After her daughter went into premature labor and lost the baby, a North Dakota woman volunteered to act as a surrogate, carrying her own granddaughter— with an unusual benefit for her own health.
Sherri Dickson, 51, stepped up to carry the child for her daughter Mandy Stephens and son-in-law Jamie. She made the decision despite her age and a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease that compromises the central nervous system, which doctors warned could present complications, ABC News reported.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, MS may make it physically difficult to carry a pregnancy to term, and muscle weakness and coordination problems may increase the likelihood for falls.
But Dickson’s MS is in remission, and researchers believe becoming pregnant may keep it that way because of protective changes in the immune system.
Dickson underwent two attempts with in vitro fertilization and became pregnant by November 2014. Her granddaughter was born four weeks ago, according to ABC News.
“Pregnancy was easy,” Dickson told ABC News. “I was very fortunate … I was playing tennis a week before I delivered, and working out with my trainer, but the delivery at 51 was way harder than the delivery at 33 with my last baby.”
“It’s indescribable,” Dickson told the news network. “There are times I look at … [the baby] and say, ‘We did that, you know?’ We gave her what she wants. Not that you ever make up for a baby you lost but you give someone that hope, you know?”