As new mum Laura Boyd looks forward to Christmas, her sister-in-law Jayne has already given her the most precious gift – her baby daughter.
Almost three years ago the STV entertainment reporter was left devastated after doctors said her cancer was too unstable for her ever to consider falling pregnant.
Laura, who has lived with chronic myeloid leukaemia for the last 10 years, and her husband Steven Ford feared their dream of becoming parents would never come true.
But Steven’s sister Jayne Ford-Anderson stepped in.
The big-hearted mum-of-two visited her brother and Laura and made a selfless offer.
With the support of her husband Danny, she volunteered to become their baby’s surrogate mother , offering to do whatever was medically necessary to help them bring their own son or daughter into the world.
Two weeks ago, Laura, 38, and Steven, 37, celebrated the safe arrival of their daughter Penelope thanks to surrogate Jayne.
And as the family look forward to spending Christmas together at Laura’s home in Glasgow, proud aunt Jayne is delighted to have given her brother and sister-in-law such a special gift.
Physiotherapist Jayne, 40, who is a mum to sons Joshua, seven, and Luke, four, said: “Offering to become a
surrogate for Laura and Steven was a simple and easy decision to make.
“My husband Danny and I have been so lucky to have had our own family and we know how much Steven and Laura wanted that too.
“If there was anything we could do to make their dream of becoming parents true, then we absolutely wanted to do it.
“We went to visit Laura and Steven and I offered to be their baby’s surrogate.
“Now I’m delighted to be getting lots of wonderful baby cuddles from my beautiful niece.”
Baby Penelope Jayne Tessa was born on Saturday, November 23, after being conceived with the help of IVF through the assisted conception service at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
She is the biological daughter of Laura and Steven. But the embryo they created was carried by Jayne.
Laura said: “Nowadays people are having babies in so many different ways but surrogacy is still something not many people really know about.
“It’s something celebrities do but it’s also an amazing way for couples like Steven and I to have our own child. The journey to have Penelope wasn’t always easy – in fact, it was very difficult at times.”
Jayne added: “It took us two-and-a-half years but we got there in the end.”
Laura and Steven were at their daughter’s birth, along with Jayne’s husband Danny.
Jayne said: “Penelope wasn’t due to be born for another few weeks, but I developed cholestasis, a pregnancy-related liver condition, so it was decided I should be induced two weeks early.”
Laura said: “Her whole arrival was such an amazing experience – although maybe not for Jayne, who was in labour.
“Jayne was told to come to the hospital on the Friday night to be induced, so we had 24 hours to get our heads around the fact that our little girl would be arriving early and very soon.
“I ended up going home and putting up our Christmas decorations to keep calm. On the Saturday morning, Steven, Danny and I went into the hospital to be with Jayne.”
After eight hours of labour, baby Penelope was delivered before being handed to mum Laura.
The thrilled star said: “Just before Penelope was born, the midwife called me down to see her head coming out.
“She told me to put my hand over her's to actually help deliver her. I didn’t expect that – but it was amazing.
“We had been told that because the umbilical cord may be short, Penelope would be placed onto Jayne, but once the cord was cut she was given to me, and we all took turns holding her.
“For all four of us to be there and have that time with her was so special.
“The midwives we had were lovely and kept telling us this felt like one of the most special births they had been involved in.”
Jayne says that despite carrying Penelope there has never been a moment when she felt like anything other than her aunt.
She said: “I was always carrying Penelope for my brother and sister-in-law.
“I’ve got my own family. This baby was always theirs.
“She is my niece and I love her. She’s not my child. Even biologically she is Steven and Laura’s baby.”
Laura has been overwhelmed by the response she has received since she first revealed in the Sunday Mail’s sister paper the Daily Record and on STV that she was set to become a mum.
She said: “Penelope has only been here for two weeks, but already it feels like she has been here forever.
“I can’t stop staring at her. Her facial expressions are hilarious. At night time she becomes a party animal. As soon as it hits 11pm, her eyes are wide open. I think we are going to have a little clubber on her hands.
“As she grows up she will always know the story of how she was born, and that her mummy was too sick to carry her, so her amazing auntie Jayne did. She will know that she is our baby, but that auntie Jayne kept her safe for us.
“Jayne is so amazing. We will never be able to thank her enough.
“I’ve got my next appointment at the Beatson (cancer unit) later this month and I plan to take Penelope with me to meet everyone there, as they have all played such an important part in her getting here.”