Surrogate at fifty-one – Grandma who had been through menopause is oldest surrogate for strangers in the UK
A grandmother enjoyed her two pregnancies so much she wanted another one – and became a surrogate at 51.
Sue Fisher, now 55, is still the oldest person ever to have come forward to charity Surrogacy UK after her approach in 2012.
Nervous that nobody would pick her as a surrogate because of her age, she eventually clicked with a gay couple desperate to have kids.
As she had already been through the meopause Sue, from Birmingham, had to use donor eggs and had the heartbreak of being told her first attempt to get pregnant had failed.
But after the trio used up their final two eggs in a last ditched attempt to have children, Sue had a massive rush of excitement when she felt the familiar onset of heartburn she had experience when giving birth to her own daughters over 30 years ago.
Sue, Gary and Andy were shocked to find out she was carrying twins and, after going into labour early, she gave birth to Marnie and Dexter, now four, in 2014.
With their births Sue became the oldest woman to be a surrogate for strangers.
Sue said: “From a young age I had this idea in my head that I was going get married and have children. That was my life plan.
“So I was married at 16 and I had my daughters in my teens.
“I had two easy pregnancies and rather enjoyed them, but then life kind of took over.
“I was busy raising my two daughters and didn’t have time to think about much else.
“Then after 30 years of marriage to Gary we got divorced. It was a happy separation and we are still friends, and I consider the marriage a success.
“After that, the idea of being pregnant again and being a surrogate came to the front of my mind. It was something I’d considered before but now, being divorced and not looking after my family any more, I thought it was the perfect time.”
Sue approached the organisation Surrogacy UK, and claims they told her they had never had anyone of her age, then 51, approach them before.
They agreed in principal that should could become a surrogate, but that she would need to seek out a clinic that would be willing to work with her.
She contacted 50 clinics, and three came back to her to say they were willing to take her as a gestational surrogate. Sue had already been through the menopause and so needed an egg donor.
After the clinic, 15 miles from her home, agreed to work with her, she began to attend Surrogacy UK introduction meetings.
She said: “That was the first time I got very nervous about the idea.
“It had all seemed like a perfect plan until that point, but looking around I was by far the oldest surrogacy candidate there.
“I started to worry that no one would ask me because of my age.
“I can’t blame them – I probably would be a bit more of a risk. But I started to think it wasn’t going to be the fairytale story I had imagined.”
But at that first meeting she got chatting to a man named Gary, and the two hit it off.
Over the course of the next few meetings, he introduced Sue to his partner Andy, and Sue soon realised she had found the couple she wanted to help.
Sue told Surrogacy UK that she was willing to be a surrogate for them, and they put in a call to Gary on New Year’s Eve 2012 to say someone was willing to have their baby.
Sue said: “They knew straight away that it was me who had said ‘yes’. But the way it works, the original call has to be anonymous.
“There were lots of tears when we knew we were going to go ahead. The boys were happy they had found someone and I was delighted I was going to be a surrogate.”
Sue had three months of meetings with Gary and Andy, in which they became closer friends and made decisions about what would happen before, during, and after the pregnancy.
She agreed to invasive procedures in check-ups, and they decided they would stay in touch after the birth. Sue also said she would like her daughter to be her birthing partner.
Their first attempt to have an embryo implanted failed, and the disappointment led them to take a break for several months before implanting the final two embryos in August 2013.
Two weeks after the procedure, Sue felt the strong and familiar sense of heartburn and knew she was pregnant. But after informing a delighted Andy and Gary of the good news, they were shocked at the six week scan to find out she was carrying twins.
Sue said: “The heartbreak of the first attempt not working was horrible, but it was a fantastic moment when I got the heartburn.
“It was the same as my pregnancies in my teenage years and I just knew.
“Andy and Gary were over the moon when I told them.
“But finding out I was having twins was amazing. Gary got very emotional and Andy’s jaw dropped. I was ecstatic it had worked so well and really pleased they had two strong heartbeats.”
According to Sue, despite having twins, the pregnancy was the easiest of the three she has had. After the heartburn faded, she did not experience much morning sickness.
But she went into labour early at 33 weeks and five days.
The twins were delivered via C-section on 19 March 2014, Marnie weighing 3lb 12oz and Dexter 4lbs 4oz. They were taken to a special baby care unit where they stayed for three weeks.
When they were allowed to hold the twins, Gary and Andy insisted Sue be the first to pick them up, so that she could be the one to pass their children to them.
Since the birth, Sue has stayed very good friends with the couple and sees the twins on a regular basis, even going on holiday with them.
She said: “The whole experience has been fantastic. I’m so happy I did it.
“It’s lovely seeing the twins grow up and I can’t believe they are four already! The time has just flown by.
“My family has been nothing but supportive and now I have just an extended family. It feels wonderful.
“I would encourage any older women who think they are still healthy and want to be a surrogate to try.”