Sarah Sharp, mom of a 1-year-old, wanted to give her child a sibling but due to a rare cancer called choriocarcinoma, which doctors believe originated from her first pregnancy, Sharp was unable to do so.
Sharp then underwent seven rounds of chemotherapy to fight the cancer, which at the time, saved her uterus. But by the time Sharp’s first checkup came, the cancer had come back.
Sharp underwent a hysterectomy, which successfully removed the cancer but it also took away Sharp’s chances of carrying another baby. Thankfully, she had someone in the wings who promised she would carry her babies for her: her sister.
And in October of 2020, the sister started the surrogacy process — and by the end of the year, they discovered Stoner was pregnant with Sharp’s child. A boy.
“The seed was planted way before I even found out about my cancer diagnosis,” Sharp tells Parents of her choice.
“When they thought I may have a ectopic pregnancy, I almost underwent an emergency hysterectomy in which Cathey came running by my side. Distraught over the thought of this, she casually said, ‘I’ll have your babies’ to lighten the mood. Then, a year later after my diagnosis, cancer treatment, and hysterectomy, she said it for real and meant it.”
The sisters didn’t pick up the conversation until Sharp had been in remission for a year. They made sure they were good candidates for the process — which involved creating embryos from Sharp’s eggs and implanting them in Stoner’s uterus.
“Cathey knew we were thinking about surrogacy and she told me specifically that she felt called to be ours and to look no further,” Sharp says. “For her, I think it was never a question. And without hesitancy, she took it on as a ministry and calling. Of course her husband had to be on board and family because it is a family affair! And takes a village-it really is a purest act of love and we are still in awe at her willingness and gift she’s giving to our family.”
The sisters have detailed the story via their podcast, Talk to Me Sister in hopes to spread awareness about choriocarcinoma, a form of gestational trophoblastic disease. According to the American Cancer Society, these cancers start in the cells that would normally develop into the placenta during pregnancy.
“[Choriocarcinoma] is a form of gestational trophoblastic disease-which can come from a miscarriage, molar pregnancy, or full-term pregnancy. I just never knew you could get cancer from having a baby,” says Sharp.
“When I was going through my cancer journey I felt so alone. I went to social media to find anyone just anyone who had been down the same road. I found several women abroad and a few stateside who were chorio survivors. It helped me to see women who had gone through it and come out the other side. So I felt being vocal about even the ups and downs was necessary. And now being on the other side, and sharing hope of a future life and pregnancy seemed like a no-brainer.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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