For example, many states recognize the woman who gives birth to a baby as the legal mother, even if she is a surrogate, which can spur ugly custody battles. Virginia law, however, considers the mother to be the person who provided the embryo.
Some experts expressed concern about the health of the woman carrying the child, especially if she is older and has to take hormones. In-vitro fertilization frequently produces twins and triplets, which can be risky.
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.
"The challenge with in-vitro fertilization in a 55-year-old lady is that her cardiovascular system might not handle the load," Jones said. He said doctors will continue to monitor Cade for potential heart problems in the immediate aftermath of the delivery.
Such cases can also create unusual, sometimes difficult dynamics in family relationships.
"All those people will be at family gatherings for years to come. Someone who has had an involvement of a nine-month pregnancy may want to have a role that goes beyond the role of a traditional grandmother," said Lori B. Andrews, who studies reproductive issues at the Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Said R. Alta Charo of the University of Wisconsin at Madison: "The 55-year-old woman giving birth will be the genetic grandmother but gestational mother to the baby. The woman who will be doing the rearing will be the genetic mother but gestational sister. I find these arrangements personally troubling."
Jason Hammond said the experience of watching his mother-in-law grow with his children was "surreal." He praised Cade's husband, saying, "You can imagine he thought he was done dealing with a pregnant wife." And he praised Cade, who he said "is a wonderful lady who would do anything for her children -- as you can tell."
For all the novelty of the circumstances, both Hammonds seemed more shellshocked by the reality of suddenly becoming parents of triplets.
Jason Hammond said the couple has named the three children but has decided to keep the names secret for now. They are simply being called Baby A, Baby B and Baby C. The babies -- whose weights range from 3 pounds, 12 ounces to 4 pounds, 10 ounces -- should be able to go home within a few weeks, doctors said.
Camille Hammond said she was still grappling with the prospect that having three children could mean a new car and a bigger house. Jason Hammond said they had bought a stroller that fits three babies and joked that it provides "stadium seating" for the kids.
Camille Hammond said she hopes the birth of the children will help other couples.
"We just wanted to let people know if they're struggling with a problem . . . there may in fact be options they haven't considered that may be a little nontraditional," she said.