After watching her identical twin Amy Fuggiti undergo multiple unsuccessful rounds of IVF, Courtney Essenpreis knew what she had to do.
Invoking the strong bond shared by many twins, she didn't hesitate to offer to be her sister's surrogate in a bid to help her fulfil a long-held dream of starting a family.
As Amy told The New York Post, Courtney made the generous offer without the pair having even discussed the option.
The twins, 36, both have a chromosomal disorder known as Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome, an eye condition that saw both diagnosed with glaucoma aged just 12. Given the pair have a 50 per cent risk of passing this on to any children, they opted for genetic testing to allow their embryos to be screened.
However while Courtney had been able to conceive and has two kids of her own, Amy and her husband Anthony struggled through four years of unsuccessful attempts.
"I've lost count of the number of retrievals I've had," Amy told The Post. "There were so many opportunities for things to go wrong. It was disappointment after disappointment."
Last July, the couple were told they had a healthy embryo ready to go. And Courtney stepped in to boost their chances of having a successful pregnancy.
The couple were elated when Courtney told them they were pregnant.
"When I say 'We're pregnant,' I mean myself, my husband and my sister," Amy said. "It's a beautiful celebration of life, because all three of us did this together."
Keeping followers updated on their journey on Instagram, the twins have revealed they're expecting a baby girl in October.
As Amy told CafeMom, they also wanted to share the rollercoaster of fertility struggles, to help others experiencing this feel less alone.
"Infertility is a topic so often not discussed when it affects so many men and women," she said. "The process of IVF is incredibly difficult. There are such high highs and low lows that having a good support system becomes intangible."
"The joy of having my sister by my side the entire way, and now carrying us all to the finish line is something I can't even begin to describe.