Ana Obregón, 68, welcomed a baby via surrogate using her late son's sperm. How? Experts explain.

Ana Obregon, pictured here, welcomed a baby via surrogate that is biologically her son's child. (Photo: Getty Images)
Ana Obregon, pictured here, welcomed a baby via surrogate that is biologically her son's child. (Photo: Getty Images)

When Ana Obregón lost her son three years ago to cancer, she allegedly made a promise to honor his final wishes —and it’s now resulting in tons of controversy. The 68-year-old Spanish actress began making headlines late last month when it was revealed she was going to have a baby via surrogate. Days later, she revealed it wasn’t actually her child, but her grandchild.

In an exclusive interview with ¡Hola! magazine, Obregón detailed the arduous journey she’s secretly been on since her son, Aless Lequio Garcia, died. The star and socialite said how Garcia opted to freeze his sperm prior to beginning chemotherapy and how he shared his desire to bring a baby into the world after his death.

“Aless was doing very poorly and told us, if anything should happen, he wanted us to know he wanted to leave a descendent in this world. Even if he was no longer here,” Obregón told ¡Hola! “From that moment, the only thing that has allowed me to continue to live each day, each second, is completing his mission to bring Aless’s daughter to the world.”

How did she help her son conceive her grandchild?

Obregón noted that the journey to help conceive the child began not long after her son passed. Surrogacy is illegal in Spain, so she found a surrogate in the United States and used her son’s sperm and donor eggs to help her conceive the child legally.

“In the United States, there are consent forms that are filled out by patients that determine what happens to their gametes in the event of death,” Dr. Dorette Noorhasan, medical director and co-founder of CCRM Fertility in Dallas-Fort Worth. tells Yahoo Life. “Additionally, many people have wills or trusts that dictate what happens to their personal property, including their gametes, in the scenario of death.”

“If the person who produced the eggs/sperm fails to name a next of kin, the clinic may just destroy the eggs, sperm, embryos,” adds Dr. Christina Burns, founder of Naturna and author of The Ultimate Fertility Guidebook.

Obregón said she managed to keep the entire process a secret from everyone save those involved and her two sisters, but it wasn’t an easy process.

“The pregnancy did not occur on the first attempt,” the new grandmother told ¡Hola!. “It has been several times and every time it didn't happen, I was terribly upset and started over. It's been a battle, a long road.”

Finally conceived last June, the baby was born three weeks early on March 20th at Memorial Regional Hospital in South Florida, weighing just over 6.5 lbs. The proud grandmother named the baby Ana Sandra Lequio Obregón (Ana after herself and Sandra after her son) and will be legally adopting her and taking her to live in Spain in order to bypass any legal issues around surrogacy (adoption is legal in Spain).

How rare is Obregón’s situation?

“I’ve only seen involvement when a grandparent gives money to help pay for IVF processes,” says Burns. “I’ve never seen one use the gametes of a deceased child. Generally, it would be a partner. In lieu of a partner, rarely would another family member step in.”

Noorhasan says she personally hasn’t seen grandparents’ involvement in her many years of private practice.

“I have not heard of another situation like this, but we are a progressive society in the 21st century and will continue to see firsts of many things,” she adds. “If there are consent forms and/or other legal documents that dictate what happens to a deceased person’s gametes, then we as a society should recognize these documents.”

So who is Ana Obregón?

Obregón is best known stateside for starring as Catalina in the 1984 Bo Derek film Bolero, as well as for her roles in Car Crash, Mystery on Monster Island and Treasure of the Four Crowns. She also made guest appearances on shows like General Hospital and Who’s The Boss.

But in Europe, Obregon has been a notable star on television and the big screen for decades. She created, wrote, and starred in a number of television programs, including “Ana y Los 7” and “Mi Corazón Es Tuyo.”

This isn’t the socialite’s first foray into controversy, either. Aside from her lengthy relationship with former Croatian footballer Davor Šuker, she’s also had ties to international football star David Beckham, which created some tabloid and legal drama between her and Victoria Beckham.

Why is this so controversial in Spain?

Surrogacy is illegal in Spain, but there are no laws against using a surrogate outside of the country and then returning with a baby via adoption. But while some people will use their resources to bypass the laws, Noorhasan says she doesn’t think there’s a pattern “as to whether people travel to the U.S. for surrogacy or from the U.S. seeking surrogacy in another country.”

Burns adds that because surrogacy is so expensive in the U.S., many actually look to other countries like Mexico or Poland, where it is still legal but less costly.

According to the Associated Press, when the news broke over Obregón’s baby, Spain’s leftist coalition government wasn’t shy about making their criticism known, calling for legislation to prevent more Spaniards from going abroad to seek surrogacy.

The critiques around surrogacy in Spain have to do with the idea that it is a form of exploitation against the individual who carries the pregnancy and is then forced to give up the child. The ethical implications then revolve around the fact that surrogates are often of lower socioeconomic status, and would not be offering their wombs, so to speak, were it not for financial need.

Surrogacy is legal and widely available in the U.S., with many families opting for it when they cannot conceive on their own, including to assist same-sex couples who cannot carry a pregnancy. In some countries, like Canada, surrogacy is only allowed for altruistic reasons — meaning the surrogate is not allowed to accept money in exchange.

While many individuals across social media have also criticized Obregón for her choice, she maintains that she needed to make sure her son’s final wishes come true: “It is something that only fathers or mothers who have lost a child will understand perfectly.”

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