Infertility can be a lonely road and it was nothing different for Chicago couple Amy Fuggiti and husband, Anthony, who fought the infertility battle, including a miscarriage, for over 6 years with no success.
The couple spent tens of thousands of dollars on trying to get pregnant but when nothing seemed to work, gestational surrogacy seemed like the most likely next course of action.
Enter Courtney Fuggiti, Amy's "mirror-twin", and now her gestational surrogate, the couple is now 5 months pregnant through a frozen embryo transfer (FET).
Born with a rare chromosomal disorder called Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome, a condition mainly impacting the eye but that can also affect other facial features and the heart, the Fuggiti twins both had a 50% chance of passing on the condition to their offspring. Because of this complication, Pre-implantation Genetic Testing or PGT was the way to go, a pricey procedure that examines embryos during in vitro fertilization (IVF) before possible transfer to a woman’s uterus for a range of genetic problems that can cause implantation failure, miscarriage and birth defects in a resulting child.
Courtney was able to have to kids of her own through IVF and PGT but unfortunately, the same did not work out for Amy.
“I’ve lost count of the number of retrievals I’ve had,” said Amy, a compliance coordinator. The embryos they created together either failed genetic testing or did not implant following transfer.
When all hope seemed lost, Amy turned to Courtney for help. And since the duo had already been so involved in Amy's IVF struggle that it didn't appear to be an out-of-the-blue option.
“We’re so intrinsically tied that it was the sensible next step for all of us. I didn’t even have to ask her to be our surrogate,” Amy said.
Amy and Courtney have done everything together their whole life whether it was attending the same college, playing softball and basketball together or grabbing their early morning coffee.
'When I say "we’re pregnant," I mean myself, my husband and my sister,' Amy said. 'It’s a beautiful celebration of life, because all three of us did this together.'
Amy and Anthony were able to create the so-called "golden embryo" last July which was successfully implanted in Courtney this year in February.
“It’s been totally normal,” said Courtney “The fact I’m pregnant with my sister’s baby feels entirely normal. It’s a means of getting from point A to B without much fanfare. A lot of people say, "It's such a nice thing to do, she's so lucky." But I'm actually the one who's lucky. I'm the one who gets to help with this situation and bring baby girl Fuggiti into this world."
The baby girl, due in October of this year, will undoubtedly be raised by the whole village of the entire family, along with her cousins and Aunt who is helping bring her into this world.
“We plan to be totally transparent,” Amy expressed. “She’ll know that her aunt was her babysitter for nine months and she was wanted and loved for a very long time.”
It's stories like these that depict the raw, heartwarming picture of gestational surrogacy for everyone, including the critics. For all those who think it's only about the compensation, anecdotes of pure love and empathy like these set the record straight about surrogacy time and again.
“There’s nobody I would rather do this with,” said Amy. “If I couldn’t have my own pregnancy, who better than my soul mate to make my dream come true?”