A story of surrogacy inspires Stephanie O'Hara's book, "Angel Wings"
“It was unbelievable. I had given birth to one of our children, and watched someone else give birth to our other two children. Not many women have had such a viewpoint.”
– From “Angel Wings”
That day in 2015, as they were present for the delivery of their two youngest children, Stephanie O’Hara and her husband, Dirk, realized that the answer to their prayers had come in a way they never would have guessed years before.
“After having our son, Aiden, we started trying for number two about a year and a half later,” O’Hara said. “We got pregnant right away. I was so excited. I felt so in control. Things were going perfectly and I had taken my mind all the way to ‘is it a brother or a sister’ and ‘can you imagine them playing together.’ Over Thanksgiving weekend, I was a couple of months along and I started cramping.”
When O’Hara learned that she was experiencing a miscarriage, she wanted support. She started at a bookstore, where she asked for the section on miscarriage and infertility.
“I was told that was an odd request and there weas no such section in the store,” she said. “I got in my car and just sobbed.”
It would be another six years before the O’Haras would welcome their twins. The road to growing their family included seven miscarriages, infertility, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and ultimately, surrogacy.
O’Hara detailed the family’s journey in her book, “Angel Wings: A Story of Love, Faith, Infertility, Surrogacy, and Not Giving Up Hope.”
“We were considering adoption – we were considering everything,” O’Hara said.
And then her best friend asked to carry embryos that were available from O’Hara’s IVF. Though it did not work out medically for that to happen, the conversation opened the door to an option the O’Haras had not considered previously.
The family started connecting with potential surrogates – women who could act as a gestational carrier for their embryos. O’Hara said looking through the surrogacy agency’s options felt like online dating.
“It was strange – I’m not doing to lie,” she said.
As soon as they saw Tiffany's profile, they felt a connection.
“I just knew,” O’Hara said. “As strange as it was, it also felt right.”
From the time they met Tiffany until the birth of their twins, it was 18 months.
“It’s probably nobody’s Plan A,” O’Hara said. “It wasn’t our Plan Z.”
But she is grateful for both Tiffany’s willingness to serve as a surrogate and for the chance to grow their family. In fact, since the families live within driving distance of each other – the O’Haras in Oklahoma and Tiffany and her family in Texas – they have remained close. Tiffany’s daughters have been babysitters for the twins and Tiffany and O’Hara started a ministry together.
Though the journey was fraught with difficulty and often, sadness, O’Hara said choosing surrogacy was a gift for her family. She said families considering this option should know that it is not just something for celebrities, though she cautions that surrogacy laws vary by state.
“Legislation is starting to catch up with the technology, but there is still a tremendous way to go,” she said. “Take one step forward and make that appointment (with your doctor or a surrogacy agency). Gather facts. Gather data. If you get encouraging news, then you can take another step forward.”
And though the financial outlay can be a challenge, O’Hara said the entire amount isn’t needed all at once. She said it was possible to pay for each step as they encountered it, easing the strain.
“I think people probably get overwhelmed by the financial piece,” she said.
O’Hara offers details about finding a gestational carrier, her family’s surrogacy journey and more at http://www.yourangelwings.net