New Delhi: When Jessica Allen decided to sign up for surrogacy after consulting her partner Wardell Jasper, little did the couple know that they would be giving away their own bilogical child as well.
In an extremely rare case of superfetation, Allen became pregnant while she was already pregnant. As strange as it sounds, it is scientifically possible.
Superfetation is the occurrence of a second conception during pregnancy, giving rise to embryos of different ages in the uterus.
It is a condition very rarely seen in humans, only 10 or so cases of this kind have been reported in the medical literature so far.
Allen and Jasper needed the money to save for a house, so she had agreed to become a surrogate mother.
After Jessica was matched with a Chinese couple by the agency she signed up with, she became pregnant with their baby in April 2016 through IVF.
Six weeks into her pregnancy, her scans showed another baby residing in her womb.
Allen, who was already a mother of two children at the time, was extremely surprised, however, “…Not once during the pregnancy did any of the medical staff provided by the agency say that the babies were in separate sacs. As far as we were concerned, the transferred embryo had split in two and the twins were identical,” she told the New York Post.
Jessica gave birth last December and according to her contract, didn’t get to meet or see the babies after the delivery. But, she was shown a photograph of the babies captured by a cellphone to which her initial reaction was that the ‘twins’ didn’t look alike.
“One was lighter than the other,” Allen told The Washington Post. “Their faces were not identical.”
Still, she hadn’t gotten a full glimpse of the front of their faces – and besides, newborn babies change quickly, she reasoned.
“I did notice that one was much lighter than the other. You know, obviously, they were not identical twins,” Allen revealed.
On January 10, nearly a month after the babies were born, Allen said she received another picture of the twins from the intended mother who was concerned about their different appearances.
After a brief discussion, a DNA test was carried out and one of the babies matched the Chinese couple genetically, while the other one matched Allen and her partner.
One of the babies was Allen and Jasper’s biological child.
Allen and Jasper got their child named Malachi almost after the baby turned three-months-old. The couple had to fight a legal battle with the agency which had arranged this surrogacy. The agency was claiming fees for giving their baby to them.
“The [reunion] was incredibly emotional, and I started hugging and kissing my boy,” Allen wrote in a column for New York Post. “[We] weren’t planning to expand our family so soon, but we treasure Malachi with all our hearts.”