The City of London, Ontario, Canada - A woman became a surrogate mother for her infertile daughter, and will give birth to her own grandchild. Cathy Donnelly, 58, is six months pregnant, and will welcome her seventh grandchild into the world. After two years of trying, daughter Shannon Fischer and husband Jamie discovered they couldn’t conceive due to scarring in Shannon's uterus. So, Mrs Donnelly, mother of three and a grandmother of six, volunteered to be a surrogate mother for her daughter.
Mrs Fischer recalls: 'The day I came home from my surgery, mum said "I'll do it". She didn't hesitate.'
Mrs Donnelly, from London in Ontario, Canada, says: 'I felt bad for them - I just thought what’s nine months of my life? They are going to have a child for the rest of theirs. It's not like I'm busy doing anything.'
Michael Murray, specialist at the Fertility Medical Center, says, though there have been cases of mothers acting as surrogate for their daughters before, it is typically something the medical community does not advise.
He said: 'Usually, it’s a close friend or a sister that acts as the gestational carrier - women who are over 45-years-old are not normally in good enough health.
'Pregnancy for older women is much riskier. The most common complications are high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and premature child birth.'
But they were risks Mrs Donnelly was willing to accept, and, while she admits her pregnancy hasn’t been easy, she has had no complications so far.
'It was long process and involved a heavy dose of fertility drugs for both of us; but in the end, it all paid off.
'I was standing in line for a coffee when I got a call from my doctor confirming I was pregnant. I was just bawling - people must have thought someone close to me died. But it has been challenging. Now I make sure people aren’t staring or looking at me because they’re probably thinking ‘look at that old lady.'
Mrs Donnelly said she did question whether she was doing the right thing and if everything would work out okay until she started to feel the baby move. Now her only concerns are about how she will feel once she has given birth.
'I don't know if I'll feel like I've lost her, I don't know how I'm going to feel,' Mrs Donnelly confesses.
Her daughter Shannon plans to name her daughter Zoey Hope Catherine after her mother. And her the whole experience has made her cherish their mother-daughter relationship even more: 'It just changes your relationship 360 degrees. We were close before but it’s just on a whole new level. I want to be like she is to my own daughter, that caring and willing to do stuff for her.'