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Surrogate Mother Uses Turkey Baster, Stands on Head to Get Pregnant

April 20, 1993

CARY, N.C. (AP) _ A surrogate mother eager to provide a child for her sister used a turkey baster to inseminate herself and stood on her head for 30 minutes after each treatment.

″I figured gravity couldn’t hurt,″ Julie Johnson said.

After failing to get pregnant using more scientific means, Janet Johnson sterilized a $2.95 kitchen baster in the dishwasher, got her husband, Mark Wittley, to make his genetic contribution, then carried it to her sister.

″We were kind of fed up with the doctors,″ Janet Johnson said. ″It was costing so much and taking so much time.″ The couple also explored adoption but found legal obstacles too much to overcome.

″We were willing to try anything,″ said Janet Johnson, 36, who has a doctorate in math education and works for Wake County.

She and her husband, a software engineer, went through nine treatment cycles of costly fertility drugs over six years and one $15,000 cycle of in- vitro fertilization.

Her husband, also 36, went along with the offbeat approach, although he had little faith it would work.

″He thought we were crazy,″ his wife said.

Julie Johnson, 34, a single Navy lieutenant who teaches in the NROTC program at North Carolina State University, inseminated herself in August. The baby is due May 10.

″We’re going to be completely honest with the kid,″ Janet said. ″We’ll tell him that Aunt Julie had to have him because we couldn’t.″

Dr. Frederick Heaton, a Raleigh fertility specialist, said there was nothing miraculous about the equipment or methods the Johnsons used.

″A turkey baster is interesting, but you could put it in with just about anything,″ he said.

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