Shaniece Sturdy, from Carshalton, Surrey, first became interested in surrogacy as a teenager after watching a documentary on TV. After the birth of her son, Rylee, now four, she contacted a surrogacy centre and came across hopeful parents, Joana and Steve.
She was desperate to help them complete their family and flew to Los Angeles to a specialist clinic to have their ᴇᴍʙʀʏᴏ inserted. However, Shaniece, who has since set up her own cleaning business, was sʜᴏᴄᴋᴇᴅ when midwives found out that the heart beats. Joana and Steve, who live in the UK, were thrilled that they were expecting triplets, and Shaniece now visits them every year for their birthdays.
Shaniece said, “Even though I was only 21 and it was a huge responsibility to carry their babies, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I had no morning sɪᴄᴋɴᴇss or cravings. The whole pregnancy flew by and with the support of Joanna and Steve, it was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone.”
“I was only supposed to be helping the family have a brother or sister for their little girl, but I ended up giving them three babies at once. At our first scan at just a few weeks pregnant, we were all told I was carrying twins. Joanna and Steve had already picked their twin pram. At the 10-week scan, I joked, ‘I wonder if they will find another heartbeat,’ and just minutes later, they did.”
“We all opted for a planned C-sᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ at 33 weeks, but my waters ʙʀᴏᴋᴇ on Halloween. The triplets were taken to intensive care, but Willow, Daisy, and Harrison were all perfectly fine, weighing 4lb 2oz, 3lb 7oz, and 3lb 11oz. I would advise anyone thinking about becoming a surrogate to do it. I can’t wait to do it again,” she added.
The triplets, now three, were home with their parents Joanna and Steve after just two weeks in the hospital – now Shaniece visits them every year on their birthday to catch up. She added, “I always get so emotional when I see them, not because I miss them or want more children of my own, but because I’m so happy that I was part of their journey. I think a lot of people presume you have to use your own ᴇɢɢs when you’re a surrogate, but that’s not the case at all.”
“I had Joanna and Steve’s ᴇᴍʙʀʏᴏ inserted in Los Angeles, so it’s biologically their child, not mine. I was just the host ᴡᴏᴍʙ,” she revealed. “I always get so emotional when I see them, not because I miss them or want more children of my own, but because I’m so happy that I was part of their journey.”
Shaniece didn’t tell her family straight away about her surrogacy plans in case they didn’t approve. She added, “I decided to conduct all my own research beforehand and it wasn’t until I met the hopeful parents that I told anyone. I was only 21 at the time but I wasn’t interested in partying and drinking, I wanted to help another couple fulfill their family dream and raise Rylee properly. It really doesn’t matter how old you are, as long as you’re ready and understand the importance of what you’re doing.”