Portsmouth couple's joy over surrogacy success
A couple conned out of hundreds of pounds as they tried to find a surrogate mother have finally become parents.
Tracy and Pete Akoun had also suffered multiple miscarriages as they tried to conceive a baby.
But now they are celebrating after two daughters arrived within a month of each other, from two different surrogate mothers.
The couple, from Portsmouth, had found the women via social media.
It comes after 47-year-old Mrs Akoun suffered a miscarriage following accidentally falling pregnant not long after meeting her husband.
After several more miscarriages, the couple assessed other options, including surrogacy.
But after creating a profile on a surrogacy website they were duped out of £400 by a woman who conned them into starting the procedure.
Undeterred, Mr and Mrs Akoun joined a Facebook group, through which they found two women, with partners and children of their own.
Mother-of-five Tricia Hunt, 36, and Kate Fruin-Smith, 37, who also has five of her own children, were paid a monthly fee by the couple after becoming pregnant.
Mrs Akoun, an assistant manager in a care home, said they were "ecstatic" after the couple were able to have the "twins" they never had.
Their daughters, Nyobi and Kenya were born within a month of each other in June and July last year.
Mrs Akoun, who has an 18-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, said they keep in touch with the surrogate mothers.
"The relationship is like family and we're still in touch. I don't have any jealousy or insecurity when they're here," she said.
"To both girls, I am their mum."
Mrs Hunt and Ms Fruin-Smith, who live in different parts of the UK, both decided to become surrogate mothers as a way of "giving back".
The women had used donor sperm to become pregnant in their separate same-sex relationships and felt they could help other women trying to start a family.
Ms Fruin-Smith said: "We decided that if we were going to accept help, we could help others. It's so rewarding to know you can make that much difference in somebody's life."