A US-based Nigerian couple have told how a surrogate ran away with their twins shortly after birth.
The surrogate mother, Gift Solomon, had in a statement from her lawyer on Monday alleged that the couple, Shullam and Gamaliel Onyemaobi, left their twins with her without financial support.
But the couple, responding to the PREMIUM TIMES survey by email on Thursday, said they had never given up on the children. They said it was the surrogate who took the children out of their reach.
Ms Solomon, through her lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, recounted her ordeal with her aunt.
The 25-year-old said the couple approached her and she agreed to the process “after a lot of pressure” as they couldn’t have children on their own.
She added that she agreed to become a surrogate mother after her aunt agreed to sponsor her studies abroad, take care of her parents’ medical bills and “take full care of her personal needs, prenatal and postnatal and other essential and accessory needs”.
“Following the acceptance of the above conditions by Mr and Mrs Onyemaobi, our client was admitted to a fertility clinic in Lagos State in February 2021 where she successfully underwent the traditional surrogacy process culminating in her pregnancy and the eventual delivery of a set of male twins named Chukwuemeka and Chinonso,” the statement read.
“However, our client informed us that shortly after donating her eggs which were retrieved and artificially inseminated to her using sperm allegedly from Mr. Onyemaobi, which resulted in her pregnancy, the couple l was left to her fate and showed no reasonable concern or care for her and her unborn babies.
“It took persistent complaints from our client before the couple reluctantly sent him a paltry sum of 600,000 Naira (six hundred thousand Naira only) in two installments of 400,000 Naira and 200,000 Naira respectively.”
The attorney said the money was “not enough to meet the costly prenatal and postnatal medical and related needs of our client and all of the twins,” and all efforts to get the couple to fulfill their part of the agreement were in vain.
The surrogate mother said she placed the babies born prematurely in an incubator without financial support from her aunt, adding that they would have to hold her aunt responsible if anything harmful happened to her children.
“After I used up my money in Lagos. I traveled east to meet my mother where I gave birth to a twin at 32 weeks. I was admitted to the hospital a month before the delivery and they were in an incubator because they weighed less than 2 kg when they were born.
“I was admitted because I was very sick the whole time while she never reached out,” she said.
“I cannot release these children no matter what. I do not want any money. All I want is for them to leave me and my family alone because if anything happens to me tomorrow they will be my prime suspect.
The lawyer said the couple were threatening their client with Interpol and the Nigerian Police “to illegally and forcibly seize a set of twins they had abandoned”, after her fiancé paid the bills.
The couple reacts
Responding to this newspaper’s inquiry, the couple said the surrogate ‘ran away’ with their children in June and refused to return to the Dutch embassy for her visa appointment.
“Our marriage is already blessed with five wonderful children and an adopted son. We decided we wanted more.
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“Our personal decision is to pay a surrogate to have them so my wife can rest and have the strength and optimal health to raise our large planned family.
“We are healthy and fertile, but we are not getting any younger. For this reason, I decided to make it easier for my wife. To say that we cannot have children is patently false and defamatory; Mr Effiong had 48 hours to apologize in the daily news or give evidence or face serious legal consequences.
Mr Onyemaobi said it was wrong to say they persuaded Ms Solomon to serve as a surrogate, adding that she begged his wife to allow him to go through the process.
He pointed out that they had no written or oral agreement to sponsor his studies and pay his parents’ medical bills.
“Also, there is no way to promise Chinyere Iheanyi Solomon that we will take her to America and sponsor her to nursing school when we bought her a laptop and we have already trained from kindergarten to HND (level),” he said. .
“We are already the ones who have built them a house in their village and taken care of Gift Chinyere Solomon and his family in every way for the past 30 years. We have never had a situation where we had to pay for a family member’s operation, and it was not paid for.
“We usually take care of them just like we spent almost a million naira treating Chinyere Gift Solomon for his chronic syphilis. We didn’t need to put it in writing before we helped her.
He noted that before Ms Solomon fled in June, they put her up in the presidential suite of a hotel in the Festac area of Lagos, where they paid a monthly bill of N480,000.
“We paid for all her food expenses, we gave her a live-in nanny to help her cook for her, go to the market and do all the necessary chores for her. We also have a driver and a car for her. take anywhere at our expense for the rest of the pregnancy.
“We registered Chinyere Gift at a well-known top class hospital and deposited money for her to see the doctor as often as needed. After all, we are talking about American babies here. Yes. American babies.
“Doctors, hospital staff, paid nanny and driver, as well as the hotel mentioned here and their bank payments are pretty much available ready to testify and prove everything we have said here as absolute facts.”
He claimed that the surrogate violated the confidentiality and abstinence agreement of the surrogacy by having sex with her lover, Chukwunonso Okoye, while carrying their babies.
Mr Onyemaobi further said the lovers had resorted to ‘harassment threats and extortionist gimmicks 24/7’ and had no choice but to invite security officers at different levels.
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