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June 15th, 2012
09:26 AM ET

Surrogate Sisters: The ultimate gift

Editor's note: Surrogate Sisters airs on "Sanjay Gupta, MD" this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. EST and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. EST.

As people on CNN's Health team will tell you, one of my favorite sayings is, "It's better to be lucky than smart." This is one of those instances.  

A few months ago, I saw a picture on a friend's Facebook page of a kid's science project, showing how much sugar is in some popular drinks. The picture came from a "friend" of my friend. Intrigued, I sent a message to my friend's friend.

The recipient was Tiffany Burke, a photographer and mother of two in Bellingham, Washington. Turned out the picture didn't belong to Tiffany, but she told me something amazing.

She was in the process of becoming a surrogate mother for her brother and sister-in-law. Tiffany shared with me a link to the blog where they were documenting the experience.

I was blown away. I've talked with surrogate moms in the past, but this was the first time I met someone who was doing it for a family member. A million questions were racing in my head: How do you have the "Will you be my surrogate?" conversation?  Were lawyers involved?  How do you explain it to your biological children?

I shared the story with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and a few other members of the team.  They also were also intrigued.  We asked Tiffany and her family if we could join them on their journey.  They agreed.  

Over the next 9 and a half months, we will share the ups and downs, the joys and challenges, of this unique way one family found to grow.


soundoff (227 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    I have been following this story for awhile and they are such an amazing family!! So excited to hear what they are having, twin girls, twin boys, or maybe one of each?! I will continue to pray for this family!

    June 15, 2012 at 15:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Julie

    I too have been following this story, have met Tiffany, and she is a spectacularly incredible woman (plus, she's hilarious)! This story is so moving and inspiring...

    June 15, 2012 at 20:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. G.

    Back in the early 1970's, I seriously wanted to do this for my sister & husband. I had not heard of anybody doing it before and didn't know how to discuss this with them. When did surrogatsy become an option for childless couples?

    June 15, 2012 at 22:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. johnreeder

    So proud of a fellow surrogate! 🙂 This story is awesome!

    June 17, 2012 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • johnreeder

      I don't have wordpress, had to log in with my husband's account. That should have said Jill @ Mormon Surrogate, not John. Had to clarify.

      June 17, 2012 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
  5. Lawrence E. Segers

    This is, actually, very confused. This – in truth – is a form of incest through IVF. This child is going to be confused. My aunt is my birth mom? First, with 100's of thousands of orphans in need of love and family why this? Ever heard of adoption? The doctors conducting this procedure are also conducting a confused and questionable ethical practice as well by pushing appropriate medical ethics to the a limit that should never be tested in the first instance. The ability to bring life into the world is a powerful gift and a responsibility. Clearly, responsibility has been tossed to the wind here. Just because one can does not mean one should. Where are the "adults" in this? Sometimes we just simply need to say – no – to a bad idea. This is a bad idea.

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.