/assets/images/headerlogos/T5-logo.svg
Real Life

Real life: “Mum gave birth to my son”

She gave me the ultimate gift.

By Candice Habershon

Claudia Luca, 30, shares her true life story:

My boyfriend Sonny, took my hand as we strolled round the park.
He was chatting happily, but my mind was racing as I tried to formulate my words.
How the hell do I tell him I can't have children?
Related video: Kim Kardashian's surrogacy Twitter rant
"We'll have a big Italian family, cute little girls who look like you and cheeky baby boys who take after their dad," he said, grinning.
We weren't even engaged yet, but we'd been dating for a while and things were getting serious.
I had to tell him before he proposed.
Taking a deep breath, I blurted it out.
"Look, Sonny, I have a condition," I started, turning to face him.
He looked worried.
"It means I can't have children," I said, feeling myself tear up. "I was born without a uterus."
I couldn't bear to look at his reaction, but I felt comforting arms around me.
I explained how I had Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser syndrome a rare condition that stops a woman's reproductive organs from developing properly.
Before I hit puberty, my parents explained that I'd never get my period.
Only my family knew my secret.
"When it comes to it, I'll help you have a baby," my younger sister Tania had promised aged 14.
But it was only when I left school and went to see my gynaecologist Dr Kim Matthews that the long-term implications really dawned on me.
Me and Mum.
"Without a uterus, you can't carry a baby," she said gently. "There's nowhere for one to grow."
No-one was sure if my ovaries worked either.
"When you're thinking of having a child, come back to me," she said.
I loved children so went into childcare, but as the years went by I looked at the kids I cared for with longing.
The problem meant I always put up my guard up around boys.
That was until I met Sonny at a friend's party.
There was something about his warm brown eyes and kind smile that made me feel safe and special.
We were soon in love, and now the time had come to tell him my secret.
I felt terrible I hadn't told him before.
"It doesn't matter if we can't have kids together, Bubs.
I want to be with you for you," he said.
Two years later, we were married and shortly afterwards we went together to Dr Matthew's office to discuss our options.
She ran several tests on me and my mum came with me to get the results.
"Your ovaries are fully functioning and healthy," the doctor beamed. "You are certainly producing eggs OK."
Mum and I hugged and cried.
It was such a relief.
But there was still a major hurdle to overcome: I had to find someone to carry my child.
At the 12 week scan
But it was only when I left school and went to see my gynaecologist Dr Kim Matthews that the long-term implications really dawned on me.
"Without a uterus, you can't carry a baby," she said gently. "There's nowhere for one to grow."
No-one was sure if my ovaries worked either.
"When you're thinking of having a child, come back to me," she said.
I loved children so went into childcare, but as the years went by I looked at the kids I cared for with longing.
The problem meant I always put up my guard up around boys.
That was until I met Sonny at a friend's party.
There was something about his warm brown eyes and kind smile that made me feel safe and special.
We were soon in love, and now the time had come to tell him my secret.
I felt terrible I hadn't told him before.
"It doesn't matter if we can't have kids together, Bubs.
I want to be with you for you," he said.
Two years later, we were married and shortly afterwards we went together to Dr Matthew's office to discuss our options.
She ran several tests on me and my mum came with me to get the results.
"Your ovaries are fully functioning and healthy," the doctor beamed. "You are certainly producing eggs OK."
Mum and I hugged and cried.
It was such a relief.
But there was still a major hurdle to overcome: I had to find someone to carry my child.
Paying for a surrogate is illegal in NSW.
I had to find someone who would do it for free.
They had to have had previous pregnancies, be over 25, have no pre-existing medical conditions and have completed their family.
By now, my sister Tania had had a child, but she had developed Type 1 diabetes as an adult.
Carrying her own children was dangerous enough so surrogacy was out of the question.
All of Sonny and my friends were only just beginning their families.
One evening when we were discussing who we could ask, Mum and my dad, Joseph, popped by.
"We've got something to say," Dad said.
Was one of them ill?
"I'll do it," Mum interjected suddenly. "I'll carry your child."
I stared at her in disbelief.
"But...aren't you too old?" I said.
She was already 52.
"I tick all the boxes. It won't hurt to ask," she replied.
"From the moment the doctors told us of your condition when you were a baby, we vowed you'd have everything you wanted in your life. We know how much having your own child means to you."
Me, Mum and Sonny getting ready for the delivery.
We all hugged each other and cried.
We told Dr Matthews and Mum passed all the tests with flying colours.
Over the next few months, Mum, Sonny and I underwent IVF.
Sonny provided the sperm, I provided the eggs and Mum provided the uterus.
The first three rounds didn't work.
I felt crushed.
Then 10 days after our fourth try, I was at work when Dr Matthews called.
"Are you sitting down?" she asked.
"Do I need to be?" I replied.
"You're having a baby!" she said.
I raced out and drove off to Sonny to tell him in person.
"We're going to be parents," I screamed happily.
He told his colleagues his mum-in-law was pregnant with his child and we all roared with laughter.
Mum was a trooper and took the nausea and fatigue in her stride.
We were all thrilled to finally meet Luciana.
The doctors checked her regularly and I came along to every appointment.
Mum was amazing.
She called every time the baby kicked and told me to come over.
For the first scan, Mum, Dad, Sonny and I were all there.
Seeing our little baby on the screen was emotional for all of us.
And it was the same during the delivery.
We all went along when Mum was induced at 38 weeks and all four of us were there as she delivered our baby boy naturally.
Sonny and I cut the umbilical cord and were given skin to skin.
A nurse brought me a bottle and I gave our son, Luciano, his first feed.
Tears streamed down my face as I locked eyes with my much longed-for child.
"You're doing good," Mum encouraged in the background, watching me.
She looked exhausted.
"Thank you," I whispered. "For everything."
"Seeing you with him is all the thanks I need," she smiled.
We left hospital three days later and Mum was back to her old self within weeks.
Mum and Luciano now share a special bond.
Sonny and I would love to have more children one day and Mum has said she'd be our surrogate carrier again but it would be up to the medical team to decide.
If it doesn't happen though, we are content with our beautiful son and forever grateful to my mum, who we call our angel in disguise.
Thanks to Mum and Dad's idea, we have everything we've ever wanted.

read more from

/assets/images/headerlogos/T5-logo.svg