A surrogate mother has been forced into a bitter custody battle for her son after she unknowingly gave birth to her own biological baby while also carrying the other couple’s child.
Jessica Allen, from California, where surrogacy is legal, had no idea she and her now husband Wardell Jasper had fallen pregnant with their own baby after the other couple’s embryo was transferred into her uterus.
When doctors told the 31-year-old she was carrying two babies, she assumed the transferred embryo had split in two to create identical twins.
However it wasn’t until a month after birth that she learned the two babies were not actually related and one was the biological son of both her and Mr Jasper, who is African-American.
The Chinese woman whose baby Ms Allen was carrying sent her a picture of the “twins” at four weeks old.
She told the New York Post the other woman asked her: “They are not the same, right? Have you thought about why they are different?”
In the photograph, Mike* was visibly of Asian descent, while Max was half-white and half African-American.
A DNA test revealed Mike was a biological match to the Chinese couple, while Max was Ms Allen’s.
"It turned out that, in an extremely rare medical incident called superfetation, we had gotten pregnant naturally, despite using condoms, after the IVF cycle during which [the couple's] embryo was transferred into my uterus," she told the New York Post.
Despite the DNA results, the process of getting her son back was a nightmare for Ms Allen and her husband.
The Chinese couple reportedly no longer wanted Max after the revelation, and sought an adoption agency to find another family for him, and demanded between $23,000 and $28,000 as compensation.
"It was like Max was a commodity and we were paying to adopt our own flesh and blood," she said.
Ms Allen and Mr Jasper hired a lawyer who entered into aggressive negotiations with the surrogacy agency and reduced eventually agreed to drop the fee and hand Max over, on February 5, two months later. The infant’s biological parents renamed him Malachi.
"The moment was incredibly emotional, and I started hugging and kissing my boy," Allen said.
"It's now been nearly nine months since we got Malachi, and he is doing well.
"He's beautiful. He's healthy and his personality is hilarious.
Malachi is a little brother to Ms Allen’s and Mr Jasper’s other children Jairus, 2, and Jeramiah, 7.
*Name has been changed.