A mother has volunteered to give birth to her own grandchild for her daughter, who is unable to fall pregnant.
Sherrie Zammit, 49, who wants to be a surrogate for her 31-year-old daughter Chloe Simmons, told 7News: “My days, I thought, were done and dusted with pregnancies, and never did I expect to be carrying my grandchild, but I’m really excited”.
Simmons underwent a hysterectomy at the age of 21 and had her right ovary and fallopian tubes removed after she was diagnosed with a rare cancer. Her son Isaac, now 10, was a baby at the time and now Simmons desperately wants to have a second child with partner Dimitri Pixomatis.
She said the decision to choose her mother as the surrogate had strengthened the bond between the pair: “It was amazing – I think our bond of mother and daughter got really close”.
Pixomatis is also onboard with the idea, adding, “We’re using Chloe’s eggs, my sperm – and my mother in law is just the oven.”
However, the family has hit a road block, with unforeseen fees involved in legalising the surrogacy and transferring the names on birth certificates. Non-commercial surrogacy in Australia can cost up to $100,000, which Simmons can’t afford.
In 2016, Anastassia Ontou became the oldest surrogate at 67-years-old. She made the decision to carry the child after her daughter, who had seven failed pregnancy attempts, was told she would never be able to give birth.
The ability to have children naturally begins to decline from the age of 25. The decline is gradual, but from a woman’s mid-30s it declines rapidly. And the risk to mothers rises as well – a new study published in The Lancet showed that mothers over the age of 35 made up 40 per cent of all maternal deaths.
The increasing trend of having babies later in life is a big change to previous generations. In the 1920s, the most common ages to have babies were between 20 and 29, and that remained the same in until the ’80s. But since then, the age of new mums has been rising, and now the median age for Australian women to give birth is 30.6 years, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. However, this is still increasing, with the number of mothers aged 40-44 tripling in the past 30 years.