Woman Serves as Surrogate for High School Friend Who Faced Cancer: 'A Great Act of Kindness'
Katy Sanchez was told she could not become pregnant because of the unknown effects her treatment could have on a fetus
After being diagnosed with brain cancer three years ago, Katy Sanchez could have never imagined that in a few years, she would reunite with a high school friend who would change her life.
Sanchez, of Lansing, Michigan, was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme IV in 2017 after her optometrist discovered she had elevated intracranial pressure while examining her eye, according to Fox affiliate WSYM. The news was made even more complicated since it came just weeks after she exchanged vows with her husband, Joshua.
Just a few days after the diagnosis, Sanchez underwent an operation to remove the tumor and began a weeks-long course of both radiation and chemotherapy, followed by six months of chemotherapy. Because glioblastoma is challenging to treat and is known for a high rate of reoccurrence — leading to a low-rate of survival for a majority of patients — Sanchez opted to undergo a clinical trial at Cleveland Clinic. It has had great results, and the tumor has not grown back in the three years since she started treatment.
But due to the clinical trial, the couple was told they could not become pregnant because of the unknown effects the medication could have on a fetus, Sanchez told the outlet.
"Since it is unknown how the medication could affect a growing fetus, it would be unethical to become pregnant and continue to participate in the trial," she explained. "Since the treatment has been very successful it wasn’t a choice for us to discontinue my cancer care treatments."
Sanchez and Joshua did not want to give up on their dreams of having children and considered gestational surrogacy as an option. That's when she posted about her situation to Facebook, where it was seen by her high school friend, Christy Acevedo. To the couple's surprise, Acevedo wanted to be the surrogate after being moved by their story.
"Katy and I had a lot of conversations. Not a lot of time passed after I initially read her post telling her that I was going to do it," Acevedo — a nurse at McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital— told Good Morning America of her decision. "We both cried. It was unforgettable, of course."
"I just felt this undeniable calling from God; that’s the best way I can describe it," she added to WSYM. "My husband and I talked about how blessed we were to have our two girls and the opportunity to give that to someone else. We realized the sacrifice it would be, but also that it was a short time in our lives to forever change theirs."
After the team worked out the details behind the surrogacy (Michigan has stringent requirements), the embryo was transferred in January 2020 on what was an emotional day for all involved.
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Sanchez's baby girl was delivered via surrogacy in October, and thanks to Acevedo's selflessness, both she and Joshua are basking in the thrill of parenthood.
“It was all as I hoped it was,” Acevedo told GMA. “It was incredible moments that I won’t ever forget. A baby was born but so was a mother and a father and I had the opportunity to see that.”
Added Sanchez: “I’m so happy that I will be able to tell my daughter that she was born out of such a great act of kindness.”