Let me ask you a question before we start – you have a friend who has been struggling to get pregnant, and they need a surrogate or gestational carrier to have a baby? You’d like to offer to carry their baby for them? Well ladies and gentlemen, before you make that offer, you must stop and carefully consider whether this is truly right for you. There is a lot of testing, emotional investment, and physical considerations to think about before you suggest the idea to your loved one. 

Kevin and his wife Nicole thought that they would never be parents. According to the couple, Nicole was reportedly diagnosed with an autoimmune disease when she was just a teen. Nicole learned to live with it for over a decade, despite tiring episodes and, in extreme cases, being hospitalized. It wasn’t until after she married her husband Kevin that she learned TTP would cause issues with pregnancy. The TTP medication would be harmful to her child. If she stopped treating herself, it would leave her at risk. The couple learned that some women can have a successful pregnancy with TTP. However, many children end up ill or never reach full-term.

The couple first thought about adoption, but after doing research they found the legal fees for the process were too high. Then they began thinking about IVF and surrogacy but weren’t sure if Nicole’s condition could affect this too. After learning adoption would be too expensive and paid surrogacy was illegal in their state, Nicole turned to having a gestational carrier. She froze her eggs, not knowing yet who they could use as the carrier. “We had heard stories that sisters carried and mothers carried, but I don’t have a sister and my mother is over the age [to be able to be a carrier],” she says. “We just did it for precautionary reasons and hoped for the best.”

The couple had known Lianna and her husband Shawn for 20 years. The couple always wanted a big family and had achieved their goal, having had five children by the time Lianna was 37 and Shawn 40. Six months after the birth of their fifth baby, the Lianna invited Kevin and Nicole to dinner, where Lianna made an announcement that changed their lives. “You know I have five children, Shawn, and I want to have maybe one or two more,” began Lianna. Kevin and Nicole looked at each other, puzzled, wondering why she would want any more children. But she continued. “No, not for me, for you guys – I’d like to carry a child.” It then hit them: Lianna was offering to be their surrogate. The couple, overwhelmed, started crying.

Lianna still had to undergo medical and mental tests, but she passed. Finally, the embryos were implanted, and the Barattinis promised to be with Lianna every step of the way. Lianna gave birth to the the couples’ not one, but two healthy babies, Dominic and Luciana. Their lifelong dream had finally come true – and it was all thanks to the selflessness of their best friends. It was an act they were determined to honor.