SACRAMENTO, CA - Tough economic times have impacted many families struggling to have a baby. Instead of turning to a stranger or a surrogacy agency for help, some hopeful parents are going right next door or down the street to find a surrogate.
Dr. Michael Murray with the Northern Californian Fertility Center in Roseville explained, "Because using a gestational carrier through an outside agency is $30,000 to $50,000, its cost prohibitive for many couples."
In some cases the total cost can be as much as $100,000 because of agency, surrogacy and legal fees.
Now, fertility clinics said they're seeing patients turn to friends, family, or even neighbors to take on the role of surrogate to help save money.
HEATHER AND JENNIFER
Best friends Heather Gwinup and Jennifer Irwin have their own husbands and children. But now, they're both embarking upon motherhood together in an unusual way.
Heather Gwinup and her husband had their first child Jamison three years ago through In Vitro Fertilization. When they learned that it would be very difficult to have another child, they decided to turn to Jennifer to be a surrogate for their second child.
Heather was the Maid of Honor at Jennifer's wedding. Now, Jennifer is the surrogate for Heather's baby.
"It's an amazing thing. It's an honor really to do this for her," said Jennifer. "To share it with your best friend is amazing. Heather is the mother. I'm the aunt. So I'm Aunty Jen."
"It's an amazing gift," Heather said. "I couldn't have ever asked anyone for. But she offered it."
The husbands are along for the ride.
"We're going to all the ultra sounds and the baby checks," Jennifer's Husband Bryan Irwin said.
Heather said her husband is thrilled.
"Her and her husband will be in the delivery room with us," Jennifer said.
"It's going to be a party. Good times!" Heather said.
Heather and her husband are now proud parents of a new baby girl. Baby Hadley was born on May 9. Aunt Jen is doing great too.