was straightforward. I expected some people to be cruel because my mother was carrying my child, but we’ve received nothing but positive feedback.” Emma moved 148 miles from her home in Lampeter, South Wales, to Tracey and Adam’s flat in Atherstone, Warks, when the baby was only two months old.