Written by Bella Dalima
24 May, 2014 | 3:47 pm
Leanne Stanford became pregnant by using a syringe of sperm provided by her stepdad but now her change of mind has resulted in a bitter feud that has torn the family apart
Leanne Stanford just couldn’t bear to give up the daughter she was carrying – even though it broke her mother’s heart.
The 26-year-old decided to keep baby Mollie, despite initially agreeing to be a surrogate for devastated mum Judith.
Leanne became pregnant by using a syringe of sperm provided by her stepdad, Judith’s new husband Mark Roberts.
She felt sorry for the couple and offered to help them find joy again after Judith miscarried a longed-for child.
Now her change of mind has resulted in a bitter feud that has torn the family apart.
She admitted yesterday: “What it came down to was that the bond with my baby was stronger than the bond with my mum.”
Leanne, of Wallsend, North Tyneside, is bringing up Mollie while distraught Judith and Mark, both 50, currently play no part in her life.
She has even applied for child maintenance from her stepfather.
She said: “This has caused a split between myself and my mum that can never be healed.
“But every time I look at my beautiful little girl and feel that surge of love for her I know I made the right decision.”
Leanne, who has a son Kieran, four, from a previous relationship, made the extraordinary surrogacy pact in the car park of the mortuary at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
It was October 2011 – after the family had said a tearful goodbye to Braydon, the son Judith had lost. She had miscarried at 21 weeks, dashing her dreams of a little brother for the youngest of her four daughters Megan, seven.
Leanne and Judith
Cradling sandy-haired Mollie, now 19 months, in her arms, Leanne explained: “Mum was desperate for another child so that Megan would have a brother or sister around her as she grew up.
“When she and Mark couldn’t conceive naturally they went for IVF at James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough. I shared in their grief when Mum miscarried, it was a terrible time.
“As we left the chapel of rest after saying goodbye to Braydon we stood in the car park and I couldn’t bear Mum’s tears.
“I told her, ‘If you want to try again I’ll help you – I’ll be a surrogate for you if you want me to’.
“It was a spur of the moment offer made at a time of high emotion. But I meant it, I really wanted to help them.”
After considering Leanne’s offer for two months, Judith and Mark approached her at Christmas 2011 and tearfully accepted her help.
They began tracking Leanne’s fertility cycle and discovered that early February of 2012 was the time she would be most likely to conceive.
Barmaid Leanne admitted: “Some people may find the arrangement strange but to us it was just a case of doing what was necessary. ”
Amazingly, she became pregnant at the first try with a syringe normally used to give medicine to babies.
Mollie was born at 5.24am on November 15, 2012, weighing 8lb 11ozs and Leanne gave birth with elder sister Emma by her side.
At first Judith and Mark visited the baby even though by then they realised she would never be theirs. But as the weeks went by the relationship became more strained and Judith’s anger towards her daughter grew. In a text to a mutual friend she wrote: “Tell her she is dead to me.”
That was followed up by messages on Facebook, one of which read: “Watch out, lads, Leanne Stanford is feeling broody – you’ll end up paying for the baby mind.” The once close relationship between Leanne and her mother has now completely broken down. Neither Judith nor Mark has seen Mollie since the end of March.
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