Woman Delivers 10th, 11th, and 12th Surrogate Babies

An exhausted but happy Carole Horlock cradles newborn triplets in her arms.

But in a few days, she will hand the babies to a childless couple and will probably never see them again.

For most mothers, nothing could be worse. But Horlock -- Britain's most prolific surrogate mother -- won't lose a moment's sleep over it.

"I've never had a problem handing the babies over," she said after delivering the healthy triplets, her 10th, 11th and 12th surrogate babies.

"I don't bond with the babies in the womb," said Horlock, 41, who also has two daughters of her own. With my own children, the bonding came after they were born, as I nurtured and fed them. I've been cuddling the triplets and I've been very involved with them but they're not my children."

Horlock, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England, has been almost permanently pregnant for more than a decade.

The triplets' parents are a Greek couple in their 30's. The babies' mother, who had a hysterectomy two years ago after cancer, can still produce eggs but not carry a baby.

Embryos made from the father's sperm and mother's eggs were implanted into Horlock's womb at a Greek fertility clinic.

Doctors urged Ms Horlock to abort one of the triplets, warning that with her age there was a higher risk they would be born with disabilities, or die in birth. They also said her life could be in danger. She refused.

She gave birth by planned Caesarean section on March 15 in Athens at just over 35 weeks.

The boy, named Panagiotis, was born first weighing 5.6 pounds. Next came a girl named Paraskevi, who weighed 5.8 pounds, followed by another girl Helen, weighing 5.5 pounds. All are healthy.

Horlock has a daughter Steffanie, 16, born in 1991 in her first marriage. Three years later, she had another daughter, Megan, 13, from another relationship.

Her first surrogacy agreement was in 1995 and since then she has given birth to eight girls and four boys for childless couples, including a set of twins and the triplets.

The triplets are the first time she hasn't been the biological mother, and the first time she used IVF to become pregnant. In the previous agreements, she was artificially inseminated with the father's sperm.

Horlock receives "expenses" from couples she helps as payment is illegal. However, Horlock insists she is not motivated by money.

"To see the joy on the faces of couples who thought they'd never have children is special," she said.

Horlock will make no demands on the parents of the triplets beyond requesting an annual letter and photograph to let her know how they are doing.

But her surrogacy experiences have not all been positive. Her father rarely speaks to her, distressed that she is effectively giving away his grandchildren.

In 2004, after delivering a son, she found instead of being impregnated with the father's sperm, she had conceived with her partner of nine years, mechanic Paul Brown, 50.

Though the other couple took the child, the mistake led to Horlock being thrown out of the group, Cots (Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy), which links childless couples and surrogate mothers.

Horlock is planning one final pregnancy before she retires.