After struggling with her own infertility issues, Jennifer Marett understood the emotional pain of trying desperately to have a child, only to be disappointed again and again. She and her then-husband, Eric, ended up conceiving through IVF — and her boy-girl twins were five years old when her good friend Sarah* went through some tough times.
Sarah had gone through several cycles of IVF to get pregnant, and lost her baby boy at birth. Sarah and her husband bravely decided to try again immediately, but before beginning the IVF process all over again, they had to consult with her fertility doctor. When he took a look at her uterus though, he saw that there was a tremendous amount of scar tissue left after her son’s birth and recommended a D&C procedure. During the procedure, Sarah began to bleed profusely, and the doctors were forced to perform a hysterectomy. Sarah, who had already lost a baby, would now never be able to be pregnant again.
The couple’s one hope: they still had frozen embryos from a previous IVF cycle. They just needed to find a surrogate who would carry them.
Jennifer was heartbroken for her friend, who’d experienced such horrible loss and trauma. She had loved being pregnant, and even though she and Eric knew they didn’t want any more kids, she’d felt a little wistful at the fact that she would never be pregnant again.
“Sarah had been through so such tremendous grief — I just wanted to do what I could for her.” One day, while she and Sarah were talking about her various options, Jennifer realized what she needed to do. She said, “Hey, I’m not using my uterus right now. I could grow your babies!”
Of course, it took Jennifer some time to convince Eric, whose main concern was for his wife and twins, and whether she would have the energy to give their own children the time and attention and energy they needed. They went to family therapy sessions as a couple, and attended therapy with Sarah and her husband as well. “The attorneys insist on [therapy] to make sure everyone is on the same page, as well as to assess the mental health of everyone involved,” she says. “We were going in with our eyes wide open, not romanticizing anything. We knew the risks that come with a pregnancy — miscarriage, premature bleeding, bed rest — and were prepared for them.” While Eric wasn’t thrilled, he also didn’t want to be the one to deny Sarah and her husband a family. So, he agreed.
*Name changed for clarity. “Sarah’s” name is also Jennifer.
If you would like more information about surrogacy or are interested in becoming a surrogate mother, please contact Surrogates Across America.