When Matthew Eledge and his partner Elliot Dougherty decided to have a baby, they didn’t have to look very far for a surrogate. Wanting to help the Omaha couple, Matthew’s 61-year-old mother, Cecile, offered to carry her future grandchild.
“I thought if I could do it, I would do it,” Cecile told BuzzFeed News, adding that “it was kind of a no-brainer.”
Using eggs donated by Elliot’s sister that had been fertilized with Matthew’s sperm, Cecile was implanted with an embryo—and got pregnant on the very first try. Matthew laughed that when his mom saw the second pink line, “she literally said, ‘Shut the fuck up.'”
And while Cecile isn’t the oldest woman to ever give birth (a 67-year-old Greek grandmother did it in 2016), her doctor, Dr. Carolyn Maud Doherty, warns that “it’s important for people to note that not every 60-year-old is in good enough health to be a surrogate. There are probably only a handful of people across the country who can do this.”
Despite the risks associated with later-in-life pregnancy, like a higher chance of blood clots or requiring a C-section, Cecile says hers was surprisingly simple. Admitting that she “had the same morning sickness, but it lasted longer” along with shortness of breath, she explained, “But I worked out, I walked, I was physically active. And actually, it was almost easier. Because I’m older, my diet’s been easier to control, and I didn’t have the responsibility of other children. Just this pregnancy.”
After seven and a half months, Uma Louise was born via vaginal birth on March 25. And both Matthew and Elliot know how lucky they are to not only have a healthy baby but also to have shared this experience with Cecile.
Matthew told BuzzFeed, “People didn’t understand at first, but once they do, they’re ridiculously supportive — they think it’s radical and amazing. They’re really inspired by my mom… We all did this together.”