After trying unsuccessfully to have a child for the previous seven years, Monike Huggins, 50, and her husband Kenneth, decided to employ a surrogate. The couple, who are from Houston, made this choice after going through a miscarriage and three unsuccessful rounds of IVF. But the pair quickly suffered another setback. After a successful IVF transfer, their surrogate, Anjela Borhman, became pregnant with twins of different sexes. She soon learned the girl baby had not lived.
In a last-minute attempt, Monike went through one more round of IVF with a female embryo and was shocked to discover it was successful. As a result, Anjela gave birth to a baby boy, who they named Kenny, in May 2021 – and Monike gave birth to their daughter, Hailey, four months later. Monike explains that when she and Kenneth married in 2015, the pair knew they wanted to start a family together.
Monike Huggins also has an older son from her first marriage – says: ‘I got pregnant naturally not long after our marriage but miscarried at the same time Kenneth was diagnosed with prostate cancer. ‘It was devastating, but we both decided to go ahead and freeze my remaining eggs and his sperm. “We tried IVF for the first time in Houston, it was extremely costly at £22,100, so it made it even worse when it wasn’t successful. ‘Over the space of four years, we tried IVF three times, once in Houston and twice in Prague where it was much cheaper excluding travel costs at £3,700.’ ‘After zero success, we were slowly l.osing hope, until we considered surrogacy.’
In 2018, the couple were placed on a waitlist with a surrogacy agency, and were eventually matched up with Anjela. She said: ‘Anjela was lovely, we couldn’t have asked for a better surrogate. “We were down to our last male embryo, and had six female embryos left, so we had the male and a female embryo implanted. ‘Sadly, Anjela l.ost the female during her pregnancy, it was another heart-breaking blow, but we were happy that the baby boy was healthy and growing. ‘It was also quite difficult not being able to see Angela often, as we were in different states and Covid brought along a whole new bout of problems. ‘As we had five female embryos left, we decided to try one more round of IVF. ‘We went in without much hope and were so shocked when we found out I was pregnant.
Due to the fact that Monike was 48 and 49 at the time of her pregnancy, she was monitored closely. She adds: ‘Kenny was born while I was still pregnant, so it was definitely a challenge juggling a newborn while being pregnant. ‘When Hailey was born, we just felt so blessed that we had two healthy happy babies after all of those years trying. ‘It was very costly, and so long, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.’
In total, the couple have spent around £140,000 on fertility treatment. As Monike, and Kenneth are older parents, they say they hope to make every day as memorable as possible, while also preparing their children for the future. Monike continues: ‘I’ve been told I’m quite a good-looking mum and that I don’t look 50. ‘Kenneth’s mother lived until she was 97, and you never know, we might live until we are 100. ‘We try to live in the moment and take each day as it comes. Being young is still no guarantee that you’ll be there for each milestone of your child’s life, anything can happen. ‘We plan on making so many memories with them and traveling the world every chance we get. ‘But we both know that we’re in a later stage in life, so we have started a fund for the children in case anything happens.’