It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give a couple – the gift of a child.
But for Jessica Allen, her gift turned into a custody nightmare after she unknowingly fell pregnant with her own child while already pregnant with another couple’s baby.
In a story that has made headlines around the world, US Mum Jessica Allen has come forward with her emotional battle to bring her biological son home.
In 2015 Jessica Allen agreed to become a surrogate for the first time. The Californian mum already had two healthy boys and wanted to help another couple become parents.
Fast forward to December 2016 when Jessica Allen gave birth to twin boys. After growing them inside her for nine months, she was emotionally prepared to give the babies to their rightful mother and father, a Chinese couple who could not have children of their own.
Although it was written in her contract that she could spend two hours with the babies before they were given to their parents, the couple took the twins before Jessica had a chance to say goodbye.
“They are not the same, right?”
One month later Jessica received a message from the twins’ mother with a photo of the two children, she told the New York Post.
“They are not the same, right? Have you thought about why they are different?”
This woman's story sounds like an absolute nightmare https://t.co/tWmtSwyeop
— New York Post (@nypost) October 26, 2017
The twins definitely didn’t look identical – one had much fairer skin than the other – and the Chinese mother told Jessica she was having doubts that one belonged to her.
A DNA test confirmed the woman’s doubts. One of the boys was the biological son of Jessica Allen and her husband, Wardell Jasper.
At first, Jessica and Wardell, who already have two sons, were in complete shock to learn they had fallen pregnant while carrying as a surrogate. Their doctor had confirmed it was okay to continue to have sex after the surrogate pregnancy was confirmed. After all, you can’t get pregnant when you’re already pregnant, right?
Yes, yes you can. This incredibly rare phenomenon is known as superfetation, and occurs when a woman continues to ovulate after becoming pregnant.
Throughout her pregnancy she was told that the babies were identical twins, when, in reality, the babies were conceived at different times in the month.
“Our first priority was getting our baby back”
Although the news that they had another son came as a shock, the couple prepared to welcome their baby back home.
Except the surrogate couple and the surrogacy agency, Omega Family Global, had other plans.
Jessica and Wardell say they attempted to pick up their son three times, but were dismissed. They say the agency later told them that the couple wanted $22,000 in compensation before their baby would be returned.
“They wanted me to adopt my own child”
“I thought I wasn’t going to get him back. It was like [he] was a commodity and we were paying to adopt our own flesh and blood,” Jessica recalls.
Jessica and Wardell paid $3000 in legal fees to fight the surrogacy agency. On 5 February 2017, Jessica and Wardell got their son back, whom they renamed Malachi. They did not have to pay the couple to return their biological son.
The beyond confusing battle has left both families emotionally exhausted and beyond furious with the surrogacy agency.
“Knowing that for the first two months of his brand new life that he was in the arms of strangers, that breaks my heart. It’s really heartbreaking,” Jessica told the New York Post.
Moving forward as a family of five
Malachi is now “beautiful, healthy, hilarious” 10-month-old. The couple are trying to put the whole ordeal behind them and enjoy life with their three boys.
“We treasure Malachi with all our hearts,” Jessica adds. “I don’t regret becoming a surrogate mom because that would mean regretting my son.
I just hope other women considering surrogacy can learn from my story. And that a greater good will come out of this nightmare.”
For a surrogacy story with a less dramatic twist, take a look at our previous post about the woman who carried her sister’s baby after cancer stole her fertility.