She was supposed to act as a surrogate for her mother. But then she decided to keep the baby.

Leanne Stanford and mother Judith Roberts

It was meant to be a pact between mother and daughter.

A deal which would bring happiness to all.

A daughter acting as surrogate for her parents – using her stepfather’s sperm inserted by a syringe used for baby medicine.

But it has ended in a family split in two.

When Leanne Stanford’s mother Judith Roberts, now aged 50, lost her baby at 22 weeks she was heartbroken. She had a history of premature births and being in her late 40s had tried IVF. She gloriously fell pregnant but lost the little boy.

The whole family was devastated.

Leanne and her mother Judith sat in the car park at the little boy’s funeral and made a pact. Leanne would act as a surrogate for her mother and stepfather Mark.

Leanne from North Eastern England told The Daily Mail, “I said to her: ‘If you want to try again I’ll help you, I’d be a surrogate for you if you wanted me to. It was a spur of the moment offer made at a time of high emotion. But I meant it, I really wanted to help them.”

Leanne, aged 26, already had a four-year-old son and felt she could give this gift to her mother.

The surrogacy was performed in the family home. Leanne impregnated herself with Mark’s sperm using a syringe usually used for baby medicine.

The Daily Mail reports:

At her mother’s home, Leanne waited downstairs while Judith and Mark went to the bedroom to perform a sexual act before Judith emerged with the sperm-filled syringe and delivered it to her daughter. The bizarre surrogacy ritual was carried out five times at the point in Leanne’s cycle when she was most fertile and she fell pregnant at the first attempt, causing joy to Judith and Mark who had recently lost a longed-for baby to miscarriage.

Leanne found out the baby was a girl and began to feel maternal longings.

Leanne told The Mirror that she found out she was pregnant on Mother’s Day. “I put the pregnancy test in a gift box along with her card and handed it to her when she came up to the caravan that day. There were tears all round. It was a very nice, emotional moment.”

Together mother and daughter began to prepare for the baby’s arrival – shopping for clothes, building a nursery for the new life growing within her. But Leanne soon found out she was experiencing feelings she didn’t expect.

At a scan she found out the baby was a girl.


“The scan was very detailed and the baby suddenly became very real to me.”

“When we were told it was a little girl, I felt the first pull of maternal love and at that point a tiny doubt began to creep in, but I pushed it aside”

As the pregnancy developed, so did Leanne’s feeling for her unborn daughter. She decided she could not part with the baby when she was born.

“The bond with my baby was stronger than the bond with my mum” she said.

The Mirror reports that Leanne went to see a solicitor who drafted a letter to her mother Judith explaining that her daughter had changed her mind about the surrogacy agreement – which was never legally formalised – and would be keeping the baby.

Naturally Leanne’s mother, Judith, was devastated.

She told The Mirror, “Leanne only thinks about herself. She wanted a baby but didn’t want a man and now she has her wish. She went back on her word and it has ripped this family apart.”

Leanne’s daughter – fathered by her stepfather — was born on November 15, 2012. At first, Mark and Judith visited the baby but the heartbreak over losing her was too much and they now no longer speak to Leanne.

Leanne Stanford and daughter Mollie, now aged 18 months.

The Daily Mail reports that Leanne has, however, come forward to claim child custody payments from her mother and stepfather.

A vicious war of words has broken out with Judith posting on Facebook, “Watch out, lads, Leanne Stanford is feeling broody – you’ll end up paying for the baby mind.”

Leanne told The Daily Mail, “In the end, I have my daughter’s best interests at heart and I have to make sure she is being properly looked after. This has caused a split between me and my mum that can never be healed now but every time I look at my beautiful little girl and feel that surge of love for her I know I made the right decision.”