Melissa Kayser’s dream was to be a mother. For years, she and her husband tried everything to make that dream a reality.
Miscarriage after miscarriage — nine, to be exact – shattered the couple. Fertility treatments and in vitro fertilization also came to nothing.
“It’s hard, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Miscarriages are taboo, nobody wants to speak of them, so you really suffer in silence a lot,” said Kayser.
Eventually, Kayser had to confront the possibility that she would never be a mother.
Upon learning her body would never carry a child, Kayser says she “was devastated because you think as women we are literally born to do one thing and that’s to reproduce and when you can’t do that one thing you feel like a failure.”
When doctors suggested she try a surrogate, Kayser initially felt anxiety. Despite her desire to have a child, she wasn’t sure she “could emotionally handle another woman being able to carry my child.”
That’s when big sister Lisa Auten stepped in. Auten has never married and has never desired to be a mother herself; nevertheless, her sister’s suffering distressed her.
When her sister lamented needing a surrogate, Auten joked, “I’ll let you borrow my uterus.” What began as an offhand comment soon became a reality.
“I couldn’t stand watching Melissa go through loss after loss. She hurt so badly and she just wanted a child so bad. If I could help give her a family, then I was going to do it,” Auten explained.
Over the next few months, the two went through medical, psychological, and even legal counseling. When they were approved, the two underwent an embryo transfer procedure.
Two embryos were implanted, although doctors warned only one would likely take. Weeks later, however, everyone was shocked to find what the ultrasound revealed.
Auten was pregnant with twins. “I think we were all a little bit shocked. My sister was telling them to count again,” Kayser said.
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