Some grandmothers spoil their grandchildren. But for Cecile Eledge, it goes much deeper than that. The 61-year-old from Nebraska served as a surrogate for her son Matthew Eledge and his husband, Elliot Dougherty, who shared the touching story with the public Friday. On Monday, Cecile gave birth to her granddaughter, Uma Louise. “I’m holding her now, and she’s asleep and she’s beautiful,” Matthew tells The Post.
The two-year-long process of carrying Matthew and Elliot’s baby started as a joke: the couple had always wanted to start a family but faced an uphill battle with expensive IVF procedures or adoption. When Cecile, who is postmenopausal, told them she’d be the gestational carrier, they didn’t believe her, Buzzfeed reports.
But, given that Cecile was so healthy, doctors said there was no reason she couldn’t carry the baby. After doing a litany of tests, doctors gave her the clearance to begin the process, which included giving her hormones so that she would begin menstruating again.
Then came another family tie: Elliot’s sister Lea Yribe agreed to donate her eggs to the process, which doctors inseminated with Matthew’s s-perm.
“Her origin story is that her aunt Lea provided the seed of life, and her mother provided the loving garden for her to bloom,” Matthew says.
After just one embryo transfer, Cecile became pregnant. Given her age, the pregnancy wasn’t exactly a breeze — she experienced more morning sickness and shortness of breath, plus a scary spike in blood pressure as the due date approached, but would remind herself that it would be worth it soon.
The couple says they got plenty of questions, some more of-fensive than others, when people noticed that Cecile was pregnant. Matthew and Elliot tried to be patient.
“People are confused, which is normal. We got a lot of people being like, ‘wait a minute, whose egg? And whose sperm?” Matthew says. “As gay men, we’re so lucky to be having children at a time when people are actually celebratory of our relationship and of us being parents, and also at a time when technology allows us to have this baby, with some of Elliot’s genetic material and some of my genetic material.”
When Uma Louise was born Monday, the whole family was present. Now home from the hospital, Elliot and Matthew say they’re feeling especially grateful for the “village” it took to bring them their daughter, whom they expect to be a “little bit of diva” like their fathers, Matthew says with a laugh: “We’re preparing for her to be heard!”
“She has so many amazing women to look up to,” Matthew tells The Post. “Now it’s fun to say [to Elliot], ‘This is ours now, we get to bond and connect and work together as a team.’”