From a young age, Sue Fisher dreamed of getting married and becoming a mother.
‘That was my life plan,’ she tells New Idea simply.
After marrying at 16, she had welcomed a son, Clive, and daughter, Claire, in her teens before ‘life took over’ and Sue found herself a doting grandma at the age of 36.
With the breakdown of her 30-year marriage 10 years later had come a familiar pang – a longing to be pregnant so she could give someone else a family.
But Sue had already gone through the natural cycle of menopause and so surely there was no way she could become a mum again.
‘Being a surrogate came to the front of my mind,’ she says.
‘It was something I’d considered before, but after getting divorced and not having to look after my family any more, I thought it was the perfect time.’
By now Sue was 50, but undeterred she reached out to a surrogacy organisation who she says told her they had never been approached by anyone her age before.
While they agreed in principal that she could become a mum again, they advised her to find a clinic willing to work with her as a gestational surrogate.
It meant an embryo would be implanted into her womb – as opposed to having her own eggs artificially inseminated.
‘That was the first time I got very nervous about the idea,’ Sue, from Birmingham, UK, admits.
‘It had all seemed like a perfect plan until that point, but looking around I was, by far, the oldest surrogacy candidate there. I started to worry that no-one would ask me because of my age. I can’t blame them – I probably would be a bit more of a risk.’
Sue’s fairytale ending looked like it might be derailed – but during an informal surrogacy social meeting she found herself chatting to a man called Gary.
Hitting it off, Sue learned he and his partner Andy were desperate to have children.
She had found the couple she was destined to help...
Sue told Surrogacy UK she was willing to carry a baby for them, and they put in a call to Gary on New Year’s Eve, in 2012, to say a potential surrogate had come forward.
‘They knew straight away that it was me who had said yes,’ Sue explains.
‘But the way it works, the original call has to be anonymous. There were lots of tears when we knew we were going to go ahead.
‘The boys were happy they had found someone, and I was delighted I was going to be a surrogate.’
Three months of meetings with the couple followed, in which they became firm friends and made decisions about what would happen before, during and after the pregnancy.
Sue agreed to invasive procedures and check-ups, and they decided they would stay in touch after the birth.
Sue even chose her daughter to be her birthing partner.
However, tragically, the trio’s first attempt to have an embryo implanted failed.
The disappointment led them to take a break for several months before Sue was implanted with the final two embryos in August 2013.
Two weeks later, she felt the strong and familiar sense of heartburn and knew... She was pregnant!
‘The heartbreak of the first attempt not working was horrible, but it was a fantastic moment when I got the heartburn,’ says Sue.
‘It was the same as my pregnancies in my teenage years and I just knew.’
But there was still a surprise in store for Sue.
After informing a delighted Andy and Gary of the good news, they were all completely shocked when the results of the six-week scan came in.
Sue was carrying twins.
‘Andy and Gary were over the moon when I told them and were so excited that they were having twins.
‘I was ecstatic it had worked so well and really pleased they had two strong heartbeats,’ Sue smiles. In fact, Sue reveals that the pregnancy was the easiest of the three she has had.
While she went into early labour at 33 weeks, the adorable twins, Marnie and Dexter, were born happy and healthy in March 2014. With their births, Sue became one of the oldest women ever to be a surrogate mum for strangers.
Since the birth, she has stayed very good friends with the couple and sees the twins, who are now four, on a regular basis Sue even gets to go on the occasional holiday with the unique family.
‘The whole experience has been fantastic. I’m so happy I did it,’ Sue beams.