Health

A mum, a dad, an egg donor and a surrogate equals baby

They live at opposite ends of the country and have no family ties, but four people have got together to make a baby.

Image caption The Horners with donor Cathy Sidaway

After having breast cancer three times, Claire Horner was told not to try for any more children in case her cancer returned.

Desperate for a brother or sister for her son Jack, Claire turned to her husband, Dennis for his sperm, an egg donor and a woman who agreed to be a surrogate mother in order to fulfil her dream.

'Missing Link'

Claire and Dennis Horner first started the process of having another baby in 2007 when Cheryl Richards agreed to be their surrogate. They travelled to a fertility clinic in Cyprus but were unsuccessful.

Claire told BBC Radio 5 live's Victoria Derbyshire: "The missing link wasn't our surrogate, it was our egg donor."

The egg donor appeared in the form of Cathy Sidaway who Claire met at health conference raising awareness for more egg donors to come forward.

Cathy had no doubts about helping the couple out. She said: "I've got friends and family who have suffered with infertility and seen the hurt and frustration of not being able to help them."

Trust

For Claire it is important to be part of the process. "Our wonderful surrogate Cheryl gives me an opportunity to enjoy the pregnancy even though the baby is in her tummy."

She added: "It's not like in America where it tends to be a business relationship. It's a relationship based on friendship and trust."

And she said this trust was important because when her baby is born in October it will be surrogate Cheryl and her husband Nick whose names will be on the birth certificate. When the baby is six-weeks-old Claire will have to go through the courts to adopt it.

Emotion

Claire's husband Dennis explained it is not an easy process for any of them to go through.

He told Victoria 'There's a lot of emotion and a lot of false hope. There are a lot of people. It's not a case of mixing it up in a petri dish and there you go."

The two surrogates were not paid. Claire said: "The best way we can re-pay them is treating them with respect. They have made it seem like a really natural process."

Victoria Derbyshire can be heard on BBC Radio 5 live from 1000-1200 every weekday.

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