'Let's have a baby': sister's ultimate gift after years of IVF heartache

Aimee and Jake had waited five years to become parents.
Aimee and Jake had waited five years to become parents. Photo: Hailey Sherrie Photography

When she answered the late night phone call from her sister, Aimee Morrisby had no idea her life was about to change forever.

"Shayna said she wanted to be our surrogate and I couldn't believe it," Aimee,from Toowoomba, told Essential Baby. "I asked her if she was sure, I was so grateful."

Aimee, 26, and her husband Jake had almost given up on their dreams of becoming parents after undergoing eight painful rounds of IVF and four pregnancies that ended in miscarriage.

Baby Francesca's birth was an emotional experience for Aimee, Shayna and their families.
Baby Francesca's birth was an emotional experience for Aimee, Shayna and their families. Photo: Hailey Sherrie Photography

The five year battle to fall pregnant followed more than 40 surgeries Aimee had undergone after being diagnosed with Hirschsprung disease as a child.

The multiple operations to treat that painful bowel condition, which causes blockages in the large intestine, had created scar tissue which was encroaching on Aimee's reproductive organs.

"When I was 21 I was told that if I was planning on having children I should start trying sooner rather than later," Aimee said. 

"But after the last miscarriage, it was my bowel surgeon who discovered how much scar tissue there was on my uterus and ovaries."

It was then that Aimee was told she would not be able to carry a child safely to term and the only hope of her and Jake having their own child was via a surrogate. 

"But at that point I didn't even consider Shayna could be our surrogate," Aimee said.


"I guess because she is my younger sister and because at that stage, Shayna had just had a baby herself so wasn't really in a position to do anything. It was something that did not even occur to me."

But all that changed with Shayna's generous offer.

Aimee and Shayna and both their husbands attended counselling sessions and a legal surrogacy agreement was drawn up before the process was started.

Aimee was by Shayna's side throughout the pregnancy.
Aimee was by Shayna's side throughout the pregnancy. Photo: Supplied

Then, within three months of that first phone call, an embryo created from Aimee's egg and Jake's sperm was implanted in Shayna's uterus. While the first attempt sadly ended in an early miscarriage, the second attempt was successful and baby Francesca was born in March this year.

Shayna gave birth in a tub in a special birthing suite which was big enough to allow her own husband as well as Aimee and Jake to attend.

"Jake and Shayna's husband were just kind of hanging out on the couch relaxing while Shayna and I got down to the serious business," Aimee said.

"Being at Francesca's birth was such an amazing experience. I was watching my daughter be born, but also seeing my sister give birth, it was a very emotional experience."

Aimee said the first months of parenthood had been "even better" than expected.

When  it comes time to explain her conception and birth to baby Francesca one day, Aimee and Jake plan to be honest with their daughter.

"We are just going to always speak about it," Aimee explained. "We don't want it to be a case of telling her the truth one day, she will just always know what happened.

"The way we see it, Francesca will probably be in a class with children who were born in lots of different ways so her story really won't be a big deal."

As for her sister, Aimee could not be more thankful to Shayna for the amazing gift she has given her.

"We were always close, but we are definitely a lot closer now," Aimee said. "Knowing what she did for me is just so overwhelming."