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California mom Jessica Allen was hired as a surrogate mother, undergoing an in-vitro fertilization procedure from San Diego-based Omega Family Global to bear a child on behalf of an unnamed Chinese couple. She was looking forward to the chance “to give a family the blessing of a child,” according to partner Wardell Jasper, and the $30,000 she’d earn was going to go towards buying a house, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
However, she soon realized she was having two babies. “As far as we were concerned, the transferred embryo had split in two and the twins were identical,” Allen said. “Not once during the pregnancy did any of the medical staff provided by the agency say that the babies were in separate sacs.”
It turns that that was important, as one of the babies was actually hers.
Allen experienced superfetation — an incredibly rare instance in which a pregnant mother continues ovulating and becomes pregnant again. It’s so rare that most OB/GYNs will never see a case, according to ABC. They also report that only about 10 cases of the condition even exist in medical documentation.
But Allen still didn’t know; she was operating under the assumption that she was bearing twins. Per her contract, she wasn’t allowed to see the children after she gave birth — just a picture.
Only when the Chinese couple received “their” children did they, too, wonder what was up. After a DNA test, it was confirmed that Allen gave birth to both the IVF child and one of her own.
But getting her own child back was a long and arduous process, involving $3,000 in legal fees. In fact, Omega Family Control even told them the Chinese couple had “relinquished” their baby and wanted $22,000 in “compensation.” (Allen did earn an extra $5000 for bearing ‘twins’ for the couple.) The agency almost put their son up for adoption, offering to effectively sell their child to another couple and use the adoption fees to knock down the $22,000 owed to the Chinese family.
After hiring a lawyer, the matter was resolved, however. Allen, Jasper and their new son were finally united in February of this year. Their son Malachi is now 10 months old.