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Families building families. This is a common outcome of the surrogacy experience; a special method of forming a family that positively impacts the lives of many, including mine.

In this Surrogacy Story, learn about Tawni’s experience of “growing her heart” through the surrogacy experience, in her own words:

Having kids was always a dream of mine. For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a MOM above anything else. I started my family even sooner than I anticipated and had two kids by the time I was 22 years old. Both pregnancies were blissful, complication-free and I felt like my best self when I was growing life inside of me. We had just bought our first home together and, while my husband and I agreed (at the time) that we didn’t want any more children of our own, I had this constant yearning to be pregnant once again.

It was at that time I had a friend who for five years had been trying to start a family of her own. She had an appointment at a fertility clinic in which they recommended gestational surrogacy as the next step in having a child that was biologically hers. I had never heard of surrogacy, and before volunteering as tribute, I did some research. After joining some Facebook groups, digging around on Google and watching a few online videos about the process, I knew this was something that my heart was calling me to do.

I prepared myself to talk to my friend to see if this was something that she wanted to explore with me by her side. Personal situations arose and two months later when I finally was able to talk to her, she let me know that she was pregnant again and hoped this was the time that her body would keep the pregnancy. I checked in on her every few weeks and when she finally reached viability at 24 weeks, we cried together. She ended up having a full-term, successful pregnancy and delivery and the topic of surrogacy wasn’t discussed again.

However, now that I had done the research, the idea was on my mind every single day. I knew that there were people out there just like her who yearned for their moment.

I found a local surrogacy agency and began the interview process to see if I was a qualified candidate. After several months of intensive screening and information-gathering, I was approved! I met a local couple who had one, single chance at having a sibling for their only child. We did an embryo transfer and the implantation was successful. Everything went well . . . until it didn’t.

Sadly, the pregnancy didn’t end with a baby. We were all devastated. The emotions I felt cannot be described. My personal pathway to parenthood was so smooth and this family rightly anticipated their process with me would be the same. As you can imagine, there was a lot of emotional healing that needed to happen before moving on. But I still knew the positive impact that surrogacy could have on so many lives. I saw an employment opening at a surrogacy agency and I immersed myself in that side of the process in order to be a part of so many other journeys.

I found comfort from and offered empathy to others in every aspect of their adventure. Being a carrier was put on the backburner while I relished my newfound professional position. Two years into my job I realized I wanted to have another baby of my own. Then, three boys later and six years into working as a coordinator with an agency, I decided to offer my body as a vessel once more.

I matched with an amazing couple in December 2021. We transferred in July 2022 and again the implantation was successful! We got to know each other via video chat, phone calls and texts. One of the intended parents even flew across the ocean and joined our family for Thanksgiving. At that time I was halfway through the pregnancy and he got to see his baby in 3D! The anticipation of the baby’s arrival was all we could think about.

The dads-to-be arrived about 3 weeks prior to their son’s arrival, and in that stretch we spent a lot of time together. We shopped, ate, golfed, road-tripped, talked, ate some more and became like family. When their baby boy was about to make his debut, we all walked into the hospital together with so much anticipation and excitement. Thirty hours of labor wasn’t easy, but the moment they held their son for the first time it brought more emotion to my soul than I could have ever anticipated. To grow your own family is one thing but to do that and to help someone start theirs is indescribable. There is no way to put those feelings into words.

Baby and dads stayed local for several weeks after delivery and I got to know the little guy that kept me up late at night and encouraged many extra hours of sleep. I was able to pump breast milk which was an amazing “fourth trimester” together. He’s definitely his fathers’ boy! He even gets this cute little pucker face that I joked was a spitting image of his daddy. They have long since traveled home now and I feel like I have a whole new family that I am excited to share my life with and hear about theirs. It’s not just helping someone else build their family, it’s giving growth to your family’s heart too. Ten sizes bigger!


  Originally Published in Vancouver Family Magazine

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