I attended the most beautiful wedding this summer. The bride and groom were madly in love, and the ceremony was magical. I found out recently that the sister of the bride gave the couple a most unusual wedding gift. It turns out that the bride had always wanted children, but knew from the time she was young that she was unable to carry a pregnancy. Her sister, who already had two kids of her own, offered to carry a baby for them. That was her gift.
Causes of infertility vary
I was fascinated by the story and wanted to find out more. I didn’t know how common it is for couples to struggle to have kids. More than 6 million couples in the US deal with infertility for just as many reasons. Some people, like the bride in this story, have known for a long time that they couldn’t carry a pregnancy. Others are trying to avoid passing down a deadly genetic disorder like Huntington’s or Muscular Dystrophy, or have compromised organs as the result of cancer treatments. The reasons for infertility are as varied as the couples themselves.
Her sister offered to be a surrogate
There are two different kinds of surrogates. Since the bride still had her ovaries, she was able to donate her eggs. She just couldn’t carry the pregnancy. So for this family, the resulting baby is genetically 100% the bride and groom. In other cases, either the egg or sperm can be donated. Legally, even though the baby is biologically theirs, the sister had to sign papers allowing the bride and groom to adopt the child after birth.
It wouldn’t work for everyone
The bride and her sister had an unusually close connection, and the whole family went to great lengths to support their surrogacy decision. The sister was thrilled to help them, both husbands were supportive, and the legal terms were clear before they went through with it. It might seem unusual to some, but for their family, it was a beautiful gift.
Surrogacy is more common than I thought
As I was reading more about surrogates, I was surprised to find out how many celebrities have added children to their families with the help of a surrogate. Celebrities like Cristiano Ronaldo, Tyra Banks, and Kim Kardashian have grown their families with help from gestational surrogates. But several thousand people in the US who aren’t celebrities also worked with a surrogate to make their dreams come true.
The journey to parenthood sometimes takes a few unexpected turns. Sadly, many reasons make it difficult for people to become parents. I can’t think of a more thoughtful or wonderful gift than helping someone fulfill their wish to become a family. I hope that more people who face fertility problems can take advantage of the reproductive technology that makes this possible. I’m thankful to families like these who are willing to share their story so that others might benefit from their experience.