In recent years, more and more celebrities have opened up about their experience of becoming parents via surrogacy. From Paris Hilton to Priyanka Chopra to Kim Kardashian, the topic of surrogacy has become less taboo thanks to celebs who have spoken honestly about their parenthood journey.
And Georgia Mears is one person who knows about the realities of surrogacy after she became a surrogate herself. The 28 year old was a mum-of-two at the time when she decided to help a stranger become a mother. Here, she tells OK! her story…
“Looking at my swollen belly at my 20-week scan, a rush of happiness spread through me as the sonographer whispered, “It’s a boy!”
As soon as I got dressed, I hid the piece of paper confirming the gender in my bag.
Gemma – the mother of the child I was carrying – was planning a gender reveal party to announce her news. A year earlier, she’d been a stranger. Now, I was doing one of the most incredible things in the world for her.
After having my own children – Charlie, now six, and Ivy, three – I felt passionate about helping another woman bring a child into the world.
It was never about the money for me. With surrogacy in the UK, you don’t get paid but you can claim expenses for things such as fuel, loss of wages and childcare costs. The time just felt right.
“Go ahead,” my partner of eight years, Alex, laughed when I told him my plan in June 2020. He assumed it was another of my crazy ideas. But I was serious.
Others weren’t so supportive at first. “What about your own kids?” people asked. “Will they understand why you’re coming home from hospital without a baby?” Even Alex began having doubts, worrying how I’d cope with handing over a baby that had grown inside me. I promised him I knew exactly what I was signing up for and he supported my decision.
Hysterectomy after cancer
While the children were asleep, I spent my evenings searching the internet for the right “intended” parents. After joining some Facebook groups, I spotted Gemma, a friend of a friend, who lived in Essex.
“Hey, we’ve got mutual friends, how random!” I typed. We spent the next 30 minutes chatting and joking. We clicked.
Gemma had been diagnosed with cervical cancer in December 2019. She’d had a hysterectomy, so she couldn’t carry more children, but still had her eggs. She and husband Neil were desperate to give their seven-year-old daughter Isabelle a sibling.
We started speaking at the beginning of July and after a month of messaging and numerous long phone calls, they spent the weekend in South Wales in August and we all met up for the first time.
We got on great and a month later started attending a fertility clinic in Essex. All four of us had to have counselling, plus I had to speak to a solicitor and obtain a legal letter confirming I understood what it meant to be a surrogate. Gemma’s egg retrieval procedure took
place in November 2020. After being fertilised with Neil’s sperm, five eggs were retrieved. Three made it to the freezer, where they were kept for three months to ensure there was no abnormal growth that could have had impacted my health.
Then, on 16 March 2021, I had the transfer. It was invasive and intimate, and made me very emotional. I felt scared.
I’d slept at Gemma’s house the previous night so we could attend the clinic together but on the drive back to Wales, I was sobbing. Everything had started to feel very real and I felt an immense pressure for it to be successful for Gemma and Neil.
In April 2021, when the four of us were together, I took a test. The transfer was a success. We were five weeks pregnant. Gemma and Neil were over the moon.
“Mummy’s got another mummy’s baby in her belly,” I explained to Charlie.
Ivy was too young to grasp this, but Charlie understood the baby was only in my tummy because Gemma wasn’t able to have it in hers. He knew the baby wouldn’t be his or Ivy’s sibling and Gemma and Neil were the mum and dad. He was absolutely fantastic.
Gemma and I continued messaging every day. “I feel like I’m babysitting your baby for nine months,” I joked. In October 2021, me and Alex took the kids and my mum, who was so supportive about the surrogacy, to Essex to surprise Gemma for her baby shower – it was great fun!
Then we created the birth plan. I was happy for Neil, as the father, to be in the delivery room. Alex made it clear he wouldn’t come in, saying, “I won’t feel comfortable, it’s not our child.” I was gutted, but understood.
Strangers would ask how I’d feel handing the baby over and that really irritated me. “He’s never been mine in the first place,” I’d explain with a forced smile. They didn’t understand that, to me, he wasn’t my baby.
As my due date approached, Neil and Gemma stayed in a cottage in Wales and we saw them more regularly. Then, on 27 November, I gave birth to baby Luca with Gemma by my side at The Grange University Hospital in Cwmbran. We both cried and I remember saying, “We did it, Gem, we did it!”
It was magical. Words will never explain how beautiful that moment was – I will treasure it forever.
Neil missed the birth by 10 minutes because Gemma had told him not to rush when I was 4cm dilated. Things escalated so quickly I didn’t make it into the birthing pool!
Now, Luca was where he belonged in his parents’ arms and as I later watched them drive away in their car together, I felt indescribable happiness that I’d helped them complete their family. My job was done. I was proud and full of emotion. In a strange way, I didn’t feel like I’d just given birth. I just felt relieved they had their baby. I was thrilled not to be pregnant, too. Charlie and Ivy could have their mummy back.
When Luca was a few days old, we visited them at the cottage and shared a bottle of prosecco and a KFC takeaway. The kids came, too, and were so excited to meet Luca. They now speak about him as they do our other friends’ children – completely normally – which is lovely.
In May 2022, I had a court hearing for Neil and Gemma to be granted a parental order and named on Luca’s birth certificate. It was the final piece of our surrogacy puzzle.
The next month, we drove to Essex to celebrate. I felt self- conscious about holding Luca at first. I was worried that people would think I was “too close to him”, but it was fine. Gemma gave me a scrapbook of our journey and wrote, “Thank you for helping us complete our family, we’ll be eternally grateful.” We later reunited in Wales to mark Luca’s first birthday.
I’d love to be a surrogate again, but being pregnant is a big commitment, so if there is a next time it will be to give Charlie and Ivy a baby brother or sister.
Our two families are connected for life – not just because of Luca but because of what we went through together. I cherish our special bond.”
Georgia shares her story at instagram.com/firsttimesurrogate
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