One Life: Three Sisters Make One Baby

Director: BBC
Year: 2005
Country: UK
Duration: 60 mins
Rating: N/A

Filed under: Surrogacy, Documentary

Alex Patrick, 32, underwent chemotherapy to treat her cervical cancer four years ago and then discovered she was unable to have children. 'It was more upsetting than the cancer itself', she said. When her sisters found out that she had become infertile, Alex's twin sister, Charlotte Pestell, offered to donate eggs. These were collected from her after a period of hormone treatment then fertilised in a laboratory with sperm from Ms Patrick's husband, Shaun. Ms Patrick's older sister, 35-year old Helen Ritchie, then had an embryo transferred into her womb. The sisters, who underwent the treatment at the Bath Assisted Conception Unit in Somerset, were told that there was only a 25 per cent chance of it resulting in a successful pregnancy. However, Ms Ritchie became pregnant on the first attempt. While she said she developed a close bond with the child, having carried him for nine months, she said she 'didn't see it as giving him away' and added; 'from day one I never thought of him as my own. We always said we were 'making a baby' for Alex, not 'giving' her one'. (Aired Monday 31 October 2005, 21:00)

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This Biomedical Ethics Film Library is being presented in partnership with European Medical Students' Association (EMSA)