OREGON CITY, Ore. — Fraternal twin sisters, Whitney Bliesner and Jill Noe are best friends.
They feel each other’s emotions and when one needs help, the other steps up. Never has that been clearer than over the past year, when Noe volunteered to carry twins for her sister.
“She just basically said, ‘I'll be your surrogate. I'll do it,” said Bliesner. “I was shocked because I know it's a huge undertaking.”
Bliesner has Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2), a hereditary condition that causes benign tumors to grow on the nervous system. It's taken half of Bliesner’s eyesight, part of her hearing, and almost her dream of motherhood.
“It was kind of heartbreaking,” Bliesner said. “Knowing that something you want is just so hard to obtain.”
Doctors told Bliesner that carrying a child would be risky for her health. If she did, there'd be a good chance she'd pass NF2 on to her baby.
“Ever since she was diagnosed with NF2, I've seen things taken away from her without her control and that really, really frustrated me,” Noe said. “It made me sad.”
That's when Noe got an idea of being Bliesner’s surrogate.
“I know if the roles were to be reversed, she would have done the same for me,” she said.
Doctors combined donor eggs with sperm from Bliesner’s husband Pete. They then placed the embryos in Noe, through in vitro fertilization.
“I'm emotionally connected to these babies,” Bliesner said.
Baby boy Rhett and baby girl Rhenley are due in June.
“I'm going to be the best aunt that they'll ever have, and the maternal part will all be Whitney,” said Noe with a chuckle. “I'll get to have them when they're having fun and when they're crying I can be like, you can take them—my job's done!”