All Barbara and David wanted was a baby to treasure and love. Instead they found themselves in the middle of a nightmare when the surrogate they found to act as an egg donor and surrogate for them decided to keep the child.
Barbara thought they had done everything right, driving to meet 22-year-old surrogate Jamie and her husband Steven at a local steakhouse. They asked all the right questions.
“I asked him straight out how he felt about his wife carrying another couple’s baby,” Barbara told People magazine. “I asked him really personal questions.”
Both couple left feeling good about the arrangement, or so Barbara and David thought, even signing a 38-page surrogacy contract.
They believed Jamie and Steven were happily married and understood they weren’t ready to have children of their own, opting instead to save to buy their first home. Using Jamie’s egg and David’s sperm a child was conceived.
Jamie rang Barbara on Mother’s Day to share the good news. She said, “Barb, I’m pregnant. The test came back. I love you so much. This is great. We’re going to have a great journey.”
Soon after that joyous moment, Barbara says Jamie started acting strangely, evasive, saying she could only talk late at night. Barbara met up with Jamie at the 12-week ultrasound and was told that she and her husband had split up. Barbara says she was shocked.
“She came to my area for the ultrasound and when she got there she said she and her husband had separated,” Barbara told People.
“I asked her why and if it was because of the pregnancy. She said, ‘No, we were having problems long before then,” Barbara remembers.
“When we first met them, she said they were a happily married couple. Then all of a sudden she drops that bomb on me.”
By the time Jamie was three-months-pregnant the phone calls to Barbara and David stopped.
The devastated couple sought legal advice. They were told to fulfill their side of the arrangement so that if the matter ever went to court it could be shown that they weren’t the ones to break the contract. They had already paid Jamie over $20,000 AUD however continued to pay for all of her medical expenses and even sent her pre-natal vitamins.
When the child was born, Jamie didn’t even bother letting them know.
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Since then it has been an endless nightmare for the couple. Jamie gave birth to a girl, Kaylee Grace, and refused to hand her over. Barbara and David took her to court but the best they could do was have David legally recognised as Kaylee’s father so they could gain visitation rights.
They had shared custody of Kaylee at first however that ended when the little girl started school and now it’s been six-months since they have seen her. David pays monthly child support however they continue to fight for full custody, as per the surrogacy arrangement.
Barbara was gutted when a judge refused to enforce a therapists recommendation that Kaylee Grace live with Barbara and David, with a judge telling the couple that the contract can’t be enforced because “you can’t make a contract on a human life”. They have spent approximately $140,000 in legal fees trying to gain custody of their daughter however now feel they are out of options.
“I’ve had to watch when that baby came into our life and watch her older sister cry when she had to leave,” Barbara told People. “I’ve watched this emotionally destroy everyone.”
She says she and David will never give up hope that Kaylee Grace will one day live with them.