'We've waited seven years for our baby'
LIKE any expectant mother, Marie McPhelimy is counting down the days until her baby arrives.
However, in her case, it will be her sister Sharon O'Shea – who offered to act as a surrogate – who will give birth in just a few weeks.
"She's an amazing person anyway, not just because she's doing this," said Marie from her home in Ballybofey, Co Donegal.
Marie, who married husband John seven years ago, was just 16 years old when she learned that she would never be able to carry a child because her uterus did not develop normally.
"Surrogacy was something my sister always said she would do, but at 16 you're not thinking about having a baby and I didn't think we would be doing something like that.
"It was only after John and I got married that we decided to go for it. It wasn't a tough decision, and as John was aware all along, it wasn't an issue between us.
"We're very excited; we've waited seven years for this wee person," said a thrilled Marie.
She said that because her sister was acting as surrogate rather than someone she doesn't know, it has made the whole process more personal.
Marie said she knows she faces a legal battle to be recognised as the child's legal mother.
"The lack of legislation [around surrogacy] is a concern. As it stands at the minute, the person who gives birth is considered the legal mother and, if she is married, her husband is considered the father.
"For John and I, we will have to produce DNA evidence and have a court situation, so we would love to see it legislated for because there are other couples out there too facing this," she said.