A woman became a surrogate mother for an old school friend who lives 5,000 miles away after hearing of his desire to be a father in a chat at a pub.
Chantelle Wyatt, 35, had not seen Scott Turner-Griffiths for a year when he visited from China.
During a night out, Scott, who moved to China eight years ago, told friends he and husband Josh were desperate to become parents.
A week later, Chantelle sent her friend a Facebook message from her home in Portsmouth, Hants, offering to carry a baby for them.
Now they have little Ralph, who weighed 7lbs 4ozs when she gave birth to him flanked by Josh and Scott who held each of her hands during labour.
Scott, 35, who has known Chantelle since they met at school in the south coast city 22 years ago, admitted he did not take her offer seriously had first.
The new father, who is originally from Waterlooville, Hants, said: "A week later, Chantelle messaged me on Facebook and said: 'Look, I don't want to have children, and I'm happy to be a surrogate for you."
Scott said at the beginning he ignored her message, adding: "At the time, I thought that it was crazy – she has no idea what she's talking about.
"This is such a big ask, I thought she can't be comprehending the gravity of what she was offering."
Two months later, Chantelle – who is a scuba diving instructor – sent another Facebook message insisting she was still happy to be their surrogate.
Scott, a freelance buying director, added: "It's crazy that we could have missed our chance. I really do believe that this was meant to be.
"Chantelle is so laid back that I didn't feel any pressure to respond straight away. Thankfully, she pestered me and we got the ball rolling."
Josh, 29, who works as an art director for a Chinese fashion company, said: "Whenever we came back to Portsmouth, Scott would go and see Chan and his friends and I was always busy.
"I only met Chan for the first time after she offered to be a surrogate for us."
The couple, who have been together ten years and married in Hawaii in 2016, at first kept the surrogacy a secret from their family and friends.
Scott said: "We didn't know it was going to work. We didn't actually tell our families until five months into the pregnancy."
Scott and Josh remember the moment they saw Ralph on the ultra-sound and heard his heartbeat during a six week scan.
Chantelle would record videos while she was getting her scans and send the couple a video.
Scott, who flew from China for the 12-week scan, said: "It was amazing to be able to see Ralph at the size of half a lentil and we could hear a little flicker of a tiny heartbeat.
"We would stay up late in China because of the time difference. It would be the middle of the night and we would be waiting with our phones for those messages to come through."
The couple also found out they were pregnant through Facetime, Chantelle laying four pregnancy tests face down in front of her laptop webcam.
Scott added: "One by one she would lift them up to turn them to the computer screen because she wanted us to see first."
Living in China throughout the surrogacy process was difficult – and the time difference proved tricky.
The couple booked Chantelle into a private scan to find out the sex of their baby – but when they received pictures of the scan there was no explanation as to whether it was a boy or girl.
Scott said: "Josh and I spent all day Googling, 'What does a boy look like on ultrasound?', and we thought we'd figured it out. We had to wait until the office opened in the UK and we finally found out we were expecting a boy."
Ralph was born at Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton, Hants, on January 15 at 8:16pm.
Scott and Josh were on either side of her bed holding Chantelle's hands as she was giving birth.
Speaking of their eight-week old son, Scott said: "I feel like he's always been here. Looking back on our journey, I'm amazed at how far we've come and how long it's taken.
"I would do it again a million times, but it was basically organising a surrogacy in China."
The couple's plans to return home with Ralph are now being thwarted by coronavirus.
Scott is staying with Ralph but Josh has to fly back to China for work commitments and financial security.
Scott added: "We both missed the outbreak of coronavirus but we can't all go back to China now. It's put a spanner in the works. It's a situation you wouldn't even consider happening.
"We don't know who is the biological father. It's not important to us. Ralph will be raised as having both of us as this fathers. If it's important for him to know, then we will look into that. We won't keep anything from him."
Chantelle says her partner, who has two children of his own, has been incredibly supportive throughout the process.
The woman, who is also editor of a scuba diving magazine, said: "I realised it was going to be really difficult for Scott and Josh as they are gay. This felt like the right thing to do.
"We've been friends for years. They are such wonderful people and I saw the struggle they were facing.
"From my point of view, being pregnant and having a baby seemed a lot easier in comparison to what they had to do – there's a lot of organisation and the IVF process and the travelling… it's never-ending.
"My partner met them loads, and as a parent himself, he understood the need for them to be dads.
"After giving birth I felt an overwhelming sense of achievement. People keep asking me if I feel strange about seeing Ralph and I don't.
"I feel really glad that he's where he is – they are so good at being parents and that's just be the best end to the story."
Speaking of the process, she added: "A lot of people get pregnant by accident or it isn't planned. I felt empowered by the fact I had a choice – pregnancy wasn't something that just happened to me.
"I didn't want to have a baby and I was able to make a choice to do it for my friends."
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