After suffering two ectopic pregnancies and five miscarriages, Sophie Smith, 33, and her husband Jack, 36 had all but given up hope to have children.
The pair spent over £50k on fertility treatment over the course of six years and despite this, they were diagnosed with unexplained infertility.
After a second ectopic pregnancy, Sophie had to have her second fallopian tube removed.
This encouraged her best friend, mum-of-two, Emiliana Hall, 34, to write her BFF of 20 years a heartfelt letter offering to carry the couple’s baby.
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Emiliana is now 27 weeks pregnant with her best friend’s baby and is due this April.
“I’m in awe of how she just carries on with her busy schedule whilst there’s a baby growing inside her!” Sophie said about her friend.
“She has been amazing at keeping me up to date with the progression of the baby - we FaceTime and text all the time. If you’d have told me when I was younger that my best friend would go on to carry my genetic baby I would have laughed.”
Sophie suffered her first of two ectopic pregnancies in November 2014 after seven months of trying to conceive.
“We were over the moon at first as we thought we were going to become parents. But at seven weeks after an early scan, I was told it was an ectopic pregnancy meaning the fertilised egg was implanted into my Fallopian tube.”
“I had surgery to remove the tube before trying again for a baby – I thought I had severe bad luck but when I had another two miscarriages in 2015, I knew something wasn't right.”
The time, which was described by Sophie as “emotional” and “heartbreaking” ended with the doctors telling her she had low egg reserves, a possible reason for the miscarriages.
The NHS recommended that the couple went private for IVF to try to have a baby using Sophie’s remaining fallopian tube.
They had four rounds of IVF at three different clinics and some of her treatments even included intralipid infusion therapy - an unusual form of treatment which involves a drip of eggs and soybean oil the same ingredients used in a jar of mayo.
It’s meant to suppress killer cells and prevent miscarriages, but after enduring hundreds of injections, each pregnancy ended in miscarriage or chemical pregnancy.
“In September 2017 after another loss I had pretty much hit rock bottom emotionally and mentally. I couldn’t leave the house let alone go to work - my brain and body shut down. The grief of losing so many pregnancies really hit me and I wanted to be a mum more than ever before.”
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Sophie and Jack took a break and went travelling. It wasn’t until they returned that Sophie started experiencing stomach pains and soon after suffered another ectopic pregnancy.
They transferred their final two embryos to Emiliana in July 2019.
“It was heart breaking seeing Sophie and Jack go through so much pain – especially because it was so easy for my husband James, 32, and I to have children.” Emiliana said.
“I thought about being a surrogate for two months before proposing the idea to Sophie as it isn’t the type of thing you can say and go back on.”
“I felt privileged to be in the IVF clinic without needing it for myself - I loved learning about the process and most of all helping my best friend.
“I will always have a special bond with the baby, but it won’t be like a mother and child connection.”