When Kim Bradshaw heard the sad news that a friend with cancer was unable to become pregnant, her mind was soon made up.
She says: ‘I wanted to offer my womb.’
But when her friend decided to proceed with surrogacy using somebody to whom she had no emotional connection, it didn’t deter Kim.
Now she is to become a surrogate mum and create a family for a couple who can’t conceive.
So what motivates a woman to become a surrogate?
Pregnancy is not exactly plain sailing, after all.
The backache, swollen ankles, indigestion and sleepless nights are just a few common issues.
So why undergo all this hassle for someone else?
Support worker Kim, 34, from Stamshaw, Portsmouth, explains that she is already mother to two children, Olivia aged seven and two-year-old Eli.
She and husband Andy felt their family was complete and that Kim offering to be a surrogate and changing other people’s lives for the better by carrying their baby was a positive and wonderful thing to do.
Kim says: ‘We already have two healthy children and I don’t want any more.
‘I love being a mum and I can’t imagine how hard it must be for a couple if they can’t have their own child, as nothing could replace this feeling.’
She adds: ‘My pregnancies were very straightforward. I never experienced any morning sickness or poor health and I worked until my due dates.’
Once she’d made her decision to become a surrogate, Kim contacted Brilliant Beginnings, a non profit-making surrogacy support agency based in the New Forest.
She explains: ‘I feel we’re in good hands. They really are a brilliant beginning for the surrogacy journey and I trust that they will care for me.’
Helen Prosser, managing director of Brilliant Beginnings, says: ‘The drive to have a family is innate, but many men and women are not able to have children.
‘Kim is giving hope to these people that they can have the happiness and fulfilment that she has with her own family.’
She continues: ‘We have around 15 surrogates. The numbers are incredibly low in the UK, but we are hopeful that this will gradually change.’
Helen continues: ‘We cannot thank Kim and her family enough for what she is doing to help create the happiness of family life.’
In preparation for her pregnancy, Kim lost more than two stone and reduced her BMI score from 36.7 to 32.
Now, after going through all the necessary procedures, she has been given the go-ahead to become a surrogate.
Kim was sent a profile of the intended parents of the baby she will carry. She says: ‘Brilliant Beginnings have matched us with a couple that are lovely, very deserving and dedicated to each other.’
The couple, who wish to remain anonymous, are London-based but do have family in Hampshire.
They were not able to conceive naturally following breast cancer.
Kim and Andy have met them and Kim says: ‘Our meeting went better than we could have expected.
‘It seems we are very similar and were all relaxed in each other’s company. We are very excited about this journey ahead.’
Kim is in contact with other surrogates and they meet up to give each other support.
One is Kate Housley, 40, of Kensington Road, Portsmouth.
The mum-of-two has been a surrogate four times, most recently last year.
She says: ‘I have told Kim to enjoy the pregnancy.
‘Surrogacy isn’t completely selfless when you love being pregnant. It’s a win-win situation.’
Kim adds: ‘I know it may not all be easy, but it is a life-changing experience.
‘I’m just hoping I get to see their happy faces when they receive their own baby.
‘I’m hoping to be a good tummy mummy and after that I will get to be Auntie Kim.’
Husband Andy adds: ‘Doing something like becoming a surrogate is just another example of Kim’s selfless nature and how much she enjoys helping others.
‘We are all extremely proud of her and support her entirely.’
Later this month she will start the embryo transfer process, following a medication treatment plan which enables her uterus lining to be prepared for the implantation.
Kim smiles: ‘I’m happy to give the gift that keeps on giving.’
Gestational surrogacy, also known as host or full surrogacy, was first achieved in April, 1986.
It takes place when an embryo created by in vitro fertilisation (IVF) technology is implanted in a surrogate, sometimes called a gestational carrier.
In this form of surrogacy, the resulting child is genetically unrelated to the surrogate.
In Kim’s case, the embryo is being created using the father’s sperm and the mother’s eggs. The resulting child is genetically related to both intended parents.
Commercial surrogacy arrangements are not legal in the United Kingdom.
They were prohibited by the Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985.
Whilst it is illegal in the UK to pay more than expenses for a surrogacy, the relationship is recognised under section 30 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990.
Regardless of contractual or financial consideration for expenses, surrogacy arrangements are not legally enforceable so a surrogate mother maintains the legal right of determination for the child, even if they are genetically unrelated.
Unless a parental order or adoption order is made, the surrogate mother remains the legal mother of the child.
In 2016 Parliament revised The Surrogacy Act and its legislation in the UK.
The aim is to make the UK process more transparent and easier and to protect children born through surrogacy.