A surrogate mother who carried twins and unknowingly gave birth to her own, biological son at the same time as a surrogate child says the Chinese couple who paid her for the pregnancy wanted $22,000 to give back her infant once they realized the mistake.
Jessica Allen and her husband now have full custody of their son Malachi, but are deep in debt and furious with the surrogacy agency, Omega Family Global. Allen says she will never be a surrogate again.
Allen, 31, tells PEOPLE that she gave birth to what she believed were identical twin boys in December 2016 as a surrogate for a Chinese couple. The babies were quickly whisked away to be with their legal parents before Allen had a chance to look at them — despite, Allen says, a contractual agreement that she’d be able to spend an hour with the two children she had brought into the world.
However, she noticed something strange when she saw a photo of the newborn babies later that night.
“One, his skin tone was much fairer than the other. One looked full Chinese, the other didn’t look full Chinese,” she tells PEOPLE. “It was very clear that they were not identical … but I didn’t ask questions.”
Allen, of Perris, California, says a case worker with the surrogacy agency assured her that although the children looked different, they were identical twins.
Omega Family Global and their lawyer did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Attorney Matthew J. Faust sent a letter to the New York Post that said both Allen and the agency are legally and contractually prohibited from giving details about the pregnancy.
“As with any pregnancy, issues do arise which require great care, attention to detail and respect for the process and the emotions of all involved. O.F.G. has worked exceedingly hard to meet those needs in the past and will continue to do so,” the statement said, in part.
The Chinese couple could not be reached for comment.
Weeks passed before Allen got a text message from the intended mother with photos of the infants, asking, “if I see that they look different.”
“She told me that she was having doubts that one belongs to her.”
“I Thought I Wasn’t Going to Get Him Back”
A DNA test determined that one of the boys was biologically the son of Allen and her husband Wardell Jasper. Allen, who already had two children with Jasper, was surprised to learn that she had gotten pregnant with her own child while carrying as a surrogate. The rare medical phenomenon is known as superfetation, in which a woman continues to ovulate after becoming pregnant.
Allen says she and her husband Jasper followed doctors’ orders and did not have sex until she was confirmed to be pregnant. She says she didn’t know she was ovulating in the early days of the pregnancy.
“I was completely in shock. I was panicking. My husband and I were panicking,” Allen tells PEOPLE. “We had no idea how this came about and we had no idea how we were going to prepare for a child over night. We just moved into a new house, we didn’t have any more money.”
Still, the couple was determined to bring their little boy, Malachi, home. But they weren’t prepared for the “emotional” road ahead.
Allen says she was told the couple wanted up to $22,000 to hand over the infant.
“I thought I wasn’t going to get him back because they were pressuring me to pay this money back first. Then they were saying that the intending mom was thinking about giving him up for adoption.
“I thought I had a child out there that I was gonna be forced to let go of all because I couldn’t buy him or because I couldn’t adopt him.”
She adds: “They wanted me to buy or adopt my own child.”
Allen says she isn’t angry with the intended mother, though — “It’s not her fault … The agency put it in her head that I was going to try to sue her. I never said those words,” Allen says.
“Since she was scared that I was going to sue her, she starts sending me all kinds of text messages.”
An Emotional Battle
Allen says she unsuccessfully tried to pick up her son three times.
“We tried to get him on numerous occasions, but one excuse they gave us was the intended parents didn’t want to sign over the power of attorney, so we didn’t get him,” Allen says. “We got another call and we were supposed to get him, then we didn’t because they were thinking about giving him up for adoption.”
She adds: “We tried to get him three different times and they just kept giving us an excuse.”
Malachi was finally handed over to her and Jasper, 34, in February.
Still, she says, battles with lawyers ensued and she says she and Jasper are in severe debt and still do not have Malachi’s birth certificate or social security card.
“It’s very stressful financially, it’s put us in debt. We’re barely getting by right now and it stressed me out emotionally because this agency turned their backs on me,” she tells PEOPLE.
“We wouldn’t be able to live with ourselves knowing that [Malachi] was out there in the care of someone else. Knowing that for the first two months of his brand new life that he was in the arms of strangers, that breaks my heart. It’s really heartbreaking.”
Surrogate Mom Gives Birth to Her Own Grandson
Now, Allen she’ll never be a surrogate again.
“I was considering being a surrogate again before I found out about my son, but after this whole entire nightmare … absolutely not,” she says. “I’d never do it again. I’m not the only one with a nightmare story, but I am the only one with a story like this.”
Malachi is now 10 months old, and, for Allen, watching her son grow has eased the heartache of the situation.
“He’s a little man. He’s like 10 months going on 10. He’s walking around already,” she tells PEOPLE with a laugh. “He’s trying to talk. He has an attitude and he’s funny and his personality is just goofy and bossy all at once.He walks around like he runs the world.”