When Jessica Allen offered her services as a surrogate, she may have thought that it was her chance to bring joy to another family. When she discovered that one of the babies who she’d borne was actually hers, however, she was horrified. And little did Allen know the struggle that would commence when she tried to get her child back.
Allen and her husband Wardell Jasper come from Perris in California. With their two beautiful children, Jairus and Jeramiah, the couple looked to have the perfect family. And Allen was keen that other people got to experience the same joy of parenthood too.
So, in the fall of 2015, the mom of two decided to offer her services as a surrogate – despite the fact that she’d only given birth to her second son, Jairus, six months prior. Still, Allen was keen to help another family achieve their dreams – and her husband was completely on board.
Allen said in an October 2017 interview with the New York Post, “‘This is your chance to give a family the blessing of a child,’ Wardell told me. Besides, I wanted to stay at home with my sons rather than return to my job as a senior caregiver. We decided we’d put the money toward buying a house.”
Allen consequently signed up with Omega Family Global, a San Diego-based surrogacy agency. And before long, the agency had paired her with a Chinese couple who were looking for an American surrogate. Then, in April 2016, Allen was ready to have a frozen embryo surgically implanted into her womb.
Thankfully, the procedure was a success, and with the embryo implanted, Allen fell pregnant with someone else’s child as planned. As her contract outlined, she also refrained from sexual relations with her husband until an IVF doctor told her that doing so was safe.
When Allen attended her six-week scan, however, she had quite a shock. The doctor revealed that she was carrying two babies, which the surrogate found a little perturbing. Still, the fact that Allen would receive an extra $5,000 for the additional child, on top of her $30,000 fee, slightly eased her concerns.
Allen subsequently gave birth to the babies 38 weeks into her pregnancy at Riverside Community Hospital in California. Doctors delivered the two boys via cesarean section. And, fortunately, everything went to plan when it came to the delivery. But in the days that followed the birth, things started to unravel for Allen.
The Chinese lady who had paid Allen to be a surrogate was present at the birth. However, the aspiring mom failed to honor part of the contract that she’d signed, which stated that Allen was entitled to spend an hour with the babies. Instead, the boys were taken away immediately after their birth before Allen could even see them.
So you can imagine Allen’s surprise when she finally got to see a picture of the “twins” sometime later. Even as newborns, it was clear to see that the boys didn’t resemble one another at all. In fact, it looked like they each had different ethnicities.
“One, his skin tone was much fairer than the other. One looked full Chinese, the other didn’t look full Chinese,” Allen told People in November 2017. “It was very clear that they were not identical… but I didn’t ask questions.”
But while Allen was willing to hold her tongue for the time being, it turned out that the Chinese woman felt that something was amiss too. Less than one month after the babies’ birth, in fact, she messaged Allen with a picture of the babies, saying, “They are not the same, right? Have you thought about why they are different?”
Then, one week later, the concerned parties found themselves awaiting news on DNA tests. And the results were absolutely staggering. While one baby’s DNA matched that of the Chinese couple, the other had Allen and her husband’s genes.
It transpired that Allen had experienced what is known as superfetation. This rare event occurs when a woman continues to release eggs during her pregnancy. As a result, Allen was able to become pregnant with her own child while already carrying the surrogate baby.
And upon discovering that one of the boys was not theirs, the Chinese couple wanted nothing to do with him. Since they were his legal parents, however, they could put the child up for adoption without even consulting Allen and Jasper. Furthermore, the pair wanted as much as $22,000 in compensation.
But as Allen and Jasper had already spent the majority of their surrogacy payout on a new house, they couldn’t afford to pay any compensation. Their main focus, as it happens, was getting their son back before the Chinese couple – or the surrogacy agency – put him up for adoption. As a result, the parents embarked on a lengthy battle to bring their baby home.
Allen and Jasper therefore hired an attorney, who managed to get the surrogacy agency to reduce its compensation fee to zero. Then after three failed attempts at picking up their son, the couple finally reunited with him in February 2017. And, needless to say, it was a moment that the pair will never forget.
Allen and Jasper named their son Malachi. And nine months down the line, the baby was thriving with his biological family. “He’s beautiful, he’s healthy and his personality is hilarious,” Allen revealed to the New York Post. “He loves his big brothers, is learning to walk and is starting to speak.”
Not everything was peachy for Allen and Jasper, however, since their legal battles had left them in a lot of debt. Furthermore, they were yet to receive Malachi’s social security card or birth certificate. As a result, Allen vowed that she’d never volunteer as a surrogate again. In her interview with People, she even described her experience of trying to bring Malachi home as “a nightmare.”
Today, though, the family are just happy to have their son with them, where he belongs. “We wouldn’t be able to live with ourselves knowing that [Malachi] was out there in the care of someone else,” Allen explained to People. “Knowing that for the first two months of his brand new life that he was in the arms of strangers, that breaks my heart. It’s really heartbreaking.”