Lorena McKinnon, right, feels her mother Julia Navarro's womb for movement of McKinnon's daughter, who is expected to be born in about a month. McKinnon hasn't been able to bring a baby to term, so her 58-year-old mother is having the baby for her.
PROVO, Utah -- A 58-year-old Utah woman is
set to give birth in a few weeks - to her first grandchild.
Julia Navarro is serving as a gestational surrogate for her
daughter and son-in-law after the couple struggled with fertility problems.
Navarro's daughter, Lorena
McKinnon, said she began trying to have a baby with her husband, Micah
McKinnon, three years ago.
The 32-year-old Provo woman said she's had
about a dozen miscarriages, with the longest pregnancy lasting 10 weeks.
After several tries, the couple began
looking for a surrogate. McKinnon said a friend and sister both considered
carrying her baby, but ultimately decided against it.
That's when her mother offered to step in.
"As a family, we have to help each
other," Navarro told The Salt
Navarro had to undergo hormone
shots for three months before an embryo fertilized by her daughter and
son-in-law could be implanted. Because of her age, doctors had warned there was
only a 45 percent chance the implantation would be successful.
But the procedure was a success, and Navarro said she's had a smooth pregnancy
carrying a developing baby girl.
As with other surrogacy arrangements, the
couple and Navarro needed three
months of counseling.
"The psychologists wanted to make sure
we knew what we were getting into - that we were mentally prepared,"
McKinnon said. "Mostly, surrogacy contracts are with people you don't
know. It was weird to have a contract with my mom."
It's unclear how rare it is for a woman to
carry her own grandchild, but recent news reports have detailed similar
Last year, a 53-year-old Iowa woman gave birth to her twin granddaughters. And in 2012, a 49-year-old woman in Maine
gave birth to her grandson.
McKinnon said she was grateful and
overwhelmed by her mother's offer, which eases some of the obstacles and
financial burdens for parents using a gestational surrogate.
According to Utah law, surrogates must be 21
or older, financially stable and must have already given birth once.
Couples must be married and are allowed to
offer a reasonable payment to a surrogate.
On average, a couple can spend about $60,000
on procedures and paying the surrogate, but McKinnon said her mother's offer to
help is saving the couple about half of that.
Both she and her daughter said they've
bonded over the experience.
The baby girl is due in early February.
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