In 2017, a young woman by the name of Jessica Allen appeared on ABC News to say, “No woman in the world should have to live their life without experiencing the love and the bond from a mother and a child.” She already had two boys of her own by the time she served as a surrogate for a foreign couple. At first, it looked like everything was going to be all right. However, the truth about the children took them all by surprise. When Jessica spoke to People, she said, “I’d never do it again. I’m not the only one with a nightmare story, but I am the only one with a story like this.”
She Only Wanted To Help Them
Jessica Allen lives in California and has two little boys. When she agreed to be the surrogate for a Chinese couple, she thought that she was doing something good. Surrogacy is not allowed in their home country, which is the reason they went to the United States to go about the process.
It Was Not An Easy Decision
It is not easy for a couple to suffer from failed conception. Luckily, there is another option in the form of surrogacy. Jessica was a kind woman who decided to help people in need by doing this. However, the couple had to think a lot about this before they made up their minds. Typically, people who fail to conceive children decide to explore their other options such as adoption, IVF, and more.
What Makes A Good Candidate
Before one can be a surrogate mom, a woman has to pass various screening tests and processes. Not only does she have to commit to the procedure, but she will also have to choose between gestational or traditional surrogacy. A person interested in hiring the services of a surrogate will need to get in touch with an agency or even a lawyer. As you can see, this is not something that you can do on a whim.
For The Sake Of The Baby
Back then, Jessica Allen was working for a San Diego-based agency called Omega Family Global. It was how she and the couple were linked together. In April 2016, she underwent in-vitro fertilization. This involved implanting a male embryo in her womb. Surrogates need to take progestogen and estrogen to prepare the womb for this process. Jessica had to follow the instructions of the doctor to ensure that she would conceive and give birth healthily. Six weeks into the pregnancy, she received big news.
They Heard Great News
When she went through the six-week scan, Jessica learned that there were two fetuses inside her womb! According to the doctor, it was rare for the embryo to split the way that it did. Despite this, it was not unheard of. This came as a relief to Jessica. On the other hand, the couple was thrilled.
Adjusting To The New Circumstances
Aside from the expenses that came with the pregnancy, Jessica was all set to make $30,000 for her services. Once the couple found out that she was carrying twins, they added $5,000 to her paycheck. It had all been going smoothly until the day that she gave birth to the two children.
There Was Something Weird About It
Jessica got a C-section and delivered a pair of babies on December 12th, 2016. She could not take a look at the twins just yet since they were separated from her through an opaque screen. They were immediately taken away as soon as they were born. Luckily for her, she still got the opportunity to see the babies that night since the Chinese woman went to her room to show a photo of the twins. “One looked full Chinese, the other didn’t look full Chinese. It was clear that they were not identical… but I didn’t ask questions,” the surrogate mom told People.
An Expression Of Doubt
After the birth of the babies, everyone returned to their regular lives. Jessica headed home to recover from this ordeal. With the money she earned, she bought a new home with her husband. A month after that, just before the family moved in, the Chinese woman sent her a text. It came with a photo of the babies. Jessica shared the questions she received with the New York Post. The intended mom asked her, “Have you thought about why they are different?” and “They are not the same, right?”
While It Is Rare, It Is Possible
The week after that, the Chinese couple made the twins get a DNA test. They were surprised by what they learned. The babies were not really twins! In fact, one of the children had the DNA of Jessica and her husband. This meant that the embryos did not have the same gestational ages. This is a medical phenomenon known as superfetation, which involves an ovulating pregnant woman. Yes, Jessica conceived a baby of her own after the implantation of the embryo from the Chinese couple.
They Did Not Expect It At All
They were all surprised to learn about this. No one could have expected such a thing, but it was not a part of their deal. Jessica and her husband followed the instructions of the doctor to put off sex until they found out whether the embryo took root. “As per my contract, Wardell [Jessica’s husband] and I did not have intercourse until we were given permission by the IVF doctor, who recommended the use of condoms,” Jessica explained to the New York Post. It is rare for contraceptive failure to take place.
It Took Them By Surprise
This also meant that Jessica just found out that she now had a third kid. This came as a shock to her and her husband. “I was panicking. My husband and I were panicking. We had no idea how this came about and we had no idea how we were going to prepare for a child overnight. We just moved into a new house, we didn’t have any more money,” she told People. Sadly, this was not the end of the surprises.
There Were More Bad News For Them
When they learned that they were the biological parents of one of the babies, they wanted to bring the child home. At the time, however, they had a lot of things to figure out. You see, it was not quite as easy to bring the baby back. When the Chinese couple found out that this baby was not theirs, they did not want anything to do with the poor baby. Jessica was heartbroken to hear that her child was handed over to an employee of the surrogate agency.
What Made It Even Worse
This was not the end of their woes either. The Chinese couple must have been frustrated with this ordeal and asked Jessica to return the $22,000 that they paid her in compensation. This threw a wrench to her plans, which were already messy as it was. Jessica found herself at a loss for what to do.
It Was A Totally Unreasonable Demand
“We’d already spent most of the money we earned from the surrogacy contract, but now we were apparently on the hook for thousands of dollars,” she shared with the New York Post. On top of that, the agency asked the couple for thousands of bucks as payment for taking care of their baby. Jessica and her family had recently moved into their new house. They did not have the money to pay for all of that!
No Parent Should Go Through This
Jessica also learned something that no parent would ever want to hear. She was shocked when she learned that the child was going to be put up for adoption. This was very alarming to hear. As soon as she heard that, she was even more determined to do everything in her power to keep her child safe.
What They Had To Do
“To my disgust, a caseworker from the agency lined up parents to adopt him and ‘absorb’ the money we owed to the [couple]. Or, if that didn’t work out, the [couple] were thinking of putting [my son] up for adoption, as they were still his legal parents,” Jessica shared with the New York Post. They were backed into a tight spot. It would have been perfect if the agency just gave them the baby back without asking for anything, but this was not the case. They refused to budge until the couple made the payment.
They Just Wanted Him Back
The Allen couple had been devastated when they found out that their child was about to be put up for adoption. This was not what they wanted at all. “I thought I wasn’t going to get him back because they were pressuring me to pay this money back first. Then they were saying that the intending mom was thinking about giving him up for adoption… I thought I had a child out there that I was gonna be forced to let go of all because I couldn’t buy him or because I couldn’t adopt him,” Jessica narrated to People.
The Person Who Should Be Blamed
There was nothing else to do but fight for the baby. The Allens went into debt in the hopes of retrieving their son. At the same time, they tried to negotiate with the agency by hiring a legal team. Among other things, they had to determine the liable party in this rather unusual situation.
Looking For The Liable Party
Some folks do not think that the Allen couple abstained like they said they did. On the other hand, some think that the IVF doctor was to blame since they gave Jessica to go signal. There were folks who blamed the Chinese couple as they agreed to pay more when they learned that she was carrying two babies.
What The Agency Was Doing
Jessica got a lawyer in the hopes of getting their child back from the agency. She thinks that the agency manipulated the Chinese couple, who she believes is actually innocent in this mess. “It’s not her fault… The agency put it in her head that I was going to try to sue her. I never said those words. Since she was scared that I was going to sue her, she starts sending me all kinds of text messages,” she said.
One Excuse After Another
As we all know, legal feuds can take a long time before they are resolved. It was a struggle for the couple to obtain custody of the boy. It felt like a game of cat and mouse. When she spoke to People, she said, “We tried to get him on numerous occasions, but one excuse they gave us was the intended parents didn’t want to sign over the power of attorney, so we didn’t get him… We got another call and we were supposed to get him, then we didn’t because they were thinking about giving him up for adoption.”
The Surrogacy Agency And Its Statement
But why did Omega Family Global make Jessica go through all that even though they knew that she was the biological mother of the child? You will learn more from the statement that they put out. The agency refuted her claims! This was their answer as posted by the New York Post: “By its very nature surrogacy is a complicated journey which necessitates the support and care of agencies, parents, surrogates, psychologist, lawyers, and a host of other professionals. As with any pregnancy, issues do arise which require great care, attention to detail and respect for the process and the emotions of all involved.”
How Long She Had To Wait
In December 2016, Jessica delivered a pair of healthy babies. After failing to retrieve her son thrice, she could finally hold the child two months later. “And so, on [February] 5, I finally met a caseworker from Omega in a Starbucks parking lot in Menifee, [California], where she handed over our son, whom we’ve renamed Malachi. The moment was incredibly emotional, and I started hugging and kissing my boy,” she shared with the New York Post. She hopes that this story is going to serve as a warning to other people.
She Will Never Do It Again
Jessica said that she does not want to be a surrogate mom again. After this ordeal, we can’t blame her. Still, she does not have any regrets. “[My husband and I] weren’t planning to expand our family so soon, but we treasure Malachi with all our hearts. 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,” she explained to the New York Post.
The Real Victims In This Mess
When the story got out, there was a certain group of people who think that the real victims in this mess were the Chinese couple. A commenter said, “To comprehend this story, we must also see it from the parents’ side. I can say that virtually no one turns to surrogacy before suffering a tremendous amount of heartache — miscarriages, stillbirths, failed IVFs, failed adoptions, emergency hysterectomies, etc. And because it costs tens of thousands of dollars, no one approaches surrogacy lightly.”
It Is Not Over For Them Just Yet
Even though Jessica and her husband won the custody battle, this is not the end of the road for them just yet. After all, they still have to pay off their debt. “It’s very stressful financially, it’s put us in debt. We’re barely getting by right now and it stressed me out emotionally because this agency turned their backs on me… Knowing that for the first two months of [Malachi’s] brand new life that he was in the arms of strangers, that breaks my heart. It’s really heartbreaking,” Jessica shared with People.
They Might Have Breached Contract
To no one’s surprise, people have come up with all kinds of theories about the situation. There is one theory, which is not as far-fetched as all the others. People think that Jessica breached the contract. It is believed that they had sexual intercourse before getting the green light from the doctor.
Their Son Is Finally Home
We are just relieved to hear that the whole family has since been reunited. The story only went viral nearly a year after everything took place. By then, Malachi was with them and a full-fledged member of the family. “He’s a little man. He’s like 10 months going on 10. He’s walking around already. He’s trying to talk. He has an attitude and he’s funny and his personality is just goofy and bossy all at once. He walks around like he runs the world,” shared Jessica when she spoke to People. Doesn’t that sound nice?
Surrogacy Is Not A Laughing Matter
This is a case of surrogacy that went wrong. Anyone should be able to see that. It might be a sad and devastating story, but we don’t think that it should discourage people who want to take this path. Allow us to make up for this by sharing another miraculous surrogacy. This next story will move you for sure.
They Had Always Wanted Kids
After tying the knot, Kevin and Nicole Barattini were hoping to expand their new family right away. Things did not go according to plan, however. They did not plan to give up and checked their other options. By then, they had been man and wife for a few years already. It did not look promising until one of their friends offered to help them out. At last, they could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Their Couple Friend Already Had Five Kids
The two of them had married friends called Shaun and Lianna. This couple also wanted to have kids right away after marriage. The only difference was that they were able to conceive several times over. As a matter of fact, they already had five kids by then. Lianna wanted even more than that because they loved having a big family so much. While she would indeed give birth to a child soon, she did not know yet that it would not carry her genes…
It Is Not Easy To Look For A Surrogate
As for Kevin and Nicole, they still had yet to succeed with conception. In the end, they decided that it was time to look for a surrogate. They were not sure how it would go, but the couple knew that it was important to look for someone they could trust. Lianna then offered to do it for them. This took the pair by surprise, but this was actually ideal. After all, they considered her a good friend.
They Were Touched By The Support
Without a doubt, surrogacy is nothing short of a miracle. An obstetrician by the name of Dr. Richard Klein worked with the couple and described it as “so much fun.” He liked seeing how much both pairs wanted this to work out. In 2016, Lianna had the embryo planted in her womb. But did it take root?
Hoping For Good News
Both couples felt antsy as the moment of truth approached. Obviously, Kevin and Nicole felt this even more than their friends. This was something that they had wanted for such a long time. Lianna tried her hardest to obey the directions she received. After that, there was nothing else to do but see if it took. As you can imagine, emotions were running high when it was time for them to see the result. They all hoped for the best, but this was now out of their control.
A Family Of Their Own
In 2010, the Barritini couple tied the knot. Their dream was to expand the family right away. Hopefully, this would be the beginning of a new chapter in their life. Sadly, their hope was dashed when their efforts did not succeed. Nicole ended up seeking medical advice to see what was wrong. She received bad news, but it was a relief to track down the root of their problem. There was something in their way.
When She Was A Teenager
At the age of 16, Nicole noticed small bumps on the skin. At first, they were just small spots. However, they went on to spread all over her body. On top of that, she was also suffering from fatigue, fever, and jaundice. When they took her blood samples, it was revealed that she had very low platelet levels. While a normal platelet count would be anywhere from 150,000 and 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood, she only had 8,000! This can’t be good.
She Was Diagnosed With TTP
The results pointed to one thing. Nicole was suffering from an autoimmune disease called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Also known as TTP, this is a possibly fatal condition that leads to the formation of blood clots around the body. We are sure that this was tough to digest for someone so young. She had to recover at the hospital for a while. We are just glad that they caught it early on.
It Is A Rare Blood Disorder
How risky was it for Nicole? Just so you know, the disease has a mortality rate of 95 percent if it is not treated immediately. The blood disorder causes the blood glycoprotein to go up and leads to blood clots in various parts of the body. This was evident in the bruises, fever, and fatigue that Nicole had been suffering from. One in 100,000 people has this disease, and most of these people happen to be women.
How It Affected Her Pregnancy
The doctors gave her the medication she needed to manage this condition. For the longest time, this allowed Nicole to live her life with no worries. She did not think much about it until she was a married woman aching for a child of her own. Sadly, she learned that her medication is not good for a baby. It was not like she could simply stop taking them! After all, it was a matter of life and death for her.
She Was Devastated To Hear This
Nicole found out that it was going to be dangerous for her to get pregnant. This devastated her. Once Kevin returned home, he immediately noticed that something was up. “I got home from work and Nicole had that look on her face like something was wrong and I’m never going to forget it. I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ and she said, ‘The doctor doesn’t think we can have children.’ And you know, nobody wants to hear that,” he narrated. He listened to her as she explained the risks involved in this dilemma.
It Was Too Risky To Try
While it was hard to accept that she should not conceive, Nicole was sad to hear it. Despite this, it was too risky to fall pregnant with her condition. She explained, “I was able to conceive, but I wouldn’t be able to have a healthy pregnancy. And it would result in death of myself or the baby.” They did not want to give up on their dreams of having a family no matter what. This is why they looked at their options.
She Was Willing To Put Herself At Risk
She had always wanted to be a mom, so it was unfortunate that she could not give birth to one. It was frustrating even though she understood the risks that it entailed. Nicole went as far as to say that she was ready to ignore the medical advice, but he did not want her to put her life at risk.
Other Options Were Safer For Her
The two of them had a lot of emotions to deal with at the time. What they knew was that they did not want to give up. In the end, they had to deal with the reality of the situation. Both Kevin and Nicole had to stay calm and talk it through. She decided to freeze her eggs in preparation for the future. They then started looking for a surrogate since it sounded like the most ideal thing to do in their shoes.
How Much It Costs To Adopt
They considered adoption as well. Kevin and Nicole just wanted to have a kid. It did not matter to them whether the child would bear their genes or not. This did not work out since they found out that the process was very expensive. It is already going to be costly to raise a child, and they would rather not spend money on legal fees and other expenses. But what else was there for them to do?
They Would Have To Pay A Lot
It is clear that every single child in the world deserves loving parents. Sadly, the system does not make it easy to do so. Adoption is very expensive since the legal fees tend to rack up over the course of the process. Adoptive Families said that international adoptions between 2015 and 2016 cost $42,000 on average. Is it cheaper for domestic adoption? Yes, but $37,000 is still prohibitively expensive for most people.
There Was Another Option
In the end, they decided to check their other options instead. Surrogacy sounded like the way to go. Kevin and Nicole started to learn more about this process. They were devastated when they found out that it would cost them $75,000. That is nearly twice as expensive as adoption! Despite this, they could get around it if they find someone willing to do this for free. “We had heard stories that sisters carried and mothers carried, but I don’t have a sister, and my mother is over the age,” Nicole explained.
The Surrogacy Laws In The State
On top of that, the couple learned what the laws of New York had to say about surrogacy. It turned out that hiring a surrogate parent is illegal in the state! Kevin and Nicole could get someone from out of state, but it is going to be too much of a hassle. This would cost even more since they had to consider the travel costs involved. Ideally, they would find a surrogate whose home was not too far from theirs.
It Was Still Their Best Option
At any rate, surrogacy appealed to both of them very much. This process will be carried out by making an embryo from the sperm of the dad and the egg of the mom through IVF. It would then be implanted in the womb of the surrogate. This way, the child would have the genes of the intended couple! Kevin and Nicole liked the sound of this, but where can they even find someone ready to do it for free?
Her Friends And Family Offered To Do It
They knew that it would be a good idea to have someone else carry their child for them. It would be too risky if Nicole conceived and gave birth. Kevin and Nicole were touched to receive the support of their loved ones. They did not expect to receive so many offers. After they shared the news, they both started to feel much more hopeful. Sadly, their hopes were crushed not long after this. After going through initial testing, they learned that many of the volunteers were not a good fit for the task at hand.
She Had Recently Given Birth
By that time, the couple had known Lianna for over two decades. She and Shaun had five kids already as well. She was the sort of person who liked motherhood and would rather not imagine a life without her children. When she learned what Lianna was going through, she felt bad and wanted to help. At the time, she had recently given birth to her youngest child. Could she really carry another kid so soon?
In Order To Pass The Screening
If you want to be a surrogate, you need to be in perfect health. This is an expensive process, after all. The likelihood of pregnancy decreases as a woman grows older. There are also other things that need to be considered. Kevin and Nicole soon found out that they can’t just choose whoever they want. But if they get the go-ahead from a medical professional, she will likely get pregnant within three attempts.
Discussing It Over Dinner
The two couples met up for a dinner in December 2015. At the time, Kevin and Nicole were still stressing about what to do. Luckily for them, Shawn and Lianna were ready to help them with their problem. It was not easy to avoid the topic of kids. It was obvious that Nicole was upset about their current problem. Lianna took this as her opportunity to offer the childless couple their help.
She Wanted One More
Once Nicole finished talking about her issues with bearing kids, Lianna told her something that she did not expect. When Kevin shared the story, he explained, “Lianna goes, ‘You know I have five children, Shawn and I want to have maybe one or two more.’ And [Nicole and I] looked at each other with a puzzled look, like, ‘You have five kids, why would you want any more?’” Let us see what she told him.
They Could Not Believe It
At first, Kevin and Nicole were shocked to hear Lianna talk about wanting one more kid. She knew that they were having issues in that area, so it was a bit rude. Luckily, they let her finish. “And she goes, ‘No, not for me, for you guys- I’d like to carry a child.’” This shocked the couple. Kevin explained, “The two of us, just forget about it. We just, we all started crying.” Was this the solution they wanted so badly?
The Desire To Help A Friend
In reality, Lianna had already made up her mind by then. “I was blessed to have five kids, and they are all amazing, and I couldn’t picture my life without them. And to see this family so deserving, it broke my heart,” she shared. She wanted her friends to feel the same way. This is the reason she volunteered for such a huge undertaking. It was not going to be easy, but she was ready to do it for them.
He Agreed To What She Had In Mind
In 2015, Shaun and Lianna welcomed a fifth child into the family. They already knew that the family was complete. While she was happy with her kids, she knew that there was more for her to give. That is the reason she agreed to be the surrogate of her pals Kevin and Nicole. Once she decided on this, she talked to Shaun about it. Among others, he will have to step up more in the house. It is a good thing he agreed.
Everything Was Going Smoothly
Kevin and Nicole took on her offer to be the surrogate. They could not express just how grateful they were for this. It is lovely to think that she was so selfless. The pair was thrilled since they were now a step closer to their dream. Luckily, Lianna passed the tests. At last, they could put their plan into motion.
The First Try Did Not Succeed
Once Lianna passed the test, she headed to the doctor for the implantation of the embryo. They had to wait one week before they could see whether it took. This might sound like a short time to you, but it was an entire lifetime for the couple. Kevin and Nicole did not want to be disappointed, so they tried not to expect anything. It was the waiting game for everyone involved. Together, the two couples went to the clinic to see whether the process had been successful or not. This was the moment of truth.
Time To Try It Again
Sadly, the first time was not a success. They were willing to give it another shot. We are sure that they were motivated by the optimism from the doctor, who informed them that the chances improved with more embryos. They had to wait another week to check if things have improved. Once again, they were nervous as they waited for the news. Hopefully, it would bear fruit this time around.
The Second Try Worked
The couples found themselves in the doctor’s office once more. Everyone was hoping that the embryo took, so they were delighted when they heard the good news. Yes, Lianna was officially pregnant! On top of that, she was carrying twins in her womb. You can probably imagine the excitement that erupted in the room at that moment. Kevin and Nicole had always wanted a child of their own. At long last, it sounded like this was finally going to happen.
Letting Their Loved Ones Know
They kept the news to themselves until the Labor Day weekend. Kevin and Nicole invited sixty friends over under the guise of a Labor Day party. This was how their friends and family found out that the tide has changed for this couple. None of them expected this to happen when they arrived at the venue. While the good news must have surprised them, we are sure that they were happy for the couple.
They Welcomed A Pair Of Healthy Babies
Kevin and Nicole became parents on February 10th, 2017. That was the day that Lianna gave birth to the twins, whom they called Luciana and Dominic. We are happy to hear that the pregnancy was a smooth one. The couple was delighted to meet their healthy children. None of this would have been possible if it had not been for the help of Shaun and Lianna. “It’s probably the most amazing thing because you think it’s the end of the road, now here we are with two beautiful children,” said Kevin.
This Bond Will Last Forever
You can probably guess who Kevin and Nicole chose as the godparents of the twins. There is no one that they trust more to take care of the kids than Shaun and Lianna! “I don’t have a sister, but I’d consider her like that. We don’t hold back, we are open, honest, and I am constantly turning to her for guidance,” Nicole admitted. Even though Nicole did not stop taking her meds, she still found a way to become a mom to not just one but two lovely kids!
They Now Fight For Surrogacy
After welcoming the twins to the family, Kevin and Nicole set out to share their story with the rest of the world. The two of them are now fighting for the legalization of surrogacy in the state of New York. They work with reproductive specialists and politicians to improve the state of things right now. “We are happy that our story went public to help others in the time of need,” Kevin said. Isn’t it amazing to see how honest and transparent they are about their personal journey?
Their Goal Is To Spread The Word
We are sure that they will always be grateful for what Lianna did for them. Nicole wants people who are in her shoes to understand that they have options. On top of that, they can always ask for help and look for a surrogate. “There are people out there, like Lianna, that will do it out of kindness. It’s easier to find them than it seems. It’s never the end of the road,” she explained. We are glad to report that Kevin and Nicole continue to advocate for this process. A lot of people still don’t know much about it, after all. It is a good thing that there are people like them who want to spread the word. This only inspires us never to lose hope no matter what happens.