Woman welcomes baby after cervical cancer thanks to best friend surrogate

Woman welcomes baby after cervical cancer thanks to best friend surrogate

January 31, 2022

When Lorna Cattle was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016, she was faced with a devastating choice.

She and her husband got married in Italy earlier that year, and with Lorna around two months pregnant at the time of her diagnosis, they were excited to start their family.

However, Lorna’s cancer meant she had to make the heartbreaking decision to terminate her pregnancy.

Lorna, 35, says: ‘When I was diagnosed, I was six to eight weeks pregnant and the first thing we had to decide was whether it was a viable pregnancy, which it wasn’t.

‘We had got married in the summer and starting a family was always the plan, so this was an awful decision for us to have to make, but we were told if I continued, neither I nor the baby would survive.

‘I’m a very optimistic person and never gave up hope on being a mum.’

After undergoing months of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and a hysterectomy, Lorna, from Chichester, Sussex, was given the all-clear in November 2017.

Lorna explains: ‘When I was going through treatment, I was just focusing on getting better and didn’t want to worry about anything else so our plans of being parents were put on hold whilst I recovered.

‘I had an ovarian transposition and lost my cervix meaning there was no chance I would be able to carry a child.

‘But I always knew we would have a family one way or another, whether that was through adopting or surrogacy.’

Lorna, who works in HR, and her husband Dan, 40, began looking into fertility treatments when her best friend Steph Stretton, 36, offered to be their surrogate.

‘We first went to visit fertility doctors in 2019 and spoke about our options and in 2020,’ Lorna recalls, ‘Steph came forward and said she would be our surrogate which I couldn’t have been more grateful for.

‘There are no words to explain the gratitude and awe I have for her.’

Steph successfully fell pregnant in February 2021 following the transfer of an embryo and gave birth to Joshua a month early in September 2021.

‘Being a mum is surreal,’ says Lorna. ‘Joshua is amazing, and I feel extremely fortunate and grateful to have him in my life.’

She adds: ‘We froze the embryos in December 2020 and did our first transfer in February 2021.

‘I never expected a friend to come forward and offer to do that for us.

‘It was a stressful lead up to the birth as Steph developed preeclampsia, but he came out perfect.’

Little Joshua, who weighed 5lb at birth, has just turned 16-weeks-old.

Lorna wants Steph to be in her son’s life, saying: ‘Steph lives in Cheshire, so she’s far away from us, but she’s still one of my closest friends, and we see her when we can.’

She also wants to urge women to get their smear tests and ‘push for answers if something doesn’t feel right.’

‘I’d rather five minutes of embarrassment than months of treatment.’

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