There are some bonds in life that are so powerful they can’t be broken—such as the relationship between twin sisters. Rachael and Tara also share another unique bond—they are both gestational surrogates who have carried babies for others as part of their own surrogacy journeys. When one sister decided to become a surrogate, it wasn’t long before her twin sister followed suit. Learn how Rachael and Tara helped each other through their surrogacy journeys while also having their own stories to tell.
Growing up as a twin
Rachael and Tara’s mother suffered several pregnancy losses and was initially told it would be very difficult to have children. To her surprise, she naturally became pregnant with twins and was able to carry them to term.
Their modest, traditional family spent summers swimming in the pool, going thrift store shopping, taking family walks or bike rides, and playing with their two Rottweilers.
Though they were twins, they each had unique personalities growing up. Rachael was the bookworm, and Tara was a daydreamer. They were often at odds as teenagers, but now, as adults, they are best friends who talk daily.
Since they are fraternal, they were seen more as just sisters than twins. Rachael is also 6 inches taller than Tara, which made her the default big sister in the relationship!
Rachael and Tara’s mother passed away when the twins were 14 years old. Knowing it was so difficult for her to carry a baby to term, coupled with Rachael’s and Tara’s ability to easily carry pregnancies, made them want to help others fulfill their dreams of becoming parents.
The same but different
As adults, the sisters lead distinctly contrasting lives. Rachael stayed in their hometown area in Florida until 2021, while Tara became a military spouse, moving often and recently settling in Alaska.
Although their lifestyles are different, they share a lot of the same core values. They both have a deep desire to give back to the world and help people and animals in need. Both sisters have a passion for community service, and each volunteer for several organizations.
Tara is a stay-at-home mom to one son. She has a passion for spay and neuter programs, international travel, and rugby.
Rachael is a Director in third party reproduction. She has a son and daughter who keep her busy with their many extracurricular activities. She has been a board member for Women United and enjoys cruises with her family.
Family and friends’ reactions
Their loved ones had a range of reactions to the two becoming gestational surrogates. Some were supportive and excited, while others were worried about the potential risks involved. Overall, everyone was curious to hear more about their experiences.
“I just explained what I was doing, how that happens, and that our family is complete, and we now want to help others,” Rachael says.
Tara was fortunate to have the experience of seeing Rachael’s journeys, which eased the process of her decision to become a gestational surrogate herself.
Choosing intended parents
When you become a surrogate, you have the opportunity to help create a family. You also have the responsibility of choosing the intended parents you wish to carry for. This is a huge decision and one that neither sister took lightly.
Rachael and Tara both wanted long-term relationships with the intended parents they carried for and looked for similar qualities. Rachael carried for three different families – a same-sex couple in South America, an opposite-sex couple in New York, and a same-sex couple in Florida, and Tara carried for a same-sex couple in Illinois.
They both went through the process of surrogacy with the same agency, and they both had healthy pregnancies. In many ways, their surrogacy experiences were similar, but they each had their own unique experiences of becoming a surrogate.
Supporting each other through their journeys
The two were fortunate to be able to support each other through it all, despite going through very different experiences.
Tara shared, “I watched Rachael’s previous journeys but truly did not understand all that went into carrying for another family.”
Rachael talked Tara through her daily injections as part of the process.
“It brought us even closer to discuss the journey and process of each step and milestones and the beauty in bringing life to the world to help another couple/family in need,” says Rachael.
They both had very different birth experiences but were able to help support each other through them all. Rachael’s labors were induced and she delivered naturally, while Tara had a scheduled c-section due to high blood pressure.
Surrogacy was an amazing and rewarding experience for both sisters. They feel incredibly lucky to have been able to help families grow, and they’re grateful to have been a part of their journeys.
“Surrogacy has been one of my most fulfilling experiences in helping others,” says Rachael. “I feel so blessed to have been able to do that. I also feel like I’m teaching my children to help others.”