Tanya, Tara and Cassie give a new meaning to the term sisterly love. When Tanya Ratcliff learned she would never be able to carry a baby, her two sisters, Tara Schamel and Cassie Ripp, stepped up to be surrogates. Now both are pregnant with babies conceived by Tanya and husband Dan. Tara is due to give birth to a baby girl in April, and Cassie to deliver a boy in July.
The three sisters, along with the dad-to-be, appeared on the "Today" show this morning to share their touching story. Tanya and Dan had been trying to get pregnant for months with no luck and decided to visit a fertility clinic. The doctor told the couple that though their sperm and eggs were healthy, "Tanya's womb didn't respond properly to the hormone treatments designed to plump up its lining" and that "the embryos wouldn't survive if they were transferred to Tanya's uterus."
They were devastated. "I don't think you can ever prepare for a moment like that," Tanya said.
Her sisters, Tara, 35 and Cassie, 26, who both have kids, knew that they had to help. "Cassie and I just started talking behind the scenes about, let's just tell Tanya that we can do this," Tara said.
Both sisters had embryos transferred to increase the chances of one of them becoming pregnant. According to MSNBC, they went through the medically induced roller coaster that is familiar to IVF patients: first medications to halt ovulation and create a menopause-like state, followed by large amounts of estrogen to do what their sister's womb could not.
It worked. Tara became pregnant in just two weeks, and Cassie on her third attempt. Dan called the sisters' loyalty and selflessness "truly a blessing."
When Ann Curry asked how Tanya plans to thank her sisters, she said: "I don't think we ever truly can."
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