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Monday, 1 July, 2002, 00:05 GMT 01:05 UK
'He is my son, and that's that'
Linda Cohen
Linda Cohen was helped by a surrogate mother
A new study has found that women who have a child by using a surrogate tend to be among the best mothers.

BBC News Online's Richard Warry spoke to one woman who found the whole experience to be one of the most rewarding of her life.


For Linda Cohen and her husband Neil, surrogacy was the last option.

When the couple found out they could not have a child of their own together, they originally considered adoption.

However, because they were Jewish they found that the opportunities in this country were very limited.


My biggest concern was that the surrogate mother might not hand over the baby at the end of it all

Linda Cohen
No adoption agency was happy to allow them to bring up a non-Jewish child in the Jewish faith.

They considered adoption abroad, but Linda was put off when she was asked questions such as what sex of child do you want, and how old do you want it to be.

"When you are a childless couple who desperately want a child questions like that are really irrelevant, and opting for one excludes so many other opportunities," she said.

Ideal candidate

The couple eventually decided that surrogacy might be their best bet.

They made contact with the charity COTS (Childlessness Overcome through Surrogacy), who put them in touch with a woman who was prepared to act as a surrogate for the couple.

Initially, phones calls were exchanged for a few weeks, but when both parties met up for the first time in April 2000, they found that they got on very well.

"She was a wonderful, wonderful lady who was quite happy to help us," said Linda.

After about three meetings it was decided to press ahead.

"My biggest concern was that the surrogate mother might not hand over the baby at the end of it all," said Linda.

"But when we discussed it, she laughed out loud and said her biggest concern was that we would change our minds and that she would literally be left holding the baby.

"If I had not had total faith and confidence that she would give us the baby I would not have gone ahead."

Pregnancy


It was just incredible to see him being born - I actually cut the cord

Linda Cohen
Once the surrogate had been impregnated with Mr Cohen's sperm, the couple played a full part in the pregnancy.

They visited monthly, and spoke more often on the phone. They also attended scans, and took photos as the bump began to grow.

Linda was present at the birth, while her husband stayed behind to look after the surrogate mother's two children.

"It was just incredible to see him being born," said Linda, "I actually cut the cord.

"It was an amazing feeling after all those years of wanting a child to all of a sudden see this little bundle that we were responsible for. I was very emotional, very tearful."

The Cohen's son Anthony is now nine months old. His mother would not swap him for the world.

The couple have stayed in regular contact with the surrogate, and plan to tell Anthony about his biological mother when he is older.

Recommendation

Linda said she would recommend surrogacy to any woman who could not have a child of her own.

"Surrogacy is not right for everybody, but it does work, so long as you are patient enough to wait until you find somebody who you are comfortable with.

"It is no good rushing into the process with the very first person you meet."

People sometimes ask Linda if she was jealous that another woman carrying her husband's biological child.

She says the thought never crossed her mind.

"I only ever thought this lady is carrying our baby for us. Anthony is our son and that's that."

Reports from the 2002 Eshre conference in Vienna

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30 Jun 02 | Health
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