September 24, 2022

Surrogate mother of 13 calls it a day

Carole Horlock’s 2008 pregnancy — triplets for a Greek couple. 

British woman Carole Horlock, 49, plans to retire from a long and prolific career as a surrogate mother. After bearing 13 children for other people from 9 pregnancies, she holds the world record for surrogacies. But her current pregnancy is going to be her last. 

Ms Horlock married at 21 and had an unplanned daughter of her own. But she walked out on her husband because he was not involved enough in the child’s life. A second daughter came from another relationship. Then, in 1995, while working in a launderette, the idea of surrogacy came to her. “I was never going to change anybody’s life working in a launderette but becoming a surrogate has enabled me to look back and think I’ve done that and helped so many couples,” she told the Sun. 

Some of her partners (the newspapers are discreet about how many) were uneasy about surrogate pregnancies.

‘Carole says: “I’d had relationships before with men who told me they couldn’t deal with the surrogacies. My belief was that if the person was right for me, they would accept me and what was important to me. One partner said to me: ‘If you continue to be a surrogate, we’ll have to split up’ – so I said, ‘OK, we’ll split up’. He then agreed to try to deal with it, but I’d lost respect for him and withdrew emotionally.”’

Her current partner, Paul Brown, is very supportive, but an accident in 2004 nearly ruined their relationship. She discovered that Baby Number 9 was Paul’s child, not the commissioning father.

‘“Paul felt terrible he’d got me pregnant. We discussed whether we should take the baby back. But I couldn’t do that to another woman — it would have killed her. If I thought that she didn’t want him I would have him but I knew 100 per cent that she did. Afterwards Paul had a vasectomy so it couldn’t happen again. But I was thrown out of the surrogacy organisation I was using.”’

She relinquished the child easily, as she has with all the children. “I’ve never felt a pang of regret. I’ve never bonded with a baby when I’m pregnant — it happens [only] when I’m nursing them, and obviously has only happened with my own two girls.”   

Michael Cook
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surrogacy