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Infertile cancer survivor is finally becoming a mum after Instagram friend offers to be her surrogate

An infertile cancer survivor is finally becoming a mum after her Instagram friend offered to be her surrogate. Marissa Smith, 30, was diagnosed with a reproductive cancer aged 25, and despite 17 operations, three years of IVF with husband was unsuccessful. During the process, she stumbled across Instagram posts around surrogacy by Ariel Taylor. Ariel, 31, had been a surrogate three times before, and the pair became close, meeting in real life, and becoming best friends. So when Marissa was ready to try again, she enlisted the help of actor Jesse McCartney, who recorded a Cameo video, asking Ariel if she would be a surrogate. Ariel said yes - and now she is 25 weeks pregnant with Marissa's baby - conceived via IVF using Marissa's husband's sperm and Marissa's egg. The baby boy is due on July 9. Mum-to-be Marissa, a special education teacher, from Toronto, Canada, said: "When I was told I wouldn't be able to carry a pregnancy, it was very very hard. "I had hoped for so long to be a mum. "Ariel and I were already really good friends when we began the surrogacy process - I kind of 'proposed' to her and asked her to be my surrogate. "It's still surreal when we're together, to think she has my baby in her stomach - I still can't believe it. "I don’t even have words to describe how I feel towards Ariel - I’ll never be able to thank her enough for what she's done." Ariel, a social worker and psychotherapist, from London, Canada, said: "It’s so nice for me because I love being pregnant, but don’t want another baby of my own. "We were friends before but the process has brought us so much closer too. "I also get to be a part of her getting the heartbeat and the gender reveal, the intimate special moments you wouldn’t normally get to be a part of."' Marissa was diagnosed in 2018 with a cancerous tumour in her cervix and uterus. She had four surgeries and 12 procedures to her reproductive system in a bid to make her uterus suitable for pregnancy. But after three years and an unsuccessful round of IVF, she learned pregnancy wasn't an option for her. Doctors suggested they look into having a surrogate pregnancy in May of 2020. Marissa was matched with a surrogate and began searching online for more information about the process when she stumbled across Ariel's social media profiles. Ariel, who has an eight-year-old daughter and two step daughters with her fiancé, had completed three surrogacies when Marissa found reached out. Ariel said: "We became friends over the fact I was a surrogate and she was using one." In 2021, Marissa's surrogate's two embryo transfers both failed. Knowing how daunting it was to start again from scratch, in early 2022, Ariel raised the idea of being Marissa's surrogate. "Obviously she agreed!" In October 2022, they had the embryo transplant and on October 29, they found out that Ariel was pregnant, and the boy is due in July.
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