Savannah woman helps couple fulfill their dreams of starting a family through surrogacy

Updated: Feb. 28, 2023 at 9:30 AM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - For families looking to have children, surrogacy is an option many choose for a variety of reasons. A local mother who had infertility issues of her own is choosing to become a surrogate for another local woman who had cancer and is unable to carry. Our Michaela Romero shares the story of how these two families came together.

Rachel Shannon has always wanted to be a mother.

At 31 years old, she and her husband would have never thought they’d need a surrogate to start their family.

But a few years after tying the knot and trying for a baby, the couple faced health issues that changed everything they had planned.

“She asked us to come in and she wanted my husband to come too, so I knew it wasn’t good and that’s when she told us ‘hey it’s cancer this time’ and she told us we needed to have a full hysterectomy,” said Shannon.

Luckily Rachel already had an egg retrieval for invitro fertilization and they were able to get 3 embryos.

After undergoing her hysterectomy surgery, Rachel’s sister made a post on social media asking for a surrogate for her sister.

That is when Vivian Dukes, who had her own fertility issues in the past, came across the post and offered to help.

“With my journey, it was very hard we did have a miscarriage halfway through my journey and I just remember thinking I may never have a baby. How scared I was when I heard my eggs were bad how scared I was that I would never have a good enough egg to have my own child and when we finally did get our beautiful baby and he is perfect I just wanted to help somebody.”

After meeting for the first time, they say they instantly clicked.

“I was just texting her the other day how I am excited to do baby showers and reveal which will keep it intimate but I want her there at those things,” said Rachel.

Vivian said she is excited to be a part of the family’s journey but says there are a lot of misconceptions about surrogacy.

“I just wish people would think about it in a different way. It’s 100 percent, not my child, I mean you can do it in which it’s related to you but in this type of situation it’s not your DNA, they’re the parent’s DNA and they are just renting a spot in your tummy for 9 months.”

She said that by being a surrogate she feels happy she is making another mom’s dreams come true.

“It’s wild to think that we can have a baby at the end of this year, we are so ready for it,” said Shannon.

The first transfer is scheduled to happen on March 15.

Rachel and her husband plan on using all three embryos to complete their dream of having a family of 5.

They said that they are using donations from a give-send-go account to help cover the costs.