A mother who had to terminate her pregnancy after being diagnosed with cervical cancer has welcomed a baby boy after her best friend offered to be her surrogate.
Lorna Cattle, 35, from Chichester, Sussex, was devastated after being diagnosed with cervical cancer in November 2016 and had to make the heartbreaking decision to terminate her pregnancy.
She underwent months of grueling radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and a hysterectomy, before being given the all clear in November 2017.
Lorna, who works in HR, and her husband Dan, 40, had begun to look into fertility treatments when her best friend Steph Stretton, 36, offered to be their surrogate.
Steph successfully fell pregnant in In February 2021, following the transfer of a frozen embryo, and gave birth to Joshua a month early in September 2021.
Lorna Cattle, 35, (right) from Chichester, Sussex, welcomed son Joshua after her best friend Steph Stretton, 36 (left), offered to be her surrogate
Lorna had to terminate her own pregnancy after being diagnosed with cervical cancer and undergo grueling treatments. Pictured: Lorna with pregnant Steph
Lorna and her husband Dan, 40, pictured with their son, Joshua, began to consider fertility treatments after Lorna was given the all clear
Lorna said: ‘When I was diagnosed, I was six to eight weeks pregnant and the first thing we had to decide was whether it was a viable pregnancy which it wasn’t.
‘We had got married in the summer and starting a family was always the plan so this was an awful decision for us to have to make.
‘But we were told if I continued, neither I nor the baby would survive.
‘I’m a very optimistic person and never gave up hope on being a mum.
Lorna was six to eight weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with cancer and had to terminate despite plans with husband Dan to start a family. Pictured left to right: Lorna, Steph, Joshua and Dan
Lorna said she couldn’t be more grateful when Steph came forward offering to be her surrogate a year after her first visit to fertility doctors. Pictured: Baby Joshua
Lorna said being a mother is ‘amazing’ and she’s extremely fortunate to have Joshua (pictured together) in her life
‘2019 was when we first went to visit fertility doctors and spoke about our options and in 2020, Steph came forward and said she would be our surrogate, which I couldn’t have been more grateful for.
‘There are no words to explain the gratitude and awe I have for her.
‘Being a mum is surreal; Joshua is amazing and I feel extremely fortunate and grateful to have him in my life.’
Lorna and Dan got married in Italy during the summer of 2016 and had planned to start a family later that year.
However, Lorna’s cancer diagnosis put their plans on hold and left the couple wondering if they would be parents.
Lorna continued: ‘When I was going through treatment, I was just focusing on getting better and didn’t want to worry about anything else so our plans of being parents were put on hold whilst I recovered.
Lorna said she and Dan put their plans of becoming parents on hold, while she focused on getting better after her cancer diagnosis (pictured)
Lorna was left unable to carry a child after having an ovarian transposition and losing her cervix. Pictured: Lorna with best friend Steph
Lorna said she knew that she and Dan would have a family, either through adoption or surrogacy. Pictured: Lorna and Dan with their son Joshua
‘I had an ovarian transposition and lost my cervix meaning there was no chance I would be able to carry a child.
‘But I always knew we would have a family one way or another, whether that was through adopting or surrogacy.
‘We froze the embryos in December 2020 and did our first transfer in February 2021.
‘I never expected a friend to come forward and offer to do that for us.
Lorna froze the embryos in December 2020 and had their first transfer in February 2021 after Steph unexpectedly came forward. Pictured from left: Lorna, Steph and Dan
Lorna said Joshua came out perfect despite the stress of Steph developing preeclampsia in the lead up to his birth. Pictured: Lorna and Dan with Joshua
Joshua (pictured), who weighed 5lb at birth, has just turned 16-weeks-old and now weighs 14lb
Lorna said Steph is one of her closest friends and will continue to see Joshua, despite living far away in Cheshire. Pictured: Lorna and Dan with baby Joshua
Lorna (pictured) is urging all women to go for their annual smear test, saying she would prefer five minutes of embarrassment than months of treatment
‘It was a stressful lead up to the birth as Stephanie developed preeclampsia, but he came out perfect.’
Joshua, who weighed 5lb at birth, has just turned 16-weeks-old and now weighs 14lb.
Lorna still plans on having Steph in Joshua’s life.
She said: ‘Steph lives in Cheshire so she’s far away from us but she’s still one of my closest friends and we see her when we can.
‘I would highly encourage all women to go for their annual smear tests and push for answers if something doesn’t feel right.
‘I’d rather five minutes of embarrassment than months of treatment.’
How does surrogacy work and what are the laws in the UK?
Surrogacy is when a woman carries a baby for a couple who are unable to conceive or carry a child themselves.
Such couples may include those who have suffered recurrent miscarriages, repeated IVF failures, premature menopause or a hysterectomy.
The risks of being a surrogate mother are the same as for every pregnancy, and include nausea, heart burn and back ache.
In extreme cases, surrogates can suffer high blood pressure or gestational diabetes.
This involves using the surrogate’s egg and the intended father’s sperm.
It is the least expensive and simplest form of the procedure.
Host surrogacy requires IVF with either the intended mother’s eggs or donor eggs rather than those of the surrogate.
In this case, the surrogate is genetically unrelated to the baby.
Donor eggs can be from friends or relatives, or anonymously donated.
What are the laws?
Surrogacy is legal in the UK, however, it cannot be advertised.
No third parties are allowed to be involved and surrogates can only receive payments to cover expenses incurred as a result of being pregnant.
In the US, surrogacy costs around $100,000 (£75,879), with laws varying between states.
Source: Surrogacy UK