carole horlock and newborn baby split image

A UK mother who gave eight families the ultimate gift suffered unimaginable heartache when she accidentally gave away her own baby.

Carole Horlock holds the record for most babies born to a surrogate mother, having carried 13 babies for other people.

Among them were a set of twins and a set of triplets.

And there was one baby that she didn’t realize was her own.

Carole, who has two daughters, gave birth to the baby boy, who weighed 9 lb 4 oz, in June 2004.

She believed the baby was created using her egg and sperm from the husband of the couple she was acting as surrogate for.

Carole Horlock has given birth to 13 surrogate babies

But when the couple did a DNA test on their baby six weeks after he was born, they discovered he was actually the child of Carole and her husband Paul.

Carole and Paul then faced an agonising decision - do they take their son back or let the couple keep him?

They chose to give up the baby, and Carole once said she didn’t regret the decision, although she thought about her son “all the time”.

She told the Mirror: “I am immensely proud of my surrogacy career and having 13 babies who are loved by their families.

“Surrogacy has brought me and the families I helped immeasurable joy, but also led to the darkest times of my life.

“Surrogacy is the ultimate gift that one woman can do for another. But there is a darker side when it goes wrong – the heartbreak, emotional rollercoaster and acrimony are devastating.”

The baby boy who turned out to be Carole and Paul’s son was the ninth of her surrogate babies.

They had no idea when handing him over to the family.

Carole admits they “agonized” over what to do but ultimately decided to let them keep him.

She faced lots of scrutiny from others, with people asking her how she could give away her own baby.

She explained that many of the babies she carried for other families were biologically hers. The only difference with this little boy was that he was also Paul’s.

But having agreed to help a family who couldn’t have children on their own, they didn’t think it was right to take the baby away from them.

Stock image: A newborn baby being weighed in hospital

Carole said that as a surrogate it’s important not to bond with the baby and that she would spend the whole pregnancy “distancing” herself from the youngster to ease the parting.

Carole and Paul both had children from previous relationships and did not have any children together, except for this little boy.

Paul told Carole they would raise the baby if the couple did not want him, but Carole says they had “loved him from the moment of his conception”.

Carole appeared on TV show This Morning in 2016 to say she was officially retiring from being a surrogate mum.

She said: “I got pregnant last year and unfortunately miscarried at seven weeks, and I’ve had two attempts since and they haven’t worked even though everything was perfect, and my IVF doctor said that perhaps it was time to stop.”

Carole said she was “sad” to have to give up being a surrogate as she loved helping couples become families.

If you like watching records being broken you should check out our Records Weekly series on YouTube...

Want more? Follow us on Google News and across our social media channels to stay up-to-date with all things Guinness World Records! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter/X, Instagram, ThreadsTikTok, LinkedIn, and Snapchat Discover.

Don't forget to check out our videos on YouTube and become part of our group chat by following the Guinness World Records WhatsApp channel.

Still not had enough? Click here to buy our latest book, filled to the brim with stories about our amazing record breakers.