In the UK, twins were born of two different fathers for the first time. Newborn twins Calder and Alexandra Bernie Edwards - stepbrother and sister. Despite the fact that they were born from the same woman and at the same time, the fathers of the babies are different.
This “sweet couple” was born to London couple Simon and Graeme Berney-Edwards via a surrogate mum they met in Canada after a £25,000 quest for the perfect family.
Graeme is the father of Calder and Simon is the father to Alexandra. An anonymous donor provided her eggs before the embryos were implanted into the womb of Meg Stone.
Simon, 43, said: “It is amazing that Graeme and I have been able to father one of our twins each.
“Meg did an amazing job – and it meant she was actually pregnant by two men at the same time. It’s thanks to the wonder of IVF that we have been able to achieve our dream.
“Graeme and I have always wanted to have a family and now we have our lovely twins.”
The groundbreaking treatment – where two embryos fertilised by different fathers are implanted at the same time – is not practised in the UK.
So they extended their search for a surrogate to Canada and met Meg, 32, who has two sons – Jeffrey, 12, and Max, five. Meg said: “I saw Simon and Graeme’s profile on a surrogacy website and I thought they had lovely smiles. I had recently split with my partner and I wasn’t ready for another baby, so I wanted to help someone.”
The couple chose an anonymous egg donor, then flew out to a fertility clinic in Los Angeles to fertilise the embryos. Simon added: “We couldn’t decide on who would be the biological father. Graeme said it should be me, but I said that he had just as much right as I did. “Then the clinic told us it could be both of us. They said that we could have half the embryos fertilised with my sperm and then half with Graeme’s sperm.”
The couple then tied the knot and honeymooned in Canada – meeting Meg in person.
Simon added: “We were nervous at first, but meeting Meg was like being reunited with a long-lost sister. She wrapped us both in a hug before introducing us to her adorable boys. “We told her we were so grateful – she was changing our lives.”
The two embryos – frozen since being fertilised – were put into Meg’s womb six months later. After a fortnight she confirmed she was pregnant. But what if only one of the embryos had worked? Graeme and Simon would get a baby but only one of them would be the biological father. Simon said: “We decided if it happ-ened, we would just go back and have another go again, so that we would end up fathering one baby each.”
But there were no such problems and at an early scan a few nerve-racking weeks later, Meg discovered she was carrying twins – as the two dads watched on Facetime. Thrilled Simon recalled: “First of all we saw one heartbeat, and our stomachs clenched with nerves. Then we saw the other heartbeat. “Graeme and I hugged each other. We were over the moon. “We were both going to be dads – she was pregnant with both of our babies. “We went to Canada for Meg’s 19-week scan. We put our hands on her bump and felt our babies kicking. It was a magical moment. For our Christmas present, she had arranged a lovely photoshoot with all of us together. We got to meet her family too, which was lovely. “It was great to see her being a mum to her children. We knew that our babies were in the best possible hands.”
The pregnancy went smoothly – until 31 weeks, when Meg feared she was going into labour.
Simon said: “We were panicking as she was five weeks early. We didn’t know if we would make it to the birth. “We packed our stuff and caught the first flight out to Canada. We dashed to hospital to find out it was a false alarm. We were just so relieved that Meg and the babies were fine. “We stayed out there and at 36 weeks, Meg went into labour. Graeme held her hand through it all while her mum and I stood at the other end.
“It was the most amazing experience of our lives. Alexandra was born first and Calder arrived minutes later. It was just amazing to meet them at last. “When we held them the first time, we couldn’t believe that we were both daddies. It was a long way to go and do this, but it was worth it to both be able to have fathered one of the twins each. “Calder was the double of Graeme – and Alexandra the image of me. “We were allowed to fly home with them seven weeks later. It was sad to say goodbye to Meg.
“But when we brought them home for the first time, it was just incredible. They have gone from strength to strength and we have had wonderful support from TAMBA (the UK twins and multiple births foundation).”
Simon works in business development and Graeme is a stay-at-home dad.
They recently threw a party for the twins’ first birthday and Meg flew to the UK to help celebrate.
Simon added: “When they are older we will tell them about the role Meg played.
“It was incredibly special having her there to celebrate the twins’ special day with us. We can’t thank her enough. She has enabled us both to become daddies. It’s a wonderful gift.”
Meg said: “Simon and Graeme are like brothers to me now. They call me the twins’ Tummy Mummy, which I love. “It was amazing being pregnant with embryos that they had both fathered. Science is an amazing thing.”
Based on The Mirror