Written By: Hillary Redwine
“How are your miracle children?” That’s the phrase Amy Huston’s mom often uses when inquiring about her children – Eli, age four, and Hallie, age one. “And they really are little miracles,” Amy says.
With a heart condition that prevents her from safely carrying a pregnancy, Amy used gestational carriers (or surrogates) for both of her children. Eli was conceived after three rounds of invitro fertilization and is the biological child of Amy and her husband, Evan, while Hallie was conceived with the help of an egg donor.
“Because of my health condition, we had to take extra precautions during my egg retrievals, like having them done in an operating room instead of a fertility clinic,” Amy explains. “And we never got great results with any of them.”
Amy and Evan started trying for another child when Eli was six months old. They transferred their last remaining frozen embryo with a surrogate, but it didn’t take. “After that, we decided to use an egg donor for our next attempt to have another baby,” Amy says.
Will I love them the same?
For intended parents who already have a biological child or children, it can add another layer of complexity to the process of having a child via egg donation. Questions like “Will I compare him or her to my biological child?” or “Will I love a non-biological child the same?” may come to mind.
“It’s hard when you first learn that an egg donor is your best option, but over time, you come to realize what an incredible option it is,” Amy says. “Any reservations you have about loving a child – you don’t have to worry because you will. Once that child is here, you get to just be a family. You’re that child’s parent, and it’s wonderful.”
Amy adds that she loves Eli and Hallie “equally but differently” because of who they are as individuals. “They are each their own unique person that we are getting to know,” she says.
The importance of nurture
Some of her children’s traits can be attributed to genetics, like Eli’s resemblance to Amy and Evan and Hallie’s personality, which Amy describes by saying, “She’s a firecracker!” (Noting that it’s not a trait Hallie gets from Amy or her husband, Amy says that she would love to ask her donor if she was as fiery as Hallie as a child.)
There are other characteristics that are a reflection of how Amy nurtures her children and the values she and Evan are instilling in them. For example, as a speech pathologist, Amy has been focused on helping her children develop language skills from an early age – something Hallie has been able to pick up quickly. “She’s very language driven; it’s one of her strengths,” Amy says. “It amazes me what a good communicator she is at just a year old.”
Amy also describes how Hallie has embraced her parent’s love of the beach, which is evident during the family’s trips to the ocean. “She loves it,” Amy says. “It’s neat to see how some of the things we have purposefully put into Hallie’s life are things she enjoys and are shaping her into the person she will become.”
Creating their family
In reflecting on her family, Amy describes a sense of wonder in how it all came together. “It’s amazing that we were able to have both of our children,” she says. “It was with the help of a lot of people, and I’m so grateful that there are people who are willing to help others have a family.”
She adds, “It’s been quite a journey to get to where we are, but when I think about it, it’s really a short amount of time compared to how long our children will be in our lives. Now, we’re just a regular family.”