Annie Peverelle has been a surrogate to three families over the past six years but despite describing pregnancy as an addiction, the 40-year-old has no intention of giving birth to her own child.
Annie, from Rugby, Warickshire, gave birth for the fourth time in January 2019 for couple Amanda and Jason McKeane, 42 and 43, after being a surrogate to their first daughter, Effie, four years ago.
“I adore being pregnant, it’s addictive,” she explains. “I have never had morning sickness and the last three labours were no longer than two hours and very easy.
“I love the feeling of growing a new life for someone who can’t do it themselves and the thrill of seeing a positive pregnancy test.
“Seeing that first scan and feeling the little kicks are just amazing.”
The idea of surrogacy was first suggested to Annie by a colleague as a bit of a joke.
“I was desperate to experience pregnancy, but I didn’t want to have a baby,” she says.
“I couldn’t get [the idea] off my mind, so I researched it and before I knew it, I was at a social event with other surrogates and parents-to-be.”
Annie certainly isn’t the only woman who claims to be addicted to being pregnant.
While being a bumpaholic isn’t actually addictive in the same way alcohol and narcotics can be, many women claim to crave the feelings associated with being pregnant.
From the special attention you get from others when you’re pregnant, to the knowledge you’re nurturing a life inside you, for many woman being pregnant is a high that is hard to ignore.
A quick scroll of parenting sites reveals countless examples of women turning to the Internet for advice on their pregnancy ‘addiction.’
“I only had a baby 2 weeks ago but I really can’t wait to have my next,” one woman wrote on Mumsnet in a post entitled ‘I think I’m addicted to pregnancy.’
“Yes it’s a long 9 months and yes labour is painful but it’s entirely worth it. To me there is no better feeling than seeing a positive ovulation test, DTD (doing the deed) and then 2 weeks later seeing those 2 lines appear. Also the scans and feeling baby move is such an amazing experience,” she added.
And her post triggered responses from others who also admit to loving being pregnant.
Keen to explore her own desire to experience pregnancy, Annie was first introduced to a couple desperate to have children through charity Surrogacy UK.
Amanda, who is a veterinary nurse and her husband Jason were desperate to start a family and after miscarrying her first at seven weeks, she was unable to become pregnant again.
After two years of investigations, Amanda, then 34 was diagnosed with grade 1a endometrial cancer – she had a year to freeze her embryos before undergoing a total hysterectomy.
“After losing my first baby, I was unable to get pregnant again, we were distraught, so we decided to have a break from trying,” Amanda explains. “Two years later, the tests continued to say negative, so the doctors ran some tests and what they thought was a fibroid, was actually the early stages of cancer.
“I was in total shock; I had no symptoms and it’s uncommon for someone my age to have this cancer. Thankfully, we found it at the very early stages, so It was cured after a hysterectomy, I didn’t need radiation or chemotherapy.”
Amanda says that infertility meant surrogacy was the couple’s only option left and after getting 14 embryos frozen they started attending surrogacy socials where they kept bumping into Annie who was pregnant with her first surrogate baby.
Surrogacy UK host events throughout the year which gives surrogates the chance to meet parents-to-be, before choosing who they want to carry a baby for.
Six months after becoming friends with Annie, the couple got the call that Annie was prepared to act as their surrogate.
Having given birth to their first baby, Effie, Annie asked if the couple would like her to act as a surrogate to give Effie a sibling, to which they readily agreed and Jude, was born in January this year.
“Effie knows that ‘mummy’s tummy is broken and auntie Annie carried her – I couldn’t thank her enough!
Annie explains that a surrogate is provided with expenses before and during the pregnancy are covered by the family and surrogates are also entitled to maternity leave.
“No surrogate will ever be out of pocket, as all expenses pre-pregnancy and during are covered by the family along with maternity leave from the workplace,” she explains.
“This includes travel costs, vitamins, food and loss of worktime, with Jude I went swimming so this was paid for too.
But there’s another, far more important, reason Annie loves being a surrogate.
“I get the privilege of seeing my friends fall in love with their baby from the second they hold them.”
The admin worker says her husband Steve, 49 who she met the night before her first surrogate social is totally supportive of her and really admires what I do.
“I wouldn’t have my life any other way!”