A WOMAN who was born without a womb was told by doctors she would never be able to have children – but she’s just welcomed a son via a surrogate.
Kitty Cunningham was just 16 when she was given the devastating news by doctors, after going in for tests to find out why she hadn’t started her periods yet.
She was diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome (known as MRKH), which sees the internal vagina or uterus underdeveloped – or absent entirely.
The 32-year-old said: “It's a very adult thing to be worrying about at that age.
"I was 16 and still hadn't started my period so doctors did a bit more investigating and they told me I didn't have a womb.
"Obviously it was a shock and it was confusing and scary.
"It's probably the worst time to find something out like that when you are a teenager and you're dealing with lots of hormones anyway.
"You are made to think about what it might be like not to have a family when that should be the last thing on your mind and you shouldn't be worrying about it quite yet.
"You just sort of have to accept it, but you don't think about the intimate details of how it all works, you just don't look too much into it. I just parked it."
Kitty always knew she’d have to use a surrogate to get pregnant, but confessed she wasn’t entirely sure of the process, and feared she’d never have a child of her own.
The now mum-of-one, who’s married to sales director James, 31, said: "My husband said when he was 20 he would rather have me with no babies than babies with someone else.
"When we were getting married people were obsessed with saying that classic thing of 'ooh when are you going to have babies?' which was an awkward and upsetting conversation for me to have at the time.
"We got used to saying 'I don't have a womb and we'll need to use a surrogate' but it was always said quite emptily.
"It was a thing you could say to people so it sounded like you had a plan – but we didn't really have a plan."
The couple decided to look into the process properly in 2018 after extensive research, and attended an event by Surrogacy UK, which helps prospective parents and surrogates connect, and it’s there they met Jemma Black, 34.
The full-time mum was currently 14 weeks pregnant with her first surrogate child, but the trio hit it off and kept bumping into each other at various surrogacy events.
Kitty admitted she was fraught with worry, saying: “You do think: 'Why would somebody want to help us? Are we sad enough for someone to want to help us? Is there going to be a connection?'
"The process that we needed to go through and how that might feel became the major worry.
"Even for me – who had been told at the age of 16 about surrogacy – I couldn't really tell you how it was going to work.”
But after a “natural friendship blossomed”, Jemma told the couple she was willing to carry their baby.
She said: “I met Kitty and James when I was about 15 weeks and I left that social thinking, what an amazing couple, whoever is going to get to make them parents is going to be really lucky.
"They were on my mind a lot and I thought they would be such an awesome couple to be in a team with.
"I bumped into them at lots of socials and we just became really good friends and I think it was when I got to around 35 weeks pregnant that I thought: 'Oh gosh, I could really help them.'
"There is no doubt about it, it was them that made me want to help them so quickly because we had that natural connection – it made it really genuine."
Kitty added: "Nobody had the intention from either side when we first got chatting, and that's what's nice about it. When she did offer, we were already friends.
"When we got the call, I probably, for the first time ever, felt hopeful. I'd never felt too hopeful before that it would happen.”
Kitty’s embryo was fertilised with James’ sperm, and six days after being implanted in Jemma, she got a positive pregnancy test.
Kitty exclaimed: "I just actually couldn't believe it.
"My husband was in absolute shock, I cried my eyes out and he just sat there and said: 'I think I'm going to faint.' There was just so much joy and so much happiness.
"I was just really happy and really ready."
The pair supported Jemma throughout her pregnancy – including during her cravings for jalapenos – and they saw her everyday apart from lockdown.
Kitty said: "Jemma suffered quite badly from morning sickness so we would go down on weekends and take her children out and go to the park or go for Sunday lunch.
"Other than the 20-week scan we have been to everything.
"We have seen Jemma and her family every couple of weeks, except during the middle of lockdown.
"But then I sent her a text every day – just like you would with any friend but she's got your baby inside her as well.
"We were there every step of the way, Jemma never had to make any decisions about him without us being there.”
As the due date approached, Jemma decided to have a water birth at her home, in Birmingham, but was warned that as she was having a big baby, there could be complications.
But the pair pressed on with the plan, and Kitty delivered her son herself while sitting next to Jemma in the birthing pool.
The new mum said: “I was quite nervous because the consultant at the hospital said Jasper had been measuring quite big on the growth scan, and recommended a c-section for Jemma.
"They said if a shoulder gets stuck and you're at home we would have eight minutes to get to a hospital or he could be stillborn.
"We had to really trust Jemma that she had birthed big babies before and she knew what she was doing.
"I was quite anxious in the lead up because you're completely trusting this other person with the most precious thing in your world.
"All I could think about was I'm about to become a mum but there was a hope at the end of it.
"It was actually all perfect and it was the most textbook calm birth that's ever happened and it was amazing. I'm so pleased that we listened and trusted Jemma.
"I think that shows what a good team we are and how good our relationship is that we could trust her to do the right thing for Jasper and herself.”
Baby Jasper was born on October 4, weighing a mighty 9lbs, with both Kitty and Jasper there for the whole thing – although Jemma needed to invest in black towels and a dressing gown as the dad-to-be was so “squeamish”.
Now a month old, Kitty says she can scarcely believe she’s a mum.
She said: “I was in shock for the first 24 hours, we knew he was real, we had seen Jemma every two-and-a-half weeks – he was always real but to actually have a little baby is amazing.
"He looks exactly like me too – I wasn't ready for that.
"You can't prepare for that feeling when you've wanted for something for so long and it's actually there – he's a little diamond.
"James said he wasn't ready for how much I was going to love him – I think he'd resigned himself to the fact we'd give surrogacy a go but we never thought it would actually be successful.
"He's taken away 16 years of worry in six hours of labour – all the anguish, worry and negative feelings are just gone now and Jemma's been responsible for making it happen.
"It's just lovely, it's everything I thought it would be and more.
"Being a little family unit now, it's amazing that we've got this physical thing – half me and half James – when there was a time that we didn't think it would be possible.”
Jemma said the trio still chat regularly and they’re still “best friends”, as she explained why she’s a surrogate.
She said: “The birth was also so perfect. It was so relaxed and calm.
“I love being pregnant, I do pregnancy really well, I find it quite easy and I love giving birth so for me for nine months of my life to change somebody else's, that's what I do it for.
"Sometimes you meet people and they are just meant to be in your life.
"Now, even though Jasper is a month old we still talk all day long. My high will never go and that's what makes it addictive and we really are best friends."
And a woman with TWO wombs welcomes ‘miracle baby’ after being told she’d struggle to become a mum.
Plus this woman reveals she too was born without a womb, and says it 'tore her apart'.
Meanwhile this mum shared her agony at losing two of her babies in the womb, but having to carry them to save her sister.
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