Australian mum-of-five pregnant with her own grandchild after her daughter was born without a uterus

An Australian mother-of-five is 30 weeks pregnant with her own grandchild after making a rare and incredible sacrifice for her daughter who is unable to carry her own baby.

Maree Arnold, 54, from Lilydale in Tasmania, offered to act as a surrogate for her daughter Meagan White’s baby after the 28-year-old found out in her teen years that she had a rare medical disorder.

Meagan was diagnosed at the young age of 17 with Mayer-Rokitansky-Hauser syndrome (MRKH), a disorder that meant she was born without a uterus and therefore could never carry a child.

Maree Arnold (left), 54, from Tasmania, offered to act as a surrogate for her daughter Meagan White’s (right) baby after the 28-year-old found out in her teen years that she had a severe condition

The rare syndrome affects about one in every 5,000 women.

‘When I was a teenager, I was waiting around to start my menstrual cycle and it never happened,’ Meagan said.

‘Mum and I went to see a doctor and discovered I had MRKH, which means I was born without a uterus and therefore would never have a period.’

While it meant she could never have a child, Meagan, who has a background in nursing, said she did have working ovaries which meant she could have a biological child through surrogacy.

Meagan was diagnosed at 17 with Mayer-Rokitansky-Hauser syndrome (MRKH), a disorder that meant she was born without a uterus and therefore could never carry a child (Pictured: Meagan and her mother Maree)

Meagan was diagnosed at 17 with Mayer-Rokitansky-Hauser syndrome (MRKH), a disorder that meant she was born without a uterus and therefore could never carry a child (Pictured: Meagan and her mother Maree) 

‘Of course, as I was just a teenager at the time, I didn’t think about it much,’ she said.

But when Meagan met her now-husband Clayde, 28, in 2015, she realised that she wanted to be a mother and start a family.

‘Thankfully he was always so supportive of me and said we were going to be parents one day no matter what it took for it to happen.’

Meagan didn't think about the fact she couldn't have children unless she took the surrogacy route until she met her now-husband Clayde (pictured right) and realised she wanted a family

Meagan didn’t think about the fact she couldn’t have children unless she took the surrogacy route until she met her now-husband Clayde (pictured right) and realised she wanted a family

The couple began to pursue surrogacy and eventually found a volunteer in Canada named Allison through an agency in January 2019.

Meagan and Clayde were able to connect with the volunteer online for nine months and get to know her.

The couple then flew to Canada in September 2019 to meet Allison in person.

‘Shortly after returning home to Australia, we went ahead with the first transfer which failed, but the second was successful and Allison got pregnant in December 2019,’ Meagan said.

The couple began to pursue the surrogacy path and eventually found a volunteer in Canada named Allison through an agency in January 2019

The couple began to pursue the surrogacy path and eventually found a volunteer in Canada named Allison through an agency in January 2019

However, the couple received tragic news when they found out in March 2020 that their baby girl hadn’t developed kidneys and wouldn’t survive.

Meagan was shattered and feared that her dream of becoming a mother would never come true.

‘Everyone was heartbroken, and after that I just felt like giving up. Then once the pandemic began, overseas travel was prohibited, so everything felt impossible.’

Their surrogate got pregnant in December 2019, but the couple were left heartbroken when they found out in March 2020 that their baby girl hadn't developed kidneys and wouldn't survive

Their surrogate got pregnant in December 2019, but the couple were left heartbroken when they found out in March 2020 that their baby girl hadn’t developed kidneys and wouldn’t survive

Meagan’s mother Maree said she was heartbroken watching her daughter suffer but never imagined she could volunteer to be a surrogate, as she believed she would be deemed ‘too old’ to be allowed to carry a child.

But after extensive research, legal advice, medical screenings and psychological assessments, doctors deemed it possible.

With Maree already having gone through menopause, she was given medications to reverse the process and thicken her uterus lining to prepare for pregnancy.

The mother-of-five, who runs her own farm, said: ‘I always just assumed I’d be too old to do something like this but it just goes to show you always need to ask questions.

‘I believe 45 is the usual cut off, however as I am her mother, the doctors are more lenient.’

After three failed embryo transfers, Meagan and Maree said they both began to feel a bit defeated and thought perhaps the process was not going to work.

Maree said she was heartbroken watching her daughter suffer but never imagined she could be a surrogate until doctors deemed it possible after going through several processes (Pictured: Maree holding Meagan as a baby)

Maree said she was heartbroken watching her daughter suffer but never imagined she could be a surrogate until doctors deemed it possible after going through several processes (Pictured: Maree holding Meagan as a baby) 

But thankfully, the fourth transfer was a success and Maree is now nearly 30 weeks pregnant with her grandson.

‘I was very happy once we got past the first 20 weeks, after that I was really confident,’ Maree added.

The mother said that it is a memorable experience being able to help her daughter have a child.

Despite it being 22 years since she has been pregnant, Maree says she feels great and is embracing the journey.

She said: ‘I know that I’m obviously older with this pregnancy, and I do get a bit more tired than when I was last pregnant 22 years ago.

‘But I’m still up and about, mowing the lawns and doing this around the house. I feel great.

Despite it being 22 years since she has been pregnant, Maree says she feels great and is embracing the journey and that the entire family is ready to meet their grandson (Pictured: Maree and father Leigh with their five children)

Despite it being 22 years since she has been pregnant, Maree says she feels great and is embracing the journey and that the entire family is ready to meet their grandson (Pictured: Maree and father Leigh with their five children) 

Maree further added that in today’s age, people are able to get pregnant in many different ways and that the path her and her daughter are taking is one of them.

‘We really want to raise awareness to let people know this is possible. We all can’t wait to meet our grandson.’

Maree could possibly be Australia’s oldest surrogate to date, with Antonietta Di Maggio, from Sydney, making headlines back in 2015 for giving birth to her grandson for daughter Claudia Luca at the age of 53.

Meagan’s little boy is due to enter the world in January 2022 through a C-section.

She added: ‘It’s so funny, for the first 20 weeks I’ve been worrying about the baby, but now I’ve been worrying about mum.

‘Mum and I are so close, we talk every day. I can’t even put it into words how grateful I am for my mum. It’s so special.

‘There is nobody else I’d rather be going through this with.’