After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, Woman Becomes Her Sister's Surrogate
Cancer diagnoses are of course terrifying for many reasons. But for those who one day want to become parents, the diagnosis can disrupt one of their biggest plans for the future. However, for one Maryland woman, the gift of motherhood was offered in a way she never would have imagined.
Randi Fishman was 28 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. This came as a cruel shock, as she was entering such an important time in her life. However, she approached the situation with bravery and underwent a double mastectomy. She had the foresight to also freeze 10 embryos, in the hopes that after cancer treatment she would potentially be able to carry a baby.
However, one year after, she experienced a recurrence of the cancer. Many breast cancers, including the strain that Randi had, are believed by the American Cancer Society to be especially sensitive to estrogen. So, doctors decided that the hormones associated with a pregnancy could spark another recurrence, and recommended that she not carry her own child.
Her sister offered to help without question
At first, Randi was devastated because she thought that maybe her chances of motherhood had been thwarted, but the doctors pointed out that using a surrogate was an option. At first, this did not seem ideal, she was still getting over the idea of not carrying her children herself. She explains, "it was really hard. I definitely always thought it was something I was going to be able to do and the thought of someone else carrying my child, I couldn't even imagine it."
Soon after, her sister Erin gave her the news that after she was done having her own children, she would be a surrogate for Randi.
Erin explained what sparked the decision, "I felt horrible. It was awful when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at such an early age and I felt horrible she was not able to have kids."
Erin went on to say, "I'm her sister. If I can have a baby for her, why not. Of course, I was going to do it. It's not even a question. It's the least I can do."
The sisters only live minutes away from each other, so it seemed like a good idea, and they would easily be able to support each other through the process.
While Randi was overwhelmed by the generosity of her sister, she and her husband decided that they did not want to wait for Erin to finish having children of her own before starting their own family, so they found another surrogate who gave birth to their daughter Parker in 2014.
During this time, Erin had her first daughter and a couple years later had another child. She was overcome with joy with her two babies, and told Randi that she was ready to be her surrogate, as Randi wanted to give Parker a sister.
Randi's final embryos were implanted in her sister, who successfully gave birth to Austyn Harli nine months later.
Read on for more of this beautifully heartwarming story.
Photo: ABC News