Pregnancy taxes a woman’s body, so you really have to wonder about the motivation behind Jill Hawkins’ desire to keep signing up for surrogate duty.
Hawkins, 47, is pregnant with her ninth and tenth surrogate babies, twins she’s expected to deliver shortly before she turns 48. The British resident is that country’s most prolific surrogate. What’s just as notable is that the legal secretary is single and has no children of her own. ‘I’m a naturally giving person and to be able to give babies away is what I do,” she told the Daily Mail.
Beyond that questionable statement, it’s pretty clear that Hawkins could benefit from some psychological assessment. She spent much of her previous pregnancy on sick leave, plagued by nausea and headaches. The headaches — which she describes as a “permanent pain” in her head — have returned, but she doesn’t take medication out of concern for the developing babies in her womb. She has also been diagnosed with depression and attempted suicide at least once.
No doubt, the many couples Hawkins has helped are extremely grateful for her sacrifices. Yet something feels awry here. According to the Daily Mail, Hawkins carefully considers whether each additional pregnancy is a good idea. After all, it can be really hard to nurture a baby — make that 10 — then give her away. But Hawkins appears to have suppressed her emotions:
“I never want to keep them. I am not maternal and very selfish. Not many woman can give babies away. It’s very emotional giving birth.
“The one thing you are screaming to do is to hold that baby. It is an overwhelming feeling and you have to be strong to counter that.
“People think I’m mad, but my friends are not surprised any more.”
In the U.S., different states have different laws governing surrogacy. In some states, the person who delivers the baby is considered the mother and the baby must officially be adopted by the intended mother, even if it’s actually her biological child conceived with her egg.
Samantha Pfeifer, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania and chair of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s committee on practice guidelines, says surrogates can birth as many babies as they’d like.
“There is no limit to the number of babies a woman can have on her own but it does put a lot of wear and tear on a woman’s body,” says Pfeifer. “At some point, you think, Is this medically advisable?”
Women in their 40s, for example, are more likely to experience complications including preeclampsia or postpartum hemorrhage.
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