Last year, Laura McCarthy, from Huddersfield, gave birth to someone else’s twins and is now planning to have her 10th baby, saying it’s addictive and the best job in the world
A mum who says being a surrogate is “addictive” is preparing to have her 10th baby.
Laura McCarthy, 33, has four children of her own and has carried five others for parents unable to have their own children.
After becoming a surrogate for the first time 11 years ago, the mum of four says the feeling of handing over the baby and seeing the couple’s instant and unconditional love for the child can be addictive.
All of her surrogate pregnancies have been through in vitro fertilisation (IVF), meaning the couple’s fertilised egg is implanted in Laura’s womb so genetically none of the babies are hers.
The single mum from Bradley, Huddersfield, told ExaminerLive : “I love being a mum, it’s the best job in the world, and I love that I can help someone fulfil their dream to become a parent.”
Speaking of the moment she gets to pass the newborn over to the intended parents, she said: “Once you see the baby in their arms you can see that unconditional love immediately. It is just so worth it. That feeling can be slightly addictive.”
Inspired by a TV programme, mum to April, 13, Rowan, 11, Ada, six, and Eira, two, decided to become a surrogate for the first time after the births of her first two children.
“That unconditional love that I felt, I thought how lucky I was to have that and so thought if I could help others, then why not?
“Once they are old enough they will know who I am and that they grew in my tummy.” She said.
A decade on, she recently lost over 5st so that she could carry on and have a tenth baby for a single man with a donated egg, but is yet to become pregnant.
Laura who now weighs 11st explained: “Having had nine babies, and definitely wanting more, I couldn’t risk a tenth baby whilst being so overweight because of the associated risk factors.”
Before starting the process, Laura gets to know the intended parents she is working with and stays in touch afterwards, adding that when the children are old enough they will be told how they were born.
“Once they are old enough they will know who I am and that they grew in my tummy.” Laura adds.
However there are misconceptions around surrogacy Laura says, including myths that surrogates make lots of money and concerns that they will become attached to the baby.
“People think I would be attached to the baby. Of course, I want to keep that baby safe, but you don’t have the same feelings (you have) towards your own child when you are pregnant with someone else’s.” She says.
Under UK law, surrogates cannot be paid except for reasonable expenses such as clothes and medication.
“In the UK, surrogacy is altruistic. Expenses are covered, such as travel and maternity clothes.” Laura says, adding that some people ask funny questions like ‘do you know who you are doing it for?’.
“Yes, I would not have a baby for a stranger.” she answers.
But there are some concerns more personal to Laura as the number of children she has given birth to approaches “double figures”.
Laura said: “I do get asked that. It is a sensible question.”
“I would like to carry on helping people to have their family. If my body gets to the stage where it is struggling with pregnancy, or if I get health problems or the birth is not going well, that is where a line will need to be drawn because my children need a mum.
“I never rule anything out, I play everything by ear. I have always coped well with pregnancy and have had straightforward births.”
Despite some initial shock and concern from her grandparents over her first surrogate baby, Laura says she has the full backing of her family, who would be surprised if she stopped.
“It’s so normal to my family they would be shocked if I wasn’t having more…my mum is my biggest support regarding surrogacy. She supports me in doing what I do.”
She added: “Twelve years ago, when I first started to do it, they had a lot of misconceptions. They were a little bit shocked and thought I shouldn’t do it. They saw an amazing journey with the parents and how they were respectful of me.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.