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For Erin Andrews, surrogacy was a Hail Mary ... and now she's passing the ball

The sportscaster endured "10 years of hell" to become a mom, inspired in part by Kristen Welker. Now she's helping others with a special grant for fertility treatments.

For sportscaster Erin Andrews, turning to a surrogate to help grow her family was a successful "Hail Mary" pass. But for so many other couples who want to become parents, surrogacy, IVF and other infertility treatments are financially out of reach.

On TODAY, Andrews surprised a couple who've been struggling with infertility, high school sweethearts Caitlin and Tyler Fairres, with a $20,000 grant to help them pursue their dream of having a child. Because Caitlin suffers from premature ovarian failure, the couple hoped to explore IVF with the help of a donor egg. This grant will help make that dream a reality.

Erin Andrews, Kristen Welker
High school sweethearts Caitlin and Tyler Fairres just received a $20,000 grant to help them pursue their dream of having a child.TODAY

As every person on the TODAY set teared up, Welker said, "It's hard to keep up hope when you don't feel like you have the resources, so this hopefully will give you guys hope."

"Thank you so much. Oh my gosh!" said Caitlin.

"It means the world to us. You have no idea," added Tyler.

Erin Andrews, Kristen Welker
An emotional moment in Studio 1A.TODAY

The grant comes from the organization Babyquest, and is financially supported by Enfamil Enspire Optimum. Erin Andrews is a spokesperson for Enfamil Enspire Optimum.

Andrews and her husband, retired NHL player Jarret Stoll, went through years of heartache before finally holding their baby boy, Mack Roger Stoll, in their arms.

“It was 10 years of hell,” she told in July 2023.

After Andrews was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016, her oncologist recommended that she and Stoll freeze embryos. Andrews underwent two surgeries and was declared cancer-free, but she and Stoll decided to move ahead with IVF in the event that the cancer returned.

Many unsuccessful rounds of IVF later, the couple tried to start their family with help from a surrogate, but they ended up losing two embryos in the process. “I really struggled mentally. I didn’t handle it very well ... I kind of tried to push it aside and act like everything was OK,” Andrews said.

Through all the highs and lows, Andrews looked to NBC's Kristen Welker for inspiration.

Erin Andrews, Kristen Welker
Andrews appreciated the way Welker shared her struggle to start a family to make other women feel less alone.Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Welker and her husband, John Hughes, had also grown their family through surrogacy. The couple’s daughter Margot will celebrate her 3rd birthday in a few months.

Andrews said that Welker inspired her to be a “voice” for others going through infertility, IVF and surrogacy. Welker previously shared that she wanted to be open about her struggles to have a child because it helped her when other people, including TODAY’s Dylan Dreyer, spoke out about infertility

Andrews and Welker met and discussed their experiences with their "angel" surrogates, as well as their frustrations with the high cost of IVF.

"It just it angered me because it’s already hard enough with the emotional toll, then you have the finances," Andrews said to Welker.

Together with the Enfamil Enspire Optimum Bottle Up campaign and Baby Quest, Andrews is thrilled to announce the “Mack Grant” to support individuals who are looking to start or expand their family. People who cannot afford the high costs of fertility treatment can apply now through September 6th.

"I think people don’t need to feel embarrassed that they have a surrogate, or are looking for other help, or different ways to have a baby," says Andrews. 

Both Andrews and Welker hope this grant is just the beginning.

Welker said, "Erin and I are committed to finding ways to make fertility services more accessible to other families across the country."