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Woman, 55, Gives Birth to Grandchildren

Surrogate Pregnancy In Va. Produces Triplets

By Michael D. Shear and Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, December 29, 2004; Page B01

RICHMOND, Dec. 28 -- Tina Cade gave birth to her daughter 29 years ago. On Tuesday, at 55, she gave birth to her daughter's three children.

Just hours after the births of two boys and a girl by Caesarean section at 12:22, 12:23 and 12:24 p.m., the proud parents declared grandma and babies to be doing well and said they hoped their extraordinary medical story would inspire other couples who have trouble conceiving.

Tina Cade, right, with daughter Camille Hammond on Dec. 18. Hammond has a condition that makes it difficult for her to become pregnant. (Bruce Parker -- Richmond Times-dispatch Via AP)

Video: A 55-year-old woman said she was feeling better after giving birth to triplets that she carried as a surrogate for her daughter.

"Mommy's doing fine," the new father, Jason Hammond, 29, told reporters at a news conference at Bon Secours St. Mary's Hospital. Then, motioning to his wife, Camille Hammond, he added: "Not this mommy. Grandma mommy. She's upstairs, doing well."

The Hammonds, who live outside Baltimore and are medical residents at Johns Hopkins Hospital, said they had tried for several years to have a child but failed in six attempts at in-vitro fertilization. Camille Hammond has endometriosis, a condition that affects the lining of the uterus.

It was then that Cade, who works at the University of Richmond, offered to become pregnant for the couple, a proposal that Hammond said her mother had been contemplating since Hammond's condition was diagnosed in 1993.

"My mother approached us and asked if she could carry our babies," said Camille Hammond, who teared up during the news conference.

The couple resisted at first, Hammond said, fearful for Cade's health, but eventually relented. In May, doctors implanted three embryos formed by Camille Hammond's eggs and Jason Hammond's sperm into Cade, who was past menopause. Her primary doctor, James E. Jones Jr., said the process required coaxing Cade's uterus "out of retirement" for what turned out to be a 33-week pregnancy.

Fertility experts said there have been similar cases, though the exact number is unknown. Such cases can enable infertile couples to have children while avoiding the expense and legal difficulties that can happen when an unrelated woman serves as a surrogate.

"When families are emotionally sound, I think this is an ethically good thing," said Arthur Caplan, a medical ethicist at the University of Pennsylvania.

But such cases also can raise a host of troubling issues, legally, socially and medically, other experts said Tuesday.

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