A 61-year-old Nebraskan woman carried the daughter of her son and his husband to term, acting as the surrogate and giving birth to a baby girl.
Cecile Eledge said at that when she made the offer for her son Matthew Eledge (32), and his husband Elliot Dougherty (29), who wanted to start a family, the suggestion remained a joke for sometime.
“Of course, they all laughed,” Mrs Eledge told the BBC.
However, when Mr Eledge and Mr Dougherty began exploring the idea of beginning a family they were told by a fertility doctor that it could be a viable option.
“It just seemed like a really beautiful sentiment on her part,” Mr Dougherty said.
“She’s such a selfless woman”.
After Mrs Eledge was put through a series of fertility tests and interviews, the family was given the green light to surrogacy.
“There was no reason whatsoever to doubt that I could carry the baby,” she said.
Mr Dougherty’s sister served as the egg donor and Mr Eledge provided the sperm.
“When everyone got the full picture it was nothing but support,” said Mrs Eledge, who admits that the first response to her pregnancy was shock, particularly from her other two children.
However, the journey through IVF and the pregnancy exposed Nebraska’s attitude against LGBT families.
Even though gay marriage has been legal in the state since the landmark Supreme Court decision in 2015, Nebraska still does not have laws that protect the LGBT communities.
According to the BBC, it wasn’t up until 2017 that the state ban gay and lesbian foster parents.
Mrs Eledge also had to battle with her insurance company over health expenses that would have been normally covered if she were giving birth to her child. Which, she was later unsuccessful with.
Monday March 25, Baby Uma Louise Dougherty-Eledge was born without surgical intervention. Due to law designating the person, who delivers the baby as mother, Uma’s birth certificate lists Mrs Eledge alongside her son, and excludes Mr Dougherty.
“This is just one small, micro example of the things that create road blocks for us,” Mr Eledge said.
“I’m learning not to take it personally,” said Mr Eledge of the negative responses to him and his family.
“At the end of the day, we have a family, we have friends, we have a huge community that supports us.”
“This little girl is surrounded by so much support, she’s going to grow up in a loving family. This was how it was meant to be, said Mrs Eledge.