Woman gains miracle baby and best friend thanks to selfless surrogate
A woman has gained a miracle baby thanks to a selfless surrogate who has since become her best friend.
Leyla Hutchings, 38, from South West London, was diagnosed with Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome 10 years ago – a serious life limiting genetic condition that can cause arteries or organs to rupture suddenly.
Leyla had her dreams of starting a family shattered after being told the risk of carrying a baby could kill her and her unborn child.
Devastated, Leyla and her husband, Richard, 38, underwent IVF to harvest her eggs in the hope of finding a surrogate to host their embryo.
After three years of unsuccessful treatment, the couple were about to give up on their dream until Rachael Coleman, 29, contacted them through Surrogacy UK wanting to help.
Leyla and Rachael instantly bonded and from their first meeting, baby or no baby, knew they would be friends for life.
Incredibly Rachael soon fell pregnant and nine months later gave birth to baby Zeki, now one.
Leyla and Richard can’t thank Rachael enough for her selfless act, not only do they have a new best friend but they have a baby – and now the couple are in the process of creating embryos to have a second child with Rachael.
Leyla, a lawyer, said: “When doctors told me I wouldn’t be able to carry my own child I was devastated.
“After a lot of soul-searching, Richard and I decided surrogacy was the best option for us. But after three years of unsuccessful treatment, we were nearly ready to give up.
“When we heard Rachael wanted to meet us we felt a new sense of hope. We bonded instantly and I knew we would be friends for life.
“Receiving the news that Rachael was pregnant was amazing, we were extremely close throughout the pregnancy and Rachael would send me videos of our baby kicking when I wasn’t around.
“We still talk every day now, she’s like a sister to me, and what’s amazing is that Zeki adores Rachael’s children – they treat each other like cousins and have a really close bond.
“She is now helping complete our family and we are currently trying for our second child with her.
“Rachael is the most amazing person I have ever met, she has created a family for me and Richard and we will be forever grateful to her and her wonderful family.”
At the age of 28 Leyla was diagnosed with Vascular EDS – a rare and serious condition that can cause blood vessels and internal organs to rupture and lead to life-threatening bleeding if a large amount of strain is applied to the connective tissue.
Due to her condition, Doctors advised Leyla that pregnancy could cause serious harm to her and her baby’s life – as it could’ve caused her womb to rupture.
She added: “I was heartbroken, Richard and I knew we always wanted children so to hear that having a child could kill me was terrifying.
“But at that point in our lives we weren’t ready to start our family just yet.
“Because of this we pretended it wasn’t happening, the thought of not being able to carry my own child was not something I wanted to think about.
“But a few years later we decided we were ready to start our family and were then faced with the daunting realisation that it wasn’t going to be easy.
“I saw an article in a magazine for Surrogacy UK so decided to find out more as we had never considered this option before.
“We loved their ‘surrogacy through friendship’ ethos and decided this was the best option for us.”
Leyla and Richard met with a surrogate and began IVF treatment to harvest her eggs.
But after a devastating three years of unsuccessful attempts Leyla was convinced she would never be able to have her own biological child.
The couple went back on the waiting list and surprisingly six days later they received a message from Rachael who wanted to meet them.
Leyla said: “From the day I met Rachael we instantly bonded. Her husband, James, 32, and three children, Daisy, Jack and Max were all amazing and so supportive.
“We called ourselves ‘Team Fairytale’ and, during the first three months of getting to know each other, our families grew really close.
“We started process and it didn’t take long to receive the most amazing news that Rachael was pregnant – we couldn’t believe it.
“Throughout the pregnancy Rachael would send me videos of our baby kicking and, on New Year’s Eve Rachael sent me a video of the baby’s heartbeat which was so special.
“On the May 10 2014 Rachael went into labour and our beautiful baby Zeki was born.
“Holding Zeki for the first time was something I will never forget, and seeing Rachael and James hold him was so special.
“We knew how lucky we were to have him and couldn’t thank Rachael and James enough for what they had done for us.”
Last year Rachel told the couple that she wanted to help complete their family.
Leyla and Richard are currently in the process of creating embryos in the hope of having their second child with Rachael.
She added: “The whole journey has been the hardest thing I have ever been through, but it has all been worth it.
“Not only have I gained a child but I have gained a best friend through the process.”
Kate Dobb, Surrogacy UK Media Coordinator said: “Surrogacy is an incredible gift for couples unable to carry a baby themselves and we are delighted Leyla and Richard now have their adorable son Zeki.
“The couple’s strong friendship with their surrogate Rachael is testament to our “friendship first” ethos.”
For more information please visit: www.surrogacyuk.org