A school nurse who missed out on five chances of having a baby finally fulfilled her dream of being a mum – when a teacher friend agreed to be her surrogate.
Katherine Bateson, 41, endured four years of anguish in a desperate attempt to have a baby with her PE teacher husband Alan, 39.
The couple conceived naturally but Katherine suffered a miscarriage before they underwent four failed rounds of IVF.
They then decided to have a surrogate and were thrilled when they were matched with a woman but were left heartbroken when she suddenly changed her mind.
Katherine’s dream of starting a family finally came true after she broke down in tears after learning about the surrogate pulling out.
She was being comforted by Lisa Williams, 42, who is also a PE teacher with Alan, who volunteered to be her surrogate.
Katherine’s eggs were fertilised using Alan’s sperm and the embryos implanted into Lisa’s womb last June.
The pregnancy was a success and Lisa gave birth to 7lbs 2oz baby Quinn on March 12 this year.
Katherine, from South East London, said: “We had done four rounds of IVF and fallen pregnant naturally once and that was a miscarriage and then from the four rounds of IVF we had another miscarriage and then one ectopic pregnancy.
“But I have an autoimmune disorder and we tried every drug going and then we had two embryos left and it was at that point that we did look at adoption but thought with two embryos left it was worth trying with a surrogate rather than with me again.
“We just didn’t know if it was something with my body that wasn’t working properly.
“And my mental health was struggling so we decided I couldn’t do IVF anymore.
“I just found it so hard and quite traumatising the whole process and everything that comes with it.
“It’s like one moment you’re really excited and doing the egg transfer and the anticipation of the two-week wait and then to get the news you’re pregnant and something goes wrong it is physically and mentally draining.”
The couple had initially been matched with another surrogate in 2018 but were devastated when she pulled out.
Katherine said: “We were really nervous about the whole surrogacy route as obviously it’s not that well known about and often you have to sort of navigate it all yourself and find out about all the information yourselves.
“I know it’s a lot you’re asking of someone to do but it was just awful and devastating and to think we might have to wait another six or 12 months it was just like our life was on hold.
“I was actually in my office when I got the call and Lisa had just walked in and I told her what had happened and was just crying.
“She then took me out for dinner and offered to become our surrogate and it just went from there.
“Throughout the whole pregnancy we had a group chat together with our husbands and we would text and get over the first seven weeks then the first months and then when
he was viable we started to allow ourselves to get excited.
“It was just so nice to see the chat relaxing as the pregnancy went on.
“For me, during the labour, it was like I was the man and I was there being a spare part as I couldn’t really do anything and I did find it hard watching a friend go through that and had that sense of guilt and that we had asked too much.”
The couple live nearby to Lisa and her husband Richard, 47, an accountant, and their three children Grace, 12, Oliver, 15 and Zac, nine.
Lisa, who had her first child through IVF, said: “That was one of the linking factors to the whole story as we had gone through struggles ourselves.
“But I have worked with Katherine’s husband for the last five years so I met her through him and we just struck up a friendship and got on really well and I guess that’s when she opened up about their struggles.
“I just remember her being absolutely devastated even more so it was like her whole world had collapsed when they phoned and told her the surrogate had fallen through – it was just horrible.
“So that’s when I said I could do it and went and spoke to my partner who thought it was a great idea.
“People keep saying it’s such a lovely thing to do and I’m amazing but I don’t quite grasp it.
“I think I know I have done a really nice thing but don’t think I deserve all the heroics.
“I just keep saying to everybody I’m the incubator and the oven.
“There was never any feelings of I’m giving up my child because he wasn’t my blood or any genetic connection.”
The couple were helped through their journey by surrogacy agency Nappy Endings.
The company was founded by Rachel Westbury who had four surrogate babies for childless couples.
She said: “It’s not always been the easiest journey for them all however they have an amazing relationship together and it’s been a privilege being a part of their journey.”
To find out more about surrogacy, visit www.nappyendings.com