Utah mom serves as surrogate to daughter’s baby

A 58-year-old Utah woman is serving as surrogate to her daughter’s child. Here’s the full story from AP.

From The Associated Press:

“PROVO, Utah (AP) – 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 Lake Tribune (http://bit.ly/1a40CaE ).

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 relationships.

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.”

I personally think this makes sense. Who else would you trust more with your child born or unborn? Now I think you have to make sure everyone is clear on their roles in the child’s life but it makes sense to me that a mother would love her child so much she would want to help. What do you think: Does this make sense or weird? Is it more odd for  perfect stranger to carry your child?

30 comments Add your comment


January 9th, 2014
11:20 am

To me this is sacreligious and disgusting.

This is not really news...

January 9th, 2014
12:14 pm

…it’s been done many times in the past, as outlined in the article TWG posted, so why add follow-up questions, unless it is just a slow day for writing the blog – LOL


January 9th, 2014
12:21 pm

Seriously, I remember watching a TV movie “based on a true story” about a mom who carried twins for her daughter when I was a kid — at least 20 years ago. I can’t believe AP bothered covering this.


January 9th, 2014
12:56 pm

Some things should be private.


January 9th, 2014
1:06 pm

This is just weird to me but not on religious or moral grounds. I guess I just can’t imagine why anyone (related or not) would want to go through pregnancy and childbirth for someone else. I have never been able to wrap my mind around that. Whether it’s a surrogate who gets paid or, in this case, the grandma, it’s still weird and creepy to me.


January 9th, 2014
1:17 pm

I’m surprised by the negative reactions – I would absolutely do this to help my daughter.


January 9th, 2014
1:18 pm

One pregnancy and birth was plenty for me. If I don’t want to do it again for myself, why on Earth would I do it for someone else? Can someone please explain the rationale and logic here?


January 9th, 2014
1:35 pm

People are going to say I’m mean for saying this but sometimes the truth sucks. A dozen miscarriages and now her mother is carrying a child for her means that she is/was truly obsessed with having a child. Lets just hope that obsession carries over into being a good mother. Sometimes when people finally get something that they wanted for so long, the actualization is a let down. I would hate for the family to go through all this only for her to be abusive or flat out possessive and crazy when it came to the child. It’s happened before.


January 9th, 2014
1:39 pm

For me, my pregancies were a welcome temporary “imposition” by my children. I’d feel the same about a grandchild. Giving the experience of motherhood to my daughter would make it that much sweeter. Granted, my pregancies were relatively easy, with no morning sickness, etc. Experiences may vary. ;-)


January 9th, 2014
3:23 pm

Not that it matters, but I have no issue with this arrangement. I have met some of the nicest couples who are not able to conceive and then some parents who ( imho) do not need to be parents, as they have no interest in their children.

@ catlady…perhaps they are telling people because it looks odd for a 58 year old to be pregnant? I know I would be wondering why someone that age was pregnant.

I love my two kids but I will not be volunteering for this project. I had two wonderful pregnancies and very difficult deliveries. Not up for the adventure a third time. Certainly not with a 50 year old body.

Seeing a newborn baby come into the world is an amazing experience. Knowing that you helped the parents of that child would be incredible too. At least you could go home and sleep for a week :).


January 9th, 2014
3:28 pm

I agree with WitchyWoman. Three miscarriages should have been enough for this couple to let it go. To me this is kinda like playing God. What if this pregnancy doesn’t have a good outcome? Stuff can and does happen. Also, with are so many children out there who need homes, why not consider adoption?


January 9th, 2014
4:10 pm

@MJ, I’m with you. People spend so much money and go through so much heartache to try to conceive their own child when there are so many kids already born and out there in the foster system and in need of a good home. I always thought if I couldn’t have my own, I would have considered that as an option certainly before IVF or surrogacy.


January 9th, 2014
5:36 pm

I would do it in a heartbeat for my child. I wouldn’t care what anyone thought about me being pregnant at my age. It’s not their business.


January 10th, 2014
8:05 am

I can’t think of anyone better to be a surrogate. No messy issues of “visitation” or “custody” in the future. The contract is probably just a formality, I doubt even the “reasonable” payments were even made.

I know my wife would do it in a heartbeat if my daughter had problems carrying in the future. That’s what family does. And no worrying about what a stranger could do. Bravo for Grams stepping in.

Atlanta Mom

January 10th, 2014
8:11 am

I’m happy for both of them. Who am I to judge?


January 10th, 2014
8:48 am

I would do it. For some people pregnancy was a very easy process. I had two pregnancies with no morning sickness, very easy births. I can barely even think of one time during the entire process that I was even uncomfortable. I can see no reason not to carry another person’s child. I would not want to use my eggs as I would not want the child to be biologically mine but would have no problem being the incubator for another person’s child. I would be even more likely to do it for a family member. I’ll be way too old to ever do it for my daughter but if circumstances were different and I was in my early 50s when she wanted to have children I would do it.
And for those who say it is better to adopt…that is easier said than done. Adoptions come with their own issues. Children who are free for adoption in the foster care system come with a host of problems that most people are not equipped to deal with. Adoptions from other countries are extremely time consuming and expensive. Domestic adoptions often take many years and some families never get a child. Many people want their child to have their DNA if possible. I don’t fault anyone for choosing a particular path to parenthood. Thankfully there are numerous options and I wish people all the best who are having trouble having children and who have any opportunity to make that happen.


January 10th, 2014
1:19 pm

This is not natural. Fifty-eight year old women are not designed to go through pregnancy and childbirth. This kind of thing is playing God. If someone has had that many miscarriages or infertility issues, then accept that biological children are not in the cards and adopt a baby or child who needs a loving, stable home. This obsession with having a perfect biological child who looks like you needs to stop. Medical advances can have unintended consequences.

The Ayatollah of Jack and Cola

January 10th, 2014
1:28 pm

Here’s the question they haven’t thought about, will the son in law be in the delivery room?


January 10th, 2014
1:39 pm

Statistically speaking, in vitro is extremely close to abortion.

Up to 10 eggs are taken and fertilized with only a 3 or 4 ever being transferred in utero. Then there is only a 20%-40% success rate (wildly varying based mostly on age).

On the very highest side, you’re looking at just under 2 live births per 10 fertilized eggs. What happens to the others? If you believe life begins at conception….I guess you believe these zygots die.

I have no problem with in vitro. Nor do I have a problem with abortion, but I can see where there would be a moral hypocrisy in being OK with one and not the other.


January 10th, 2014
2:48 pm

Are all fertility treatments – artificial insemination, in vitro, surrogacy – playing God or just having her own mother be her surrogate judged as so? It is easy for people who have children to say what someone else should do in this situation. It is easy to say she should give up and take it as a sign from God that she does not need her own biological children. Why should she not explore every opportunity open to her? Obviously her mother is healthy enough that a doctor is allowing this to proceed. How about this? If her mother successfully carries her baby to term and delivers her a healthy baby, isn’t that God answering her prayers to have a healthy biological child?

I am coming to grips with the fact that I will never carry a child of my own because I cannot get off of my medications. I tried and it was bad. From what my ob/gyn said I didn’t have that many eggs left anyway so I probably couldn’t even do in vitro with a surrogate because, as Jarvis points out, you harvest so many and maybe one “sticks”. For my girlfriend and her husband, it was 1 out of 17 that resulted in a live birth…after 2 miscarriages. So I will never have a child that is of me. That is hard to come to grips with and to hear/read people say with so much judgment how this woman should just give up on her dream of having a biological child when she does have an option it makes me very sad. I would adopt but I don’t want to be a single parent. I say that now but I may change my mind later…but get an older child. I am happy that she has the option that I don’t have.


January 10th, 2014
3:49 pm

jarvis you forgot the cost around $30-40K per treatment. My brother and sister-in-law looked into it.

Denise, I am sending you hugs!


January 10th, 2014
4:15 pm

Thank you FCM!!! :-)

And oh, yes, the cost of in vitro is crazy. My girlfriend said she and her husband spent $28K on their treatments. But they have a beautiful little girl so….

Sk8ing Momma

January 10th, 2014
7:05 pm

This is a classic example of a situation where one has NO idea what she would do if she was in either the mother’s or daughter’s shoes.

IMO, we’d like to THINK we’d know what we’d do or how we’d feel; but, I suspect that we have no clue!


January 11th, 2014
8:24 pm

I would do this in a heartbeat for my kids. I do not see anything wrong with it. The child will be her grandchild. AND her daughter wants a baby very badly, so why not?


January 12th, 2014
12:05 pm

So if the situation was reversed and it was the man’s inability to produce sperm, would everyone be OK with the husbands father impregnating his daughter-in-law?


January 12th, 2014
12:14 pm

The grandmother is only serving as a surrogate, not an egg donor. The child will be biologically the child of her daughter and her daughter’s husband.


January 12th, 2014
12:26 pm

Oh. Got it – that is different then!!


January 12th, 2014
12:52 pm

@WitchyWoman: I’m kind of with you on this. To me, the worst part is that she tried to get pregnant so many times in only three years. She had 12 miscarriages. Most (reasonable) doctors tell you to wait before trying again, but this daughter either couldn’t wait to get pregnant again or is inflating the number of miscarriages, or both.


January 12th, 2014
9:07 pm

Of course, Octomom’s “doctor” thought everything was going well too, I suppose.


January 12th, 2014
11:59 pm

I don’t think I could do it — both pregnancies ended up having their own difficulties, and I’m quite certain that, at almost 60, things haven’t improved with time. :-) But if this mom wants to do this for her daughter, then that’s between them and absolutely none of my business. Personally, I think it’s an amazing gift from the mother to the daughter, and I hope it turns out well for them. I don’t see anything creepy, weird or immoral about it. *shrug* About 20+ years ago, a friend in my church group was artificially inseminated with her brother-in-law’s sperm because her sister could not have a baby and for some reason, IVF wasn’t an option. She was telling us about the experience — to me, THAT was dancing on the edge of strange. She had had several kids, had easy pregnancies, and felt that this was something she could do for her sister, and the DNA would be pretty similar. I lost touch with her years ago — I often wondered what the familial ramifications were.