Woman who had hysterectomy at 26 raising £25,000 to become a mum

A woman who cannot carry her own baby after cervical cancer at the age of 26 is asking strangers to help her become a mum.

Petra Hall is trying to raise £25,000 to fund private IVF and medical expenses, after a loved one read about her story on social media and offered to become a surrogate for her and partner Jonas. 

The 40-year-old was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cervical cancer in 2006 and had a lifesaving operation to remove her womb and cervix.

Surgeons left her ovaries – meaning that, while she could not carry a baby, her eggs could be used to conceive one.

After turning 40 and realising her eggs would not be viable for much longer, she turned to Facebook – sharing her plight and asking for advice on surrogacy, which is not routinely available on the NHS.

Then a family member, who she would prefer not to name, offered to carry her baby.

Petra, of Tottenham, north London, said: “As a woman, not being able to carry your own child is a huge loss.

“I’d always had this fantasy in my head about having the perfect pregnancy, and the rush of love I’d feel as soon as I gave birth.

“But I have realised that’s not always important. I don’t need to carry a child to be a biological mother. I’ll still love my child just as much if we use a surrogate.

“Being able to try to have the chance biological child would mean the world to us.

“Jonas and I would love to be parents. It’s such a privilege to be part of a child’s life – to nurture them and watch them grow.”

Turning 40 in November last year was a pivotal moment for Petra, who suddenly realised that if she wants a chance to be a biological mum, her time was running out.

“When I got the all-clear from cancer, it took me a long time to be in the right place in my life to start a family,” she said.

“But when 40 started looming, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I cried on my birthday, as it felt as though the chances of becoming a mum were slipping away. When I asked for advice on Facebook, I got a great response.”

She continued: “A lot of my friends knew someone who had experience with surrogacy and shared some really helpful information.

“Then, a week later, a family member phoned and said, ‘I’ll be your surrogate’.

“I was gobsmacked and unbelievably grateful that she was willing to perform this selfless act of kindness for us.”



Petra now realises that there were signs of something being wrong with her from the age of 20, when she experienced very light spotting – bleeding that was not related to her menstrual cycle – but thought nothing of it.

Then, in late March 2006 – when she was living in Bristol, she suddenly began to bleed more heavily between periods.

Concerned, she visited her doctor who performed a smear test, which detected abnormal cells – which, while they often have no sinister cause, can indicate cancer.

A few weeks after receiving the results, she was sent to Bristol Royal Infirmary for a colposcopy – where a microscope is used to examine the cervix and lower womb and liquid is applied to highlight any abnormal areas.

But she “freaked out” at the appointment, so the consultant talked her through the procedure, which was then postponed to a later date – giving her a chance to calm down.

Finally, in June, a few weeks after the colposcopy went ahead, she received a phone call asking her to return to hospital as soon as possible.

Petra’s worst fears were realised when medics broke the news that she had adenocarcinoma cervical cancer, a less common form of the disease.

According to the charity Jo’s Trust, adenocarcinoma makes up 15 to 20 per cent of cervical cancer cases in the UK and can be more difficult to detect using a smear test, because it develops within the cells lining the cervical canal.

Petra was told she could either have just her cervix removed, or opt for a full hysterectomy, which would mean surgeons removing her womb, too.

She decided to have the full hysterectomy to give herself the best chance possible of surviving.



Woman who had hysterectomy at 26 raising £25,000 to become a mum

In the months that followed, Petra became increasingly aware of the repercussions of the operation and says she spent a long time mourning the loss of the chance to carry her own baby.

For the next five years, during which time she moved to London, Petra had regular check-ups, before being given the all clear in May 2012 – a moment she says was “bittersweet”.

The idea of one day becoming a mother was never far from her mind, but she decided to wait until she had met the right man.

Then, in July 2016, she matched with design director Jonas Christensen on a dating app, and told him on their second date that she would not be able to carry children.

Jonas was understanding and their relationship went from strength to strength.

They both knew that they wanted children but, without a surrogate, had no idea where to start.

Everything changed when Petra turned 40 and now, she and Jonas are one step closer to realising their parenthood dream.

“We really are on our last chance,” she said.



Woman who had hysterectomy at 26 raising £25,000 to become a mum

Petra’s best friend, Gina launched a GoFundMe page, hoping that kind strangers will donate to their cause to help with the steep cost of IVF.

A single cycle of IVF at a private clinic in the UK can cost thousands.

Petra, who runs an online accessories shop, said: “We’ve been quoted approximately £15,000 for one round of IVF. Just to have the opportunity to have one round would be incredible.”

How well it goes will depend on how many embryos doctors can make from Petra’s eggs.

Currently, surrogacy is legal in the UK, but cannot be paid, aside from reasonable expenses.

Petra says any leftover funds will be donated to Jo’s Trust, a cervical cancer charity that helped her when she was diagnosed.

She added: “It’s been so overwhelming to firstly have the generous offer of surrogacy and then for people to want to help us have a baby.

“Words just cannot describe how grateful we are.”

To donate, visit https://uk.gofundme.com/f/how-do-you-like-your-eggs-in-the-morning

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