“We had a direct swap of embryo. Our case is different.”
“What do you think will happen, Dominic?” Lucy asked, putting down her fork carefully.
“I don’t know—and I don’t like it. I hate having no control over what other people are deciding about my life.”
“What do you hope happens?”
This was it then. An irrevocable decision. Once made there could be no going back. Dominic leant forward. “I want you to marry me.”
The silence echoed around the table. For a moment Lucy wondered whether she’d heard him correctly. It wasn’t possible, was it? His eyes were watching her steadily, waiting for an answer. Color flooded into her ashen face. “But I don’t know you!”
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In the Shelter of His Arms (#3840) by Jackie Braun
A Family for Keeps (#3843) by Lucy Gordon
For Our Children’s Sake
IT WAS all true. All of it. Until this moment Lucy Grayford hadn’t allowed herself to believe it. All the way from Shropshire she’d told herself there’d been some kind of mistake. Some different universe she’d stumbled into and would surely soon stumble out of. But, looking at the deeply troubled man opposite, she knew there’d been no mistake—not this time.
With immense effort she tried to concentrate on what he was trying to tell her. She could see his mouth moving and yet it was so difficult to take the words in. What they really meant. To her. To Chloe.
‘Genetically, Chloe isn’t your child,’ Dr Shorrock said carefully. Very, very carefully, she registered bleakly. Every word predetermined and carefully phrased. ‘The embryos implanted back into your womb belonged to another couple.’
It should hurt more.
Surely this kind of news was something you couldn’t stay sane through.
‘But…but I gave birth to Chloe.’ Her mind struggled to come to terms with what he was saying. She had given birth to Chloe. Eleven long hours and seventeen stitches later she’d had a seven pound, fourteen ounce little girl. She’d held her in her arms immediately after—red, wrinkled and unbelievably perfect. And hers.
From that moment her life had revolved around the miracle of her baby.
‘This is difficult to understand, Mrs Grayford, I know.’ The steady voice of Dr Shorrock faltered and his fingers shuffled nervously at his papers. ‘Whilst you carried Chloe to term, and gave birth naturally to her, both the egg and sperm belonged to another couple and—’
‘She’s mine,’ Lucy cut in. This was a nightmare. A hateful clawing nightmare. Slowly the full truth of what he was saying was beginning to penetrate her numb brain. He was trying to tell her Chloe didn’t belong with her. That she belonged to another couple.
But if they only knew her as an egg and a sperm surely she belonged with her? It had been her body that had carried her. Her body that had given her life. ‘She’s been my baby for six years. You can’t suddenly say you want her back. That—’
‘I’m sorry to say the error was more far-reaching than that.’
There was something about his expression that held Lucy silent. She almost didn’t let herself breathe. He’d already brought her world crashing down around her. What could be worse than what he’d already said?
‘At the time of the…error…you and your late husband had three good embryos stored at the same clinic.’
The pressure on her heart was almost unbearable as she waited for whatever he was going to say next. ‘Yes?’ she managed, forcing out the single word through dry lips.
‘All three were implanted into the womb of another woman and one resulted in the birth of a healthy baby girl.’
‘My baby?’ Her voice faltered.
‘Genetically the baby of yourself and your late husband. Yes.’
Lucy put one shaking hand up to her forehead, trying to rub away the pain that had begun to wrap an iron band around her head. It was impossible to take any of this in. This slightly pompous-looking man with his hair combed over the bald patch on his head was talking about errors and embryos, and yet what he was really talking about was lives. People’s lives. Their lives.
‘Naturally a full investigation will be undertaken. At this time I can only offer you our most profound apologies.’
She let her hand fall back into her lap. ‘I don’t understand. How…How could such a thing happen? It isn’t possible.’
‘Mistakes are extremely rare in embryology, but there’s always the risk of human error. All clinics are required to operate scrupulous labelling systems and to double check embryos before implantation. Although the clinic you attended did have all the correct protocols designed to prevent this from happening, as in all areas of medicine, sometimes things do go wrong.’
‘Do the other couple know? Have you told them?’
Dr Shorrock looked back down at his notes before returning his steady gaze to hers. ‘A blood test on their daughter showed she has a rhesus negative blood type which revealed there must have been an error. Both her birth parents are rhesus positive so it was obvious she couldn’t be their biological child.’
‘I’m rhesus negative.’ Her hands shook in her lap. She folded them tightly into