After 43-year-old Constantina Ontou had to remove her uterus following a cancer diagnosis, she never thought she would experience the joy of having her own child.
But Christmas came early for Constantina this year, welcoming her baby girl into the world on Tuesday 20 December thanks to the generosity of her mother and a successful court ruling.
Sixty-seven-year-old Anastassia Ontou from Larissa offered to carry her daughter’s baby, and has since become the world’s oldest surrogate.
“This is a heroic grandmother,” supervising obstetrician and director of GENESIS Athens, Constantinos Pantos told ERT.
Ms Ontou carried the baby for seven-and-a-half months with few complications, and was born via caesarian, weighing 1.2 kilograms.
“I feel more like a grandmother than a mother,” Ms Ontou said, adding that she never hesitated to help her daughter in her time of need.
“It was an easy decision for me – my daughter was heartbroken after not being able to carry the baby herself.”
Following seven failed pregnancy attempts and the removal of her uterus, doctors managed to successfully collect Constantina’s eggs, fertilise them with her husband’s sperm and freeze them as embryos.
Despite wishing for a child however, Constantina admits to thinking her mother was “crazy” to make such an offer, but is over the moon with the birth of her daughter.
“I told her she’s crazy… we haven’t cried like this in years,” she said.
While the Guinness Book of Records lists 66-year-old Maria del Carmen Bousada Lara from Spain as the oldest mother, according to Dr Pantos the record has once again been broken.
“Based on international records, this is the oldest surrogate mother who is also a grandmother, based on her daughter’s medical condition,” he said.
While Dr Pantos admits to initially having had reservations about the pregnancy, he says he decided to go ahead with it following its approval by a court in Larissa.
With the surrogate and baby said to be in good health following the pregnancy, this is a world breakthrough for the team of GENESIS Athens.
“For us, this case was another great scientific challenge and one more boundary to surpass. Unique success stories, like the one presented today, are the reasons why Greece has become the starting point of the dream for many reproductively challenged couples from around the globe,” Dr Pantos said.