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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2007, 20:32 GMT
Sister has cancer mother's baby
Angela Strannigan and her sister Lisa Mainwaring holding Evie

A woman has given birth to her sister's baby girl because she could not have children after a cancer operation.

Lisa Mainwaring, 35, of Swansea, had feared her dream of becoming a mother would never come true.

But her sister Angela Strannigan, 38, and with two children of her own, volunteered to be a surrogate mother, and gave birth to Evie three weeks ago.

"I wake in the night and tears are rolling down my face because I can't believe she is here," said Lisa.

Lisa and her husband Chris had planned to start a family after he proposed during a holiday in Las Vegas in 2005.

Because I did not carry the baby I thought I might not have that instant bond, but it was instant love
Lisa Mainwaring
She was already under observation but later that year tests showed she had pre-cancerous cells in her womb.

Despite a course of hormone treatment she developed cancer of the womb and doctors decided she needed a hysterectomy.

"I knew it meant I would never be able to have a baby," she said.

Eggs were taken from her ovaries before her womb was removed, and then fertilised with her husband's sperm and implanted.

Then the night before Lisa had her operation Angela discovered she was pregnant.

"I said to her, 'how can I ever repay you?' and she just said, 'I don't need repaying' because she has given herself a niece."

Planned caesarean

"Angela's husband Jason has been fantastic throughout it all because it's a hell of a thing to ask someone to do because it affects all their home life."

Angela, 38, gave birth in a planned caesarean at Singleton Hospital, Swansea, three weeks ago with Lisa by her side. When Evie arrived she was handed straight to Lisa.

"All I did was cry - the feeling was amazing," said Lisa.

"Because I did not carry the baby I thought I might not have that instant bond, but it was instant love. I will never forget that feeling.

I was just baby-sitting for nine months - it was always Lisa's baby
Angela Strannigan

"They discharged Evie on the Wednesday but because Angela had to stay another two nights we stayed in with her - we could never have come home and left her there."

Angela, whose own children are Amy, 13, and Lewis, eight, said she was only too happy to act as a surrogate mother.

"There is only two-and-a-half years between us so it could easily have been the other way around," she said.

"I don't see it as a big deal because she is my sister and I would do it again if I could.

"Jason agreed straight away because he said Lisa deserves to be a mother because she is so close to my two.

"I was just baby-sitting for nine months - it was always Lisa's baby."

Since Evie was born Lisa and Chris have received almost 150 cards from well-wishers and friends, including some of the midwives and doctors at the hospital.

Both sisters said they had nothing but praise for the care and treatment they had received.


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