Surrogate Kym (left) with Kirsty, Kevin and baby Harry. Pic: Worldwide Features
When Kirsty Brown was born without a womb, she knew that she could never fall pregnant and be a mum.
When her cousin Gareth's wife Kym Rostron heard of her plight, she stepped forward to help, and selflessly offered to be a surrogate for Kirsty and her husband Kevin, 27, a rugby player for Huddersfield Giants.
Kirsty's eggs were fertilised with her husband's sperm and were implanted into 25-year-old Kym's womb. The surrogate pregnancy was successful and the couple's son Harry was born in March this year.
"I can't thank Kym enough," says proud mum Kirsty.
She didn't have to help us like this, but she did, and it has allowed us to become parents to our little boy. It's the most wonderful gift she could ever have given us. We are so grateful that she offered to help us like this.
Kirsty, 24 , from Huddersfield, was 15 when doctors ran tests to find out why she hadn't started her periods.
"I was devastated when doctors broke the news to me that I didn't have a womb," says Kirsty. "I was only a young teenager but I'd grown up around babies and I couldn't wait to be pregnant and be a mum in the future."
When Kirsty met Kevin at 17, she told him about her medical problem. The couple were married in September 2008, and after their wedding, they raised the funds to have private IVF treatment through a surrogate. Kirsty's eggs were collected and fertilised with her husband's sperm and implanted into a surrogate.
Two weeks later they were given the devastating news that the treatment had failed. Sadly, the same surrogate later miscarried the couple's baby after a second round of IVF.
"It was devastating. Our surrogate told us that she couldn't go ahead with another try at treatment as she had been too upset at losing our baby," explains Kirsty. "It felt as though it had been my last chance at being a mum."
Then out of the blue, they received a phone call to say that Kirsty's cousin's wife Kym had offered to be a surrogate.
"I couldn't believe it. She phoned and said she wanted to help me," says Kirsty. "I asked her if she was sure and she said she had always wanted to help me. Kym has got two children of her own, and she knew the joy that children bring and she wanted to help me experience that joy. I was just overwhelmed."
The trio started the treatment at Seacroft Hospital in Leeds in July 2011. Again eggs were collected from Kirsty, fertilised with Kevin's sperm and an embryo was put into Kym's womb. Two weeks later they were given the thrilling news that the pregnancy had worked.
"We were worried because of what had happened last time, but we just had to hope it would all go smoothly," says Kirsty. "When she was six weeks pregnant we went with her for a scan and saw the tiny heartbeat. It was such an emotional moment. Kym went for scans regularly and she phoned every night to tell me how the pregnancy was going. When she felt the baby kick for the first time, we rushed straight over and we sat next to her on the sofa feeling him kick."
Baby Harry arrived into the world in March, weighing a healthy 7Ib, 2oz. As soon as he was born, Kirsty asked the midwife to place him in Kirsty's arms for his first cuddle.
"I was just thrilled to be able to help Kirsty and Kevin," says Kym.
I told my children that I was looking after this baby until he was born. I carried him for Kirsty. I'll always be his special auntie.
What a fabulous story. Enjoy your little boy Kirsty and Kevin!
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Words: Lucy Laing