Woman becomes surrogate mum for friend who can't carry children due to cancer

Woman becomes surrogate mum for friend who can't carry children due to cancer

10/16/2022

A woman who was unable to carry a child after cervical cancer has become a mum – thanks to a friend who stepped in as a surrogate.

Cassie Bush, 32, first noticed bleeding after sex in 2016 and was diagnosed with cervical ectropion, a condition where the cells from inside the cervix grow outside.

As the bleeding worsened, Cassie’s boyfriend Jack Clail, 31, insisted she go back to the doctor.

A further test showed she had stage 2B cervical cancer – meaning the cancer had started to spread outside of the womb.

Radiotherapy would trigger early menopause and make it impossible for her to carry her own baby, which made the news even more devastating.

In November 2017 Cassie decided to freeze her eggs on the NHS so she could one day have her own child.

Then, after months of chemo and radiotherapy, Cassie got the all-clear in March the following year.

Later she began looking for a surrogate with Jack, and the couple were completely taken aback when their friend Becky Siddell, 31, offered to carry a baby for them.

The NHS transferred one of their viable embryos – made up of Cassie’s egg and Jack’s sperm – into Becky, a mum-of- two, who fell pregnant on the first try in September 2021.

The pregnancy went ‘without a hitch’ and Becky gave birth to Barnaby in May this year.

The couple are now in the process of filing a parental order to become Barnaby’s legal parents.

Cassie, a beautician from Somerset, said: ‘Two weeks before my diagnosis, my life was normal. Then suddenly I was focusing on cancer and thinking about my future.

‘We couldn’t believe it when Becky offered to carry our baby for us. We thought it was just something said over a few drinks and not a genuine offer.

‘We’re so grateful to Becky and her husband Jamie – we’ve got our little man all thanks to them.’

Cassie, who was ‘in no pain at all’ before her diagnosis, didn’t consider her cervical ectropion may be more sinister.

But she’s relieved she got a second opinion, as her later MRI scan revealed the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.

‘I thought it was going to be about my fertility – I never thought it was cancer,’ said Cassie.

‘Jack was amazing at firing all the questions – I just sat there in complete disbelief.’

She had 26 eggs collected after the decision was made to freeze them – 20 of which were combined with Jack’s sperm to make an embryo.

Cassie said: ‘Only two of my eggs were very high grade so not the best odds. But I focused on the treatment, which was tough, but I didn’t let it get me down.

‘I always did my makeup and tried to feel my best, I went to out celebrate New Year’s Eve and made sure I still did normal things.

‘My family were amazing – my dad, Kelvin, took me out for lots of fry-ups to help me gain weight after I lost a lot during chemotherapy.

‘It was a difficult time, but I had lots of support around me.’

Despite eventually being cancer-free, Cassie’s body entered menopause and she had to start hormone replacement therapy.

‘It finally all hit me, and my body was going through a lot of changes,’ she said.

‘But when I started HRT, it was like a cloud had lifted and I felt like myself again.’

Before Becky made her offer, Cassie and Jack joined Surrogacy UK and started looking for a potentially carrier. However, despite going to a few events, the couple struggled to find anyone they bonded with.

While out for drinks with their best friends Becky, a family support worker, and her husband Jamie, 31, the pair shared how disappointing their search had become.

That’s when Becky proposed an idea that ‘blew’ the couple away.

Cassie said: ‘Jack went to school with Jamie, so we were all really good friends.

‘Out of the blue, Becky said she would be our surrogate – I couldn’t believe it.

‘We text her the next morning asking: “are you sure?” But she was deadly serious the next day, and we were so overwhelmed.’

Becky, who already has two children, was able to sign-up to Surrogacy UK because she has already carried children of her own.

After all the legal documentation was signed, Becky had a fertilised embryo transferred into her uterus.

A few weeks later, she invited Cassie over to take a pregnancy test and they were delighted to discover she had fallen pregnant on the first try.

She was thrilled to tell Jack the good news.

Cassie said: ‘I swore everyone to secrecy so I could tell him myself.

‘I always dreamed giving him a box with a baby grow and positive pregnancy test inside.

‘I pretended they were paint samples when he opened it – he was so happy.

‘Becky was a dream throughout the pregnancy, we managed to come along to all the appointments.

‘She really made us feel part of the whole journey.’

The family didn’t find out the gender, wanting it to be a surprise.

Cassie added: ‘Becky was an absolute star during labour, it was the most incredible moment of my life.

‘We’re currently in the process of filling out a parental order for Barnaby because legally, he’s not ours.

‘That’s the hardest thing for us – we didn’t realise that was something we’d have to do. But Becky and Jamie have been so relaxed and reassuring.

‘Becky has been an incredible friend – she went above and beyond for us.

‘I honestly cannot thank her enough for everything she’s done.’

The couple are now looking to the future and enjoying their new addition.

‘Barnaby just the best baby – so chilled and happy,’ said Cassie.

‘I never thought I’d have a baby this way, and now our little boy has this amazing, extended family. We all feel very lucky.’

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