When Jessica Allen, already a mother of two, agreed to serve as a surrogate for $30,000 and the chance to help another family have a child, she could never have anticipated the legal, financial, and emotional hell she’d soon be sucked into. After signing up as a surrogate with Omega Family Global, Allen underwent in vitro fertilization and was soon pregnant with the baby of a Chinese couple referred to under the pseudonym, the ‘Lius.’
Six weeks later, however, doctors abruptly spotted a second baby in her scans. The medical staff provided by the surrogacy agency, she told The New York Post, implied to her that the “transferred embryo had split in two and the twins were identical.” But when she gave birth in December, she noted that “one was lighter than the other” and that “their faces were not identical.” In fact, she would later discover, one of the baby’s had DNA corresponding to her own and her husband’s — somehow, in an extremely rare scenario known as superfetation, they had conceived the child after Allen was already pregnant with the Lius’ baby. According to ABC News, there are only about 10 reported cases of superfetation in medical literature.
But when Allen tried to get her baby back from the Lius, Omega Family Global told them that the Lius and the surrogacy agency would require $22,000 and $7,000 in compensation respectively before the agency would return the child. When Allen told the agency she couldn’t afford such costs to retrieve her own flesh and blood, she said the agency threatened to adopt the baby out to recoup the money they supposedly owed.
“The main fact is, our child was kidnapped and held for ransom,” Allen’s husband, Jasper, told The Washington Post.
The Allens were forced to hire an attorney before the agency would agree to return their child. On February 5, she was finally reunited with her third child, Malachi, who is now 10 months old. But even now, as the Allens explained to The Washington Post, legal problems, such as the absence of Malachi’s birth certificate and Social Security card, are “far from being resolved.”
Watch an interview with Allen below.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.