To help her gay son, this amazing mom carried and gave birth to her own granddaughter.

Like many gay couples, Matthew Eledge and his husband Elliot Dougherty desperately wanted to have their own children. But being in a same-sex relationship called for them to be a little more creative in how they achieved that dream.

At 59 years old, Matthew’s mother, Cecile Eledge, was supportive and excited to be a grandma. So excited — that she offered to serve as the surrogate and carry her own grandchild.


While it began as sort of a family joke, eventually the idea grew into something inexplicably wonderful. Eledge and Dougherty’s daughter Uma Louise.

"It just seemed like a really beautiful sentiment on her part," Elliott told the BBC. "She's such a selfless woman."

However, the fertility specialist, Dr. Carolyn Maud Doherty,  listed it as a realistic possibility. So she had Cecile come in for a few tests, all of which she passed.

“She’s 61 years old and has lower blood pressure than the rest of us,” Matthew told Buzzfeed News.

“It’s important for people to note that not every 60-year-old is in good enough health to be a surrogate. There are probably only a handful of people across the country who can do this — only a handful of people who have done it,” Doherty told Buzzfeed News.

Cecile got pregnant after the first embryo transfer (Matthew’s sperm and an egg from Elliot's sister Lea), and on March 25th, she gave birth (naturally) to a 5 pound 13 ounce baby girl.

Their journey to becoming a family was not without struggle though. Elliot and Matthew live in Omaha, Nebraska, where they were no strangers to discrimination.

It’s one of many places where there is no non-discrimination legislation in place to ensure LGBTQ individuals have equal access to employment, housing, education and other resources without being targeted for their orientation/gender identity.

Eledge was even dismissed from his job upon announcing his upcoming marriage to Dougherty years ago. Thankfully his students fought for him, but it shouldn’t have come to that.

Similarly, same sex couples in Nebraska weren’t allowed to act as foster parents until 2017 after a ban was lifted.

The road to parenthood is long and arduous for millions of folks who desire to have children. But for same-sex couples, it’s often paved with more obstacles. When paired with social barriers and a lack of legislation, LGBTQ individuals have to fight two times as hard for their right to parent.

Surrogacy, as Matthew and Elliott found, is a potential solution.

For many same-sex couples like Eledge and Dougherty — and many hetero couples as well — surrogacy can make parenting a biological child a reality.  

It’s not surprising it’s become increasingly common.

In the last 17 years, more than 18,400 infants were born via gestational carriers like Cecile.

More and more, gay male couples have begun using surrogacy as a way to have their own biological children. The types of surrogates used range widely — some go through agencies, others find help through family members and friends, like Matthew and Elliott did — but the dream is the same; a chance at biological parenthood.

That said, IVF — which is what prospective parents have to do when they decide to pursue surrogacy — is expensive and therefore limiting in terms of who can really pursue it as an option.

So while LGBT equality is on the horizon, there are still many obstacles in the way, especially when it comes to becoming parents.

We can get closer by making things like health care, family planning, housing, employment and education more accessible, but most importantly, by ensuring each state offers legal protection from discrimination for all.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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