Let’s go ahead and clarify this…. the grandmother, Kristine Casey, was the surrogate mother for her daughter, Sara Connell, SO she could have a grandchild. This is not some sleazy tabloid story you would find in the Enquirer. Sara had three failed pregnancies and had given up on having a child naturally. Of course grandmother Kristine isn’t the oldest mom by far BUT she is the first to have her own grandchild.
Sara Connell and her husband, Bill, are the biological parents of the child Casey carried, which grew from an embryo created from the Chicago couple’s egg and sperm. The Connells decided in 2004 to try to have a baby, but Sara, now 35, soon discovered she wasn’t ovulating. After undergoing infertility treatment at the Reproductive Medicine Institute in Evanston, she got pregnant but delivered stillborn twins, and later she suffered a miscarriage.
Casey’s previous three pregnancies — her last was 30 years ago — went smoothly, resulting in three daughters. After Casey retired in 2007, she filled her time walking, meditating, taking classes and socializing with friends. But she felt she had a deeper calling.
“At the beginning of 2009,” she said, “I decided for once in my life to take some time to think about my life and find something that seemed right for me — where there was no pressure to do a specific thing.”
During a visit to Chicago — she lives in Virginia — Casey participated in a workshop led by Connell, a life coach, writer and lecturer on women’s empowerment. In one class exercise, she used pictures cut from a magazine to create a collage depicting a life’s goal. One picture grabbed her attention: an ostrich with an expression of wonder and joy.
Casey wanted to experience the exuberance captured in the picture.
Around the same time, a walking partner mentioned a story she had read about a post-menopausal woman who gave birth.
“I thought, ‘Wow, three of the happiest days of my life were giving birth to my daughters,’ and I thought I could choose to do this for someone I love,” Casey said.
Did the doctors think it was strange? Josephine Johnston, a research scholar at the Hastings Center, a bioethics research institute, had no ethical objections to the idea of a 61-year-old having a baby, as long as she had undergone a thorough medical and psychological evaluation.
“It seems like an unquestionably loving and generous thing for a family member to do,” she said. “It’s a great story to tell the child,” Johnston added. “It’s one of those situations where outsiders might wonder if it’s OK or healthy. But the experience of that child and his family will be that it’s good. … If they treat it as good, it will be experienced that way.”
Would you be willing to give up 9 months of your quiet retirement to help bring a grandchild into your family as a surrogate mom? I don’t think I could?