My best friend gave me the gift of motherhood

A 36-year-old woman, originally from South Africa, has told how, after years of fertility heartbreak, her best friend offered her the gift of parenthood by being her surrogate

Carol Blaisley, who lives in Bromley, was born with a rare condition called exomphalos, in which the majority of her organs were outside of her body. She told The Mirror her amazing story…

She had major surgery just minutes after being born and many operations since to correctly place her organs where they should be.

But her mother, Arlene, was told her daughter would struggle to have children in the future.

As she grew up, Arlene talked to Carol about how she believed she had her so young so she could help her have her own children, offering to be a surrogate when the time came.

Carol met William and the couple married in 2004 and despite the unlikelihood of conceiving, they began trying for a child straightaway.

Nothing happened and the couple went to see a fertility specialist.

She was told her fallopian tubes were blocked and her uterus was in the middle of her stomach.

The only way forward was doing IVF and Arlene being the surrogate.

In 2007 the couple travelled to South Africa and completed two rounds of IVF, but sadly both failed and they were devastated.

In 2008 they joined a UK surrogacy agency but it didn’t work out for them.

After a short break, the couple tried IVF again in 2011, despite how dangerous it would be for Carol, but again it didn’t work.

They had just one embryo that they had frozen.

The couple began looking at adoption in 2014 and were devastated when we were told the time wasn’t right.

During their journey, Carol’s friend Annie was watching from the sidelines.

Carol and Annie had met when they were 19 and had instantly clicked.

Annie already had three daughters of her own with her husband, the youngest being just five months old.

She asked to come to Carol’s home with her husband and asked if she could be their surrogate.

The couple were overwhelmed by the generous offer and agreed the next steps.

They would transfer their final embryo to a clinic in the Czech Republic for Annie to start treatment.

Annie and Carol flew out in May 2015.

Carol said: “I watched the embryo going in, it was magical. My biggest fear was the poor little embryo might not survive the thaw having travelled across Europe. But it did.”

Two weeks later the couple were delighted that the embryo had implanted.

There was lots of hugging and kissing.

The couple went to every scan and appointment and Annie kept great communication throughout the pregnancy.

Baby Nathaniel was born on January 16, 2016.

Carol said: “I couldn’t stop thanking Annie for what she did for us. Nathaniel knows where he came from and he has a special bond with Annie’s girls.”

Did you give your best friend the gift of parenthood? We’d love to hear your story, email

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