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Surrogacy ‘unicorn’ is pregnant with baby No. 11 and would do it again ‘in a heartbeat’

She delivered healthy babies in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2021 and 2022, three of which are her own. She is due again in July.
Emily Westerfield
"I get attached like a loving aunt," Emily Westerfield explains of her relationship after giving birth. Knowing the heartbreak that the couple has gone through in the past, "you want to hand that baby over when you get to the end of this."Courtesy Emily Westerfield

April 21-27 is National Infertility Awareness Week. All week, TODAY will be sharing stories to raise awareness of what it is like to experience infertility.

In the last 13 years, 37-year-old Emily Westerfield has delivered 10 healthy babies. Three were her own biological children. She acted as a gestational carrier for families of the others. Twice, she carried twins.

She is now 28 weeks pregnant with baby No. 11.

"I'm probably the unicorn in this industry," Westerfield tells

Her incredible success in navigating the surrogacy experience led her to give birth to Carrying Dreams, her own full-service agency designed to help egg donors, surrogates and intended parents on their parenting journeys in a way that works best for them.

So, would Westerfield consider having baby No. 12?

“In a heartbeat,” she says.

Planting the seed for surrogacy

Westerfield and her husband, Max, live in Celina, Ohio, with their three biological children: Mckenna, 13, Jack, 11, and Charlie, 10.

In 2010, Westerfield spent a lot of time bonding with Max's cousin, who had been having trouble sustaining a pregnancy for years. She was suffering from secondary infertility and struggled to bring a pregnancy to term.

"She just continuously kept having loss after loss, and it was heartbreaking," she says.

Westerfield was able to conceive and deliver her three biological children with relative ease, making her feel "guilty" every time she shared the news with her husband's cousin. Without knowing much about the process of surrogacy, Westerfield offered to be a gestational carrier for the cousin's embryo.

The Westfield family: Emily, her husband Max, their daughter Mckenna and sons Jack (right) and Charlie (left).
The Westfield family: Emily, her husband Max, their daughter Mckenna and sons Jack (right) and Charlie (left).Courtesy Emily Westerfield

"They did not feel that surrogacy was the path that they wanted to take," she explains, "but I knew that there were probably so many other people in the world who needed help in a very similar way. Maybe I could help."

Even while she was pregnant with her third (and last) biological child, Westerfield mentioned to her husband that she was interested in becoming a gestational carrier.

"I was shot down by him so many times," Westerfield says with a laugh. "The more and more I shared to educate him, I think the more and more he felt comfortable with it. Or he just got sick of me nagging."

The first surrogacy journey

After her son Charlie completed their family, Westerfield activated her search to find another family to assist via surrogacy in earnest. She joined an online forum that no longer exists. “It was almost like a Craigslist of everybody in the infertility community,” she says. Surrogates, egg donors, sperm donors and intended parents used the site to help create families.

"I created a profile and just put myself out there," says Westerfield. "I was overwhelmed with the response and just inundated with emails and queries. The more and more that I got into this, the more I realized there’s so many more people out there that need the help than the people that are willing to help."

Westerfield had initial conversations with a handful of hopeful parents and ultimately chose a couple that seemed like a good match in terms of personality, age and location. They were an easy three-hour drive away.

But the decision wasn't easy. Each story was more heartbreaking than the one before. The family that Westerfield ultimately decided to help already had two children. During the second birth, the mother needed an emergency hysterectomy, leaving her unable to complete their family with the third child they so desperately wanted.

Calling to tell the couple the good news "was so emotionally overwhelming and exciting and nerve-wracking, all at the same time." Using the embryos the couple had already created, Westerfield delivered their third child, a girl, in December 2015.

"And that's when everything started," Westerfield says.

Emily Westerfield
Westerfield has had three miscarriages and 11 live births. She was induced and had vaginal deliveries each time.Courtesy Emily Westerfield

Growing families

Westerfield says, “I noticed that as soon as I had the first one, I wanted to do this again. It was almost just like, ‘Now who else can I help?’”

She delivered healthy babies in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2021 and 2022. She is currently pregnant and due in July.

"I've been able to completely just have wonderful pregnancies," she says. Even so, at age 37, she knows that she may have a limited window in which to continue.

Emily Westerfield
In December 2022, Westerfield was on her way to her son's basketball game when she had to head to the hospital to give birth for the 10th time.Courtesy Emily Westerfield

The process of being a gestational carrier is markedly different than being pregnant with your own child, according to Westerfield. For instance, there are screenings and contracts and psychological evaluations. Her husband did not accompany her to appointments. She keeps in mind that the end goal is to deliver a healthy child so that another couple can "start, build or complete their family."

Wondering if it's ever hard to let go of a baby you have physically carried for nine months? Westerfield says it's not.

"I get attached like a loving aunt," she explains. Knowing the heartbreak that the couple has gone through in the past, "you want to hand that baby over when you get to the end of this."

Carrying 12 dreams

Westerfield started her own surrogacy agency in August 2023 in part to help educate and provide resources for both potential surrogates and intended families.

“I feel like there's so much information out there that it's overwhelming," Westerfield says. "And a lot of it is outdated or incorrect, and I want to be able to speak from personal experience going through this process."

She also helps match families with gestational carriers and helps hold their hand through a stressful process, making sure they are on the same page for important topics like physical or chromosomal abnormalities, geographic location, contact preferences after birth and even vaccination status.

It's difficult to find gestational carriers who are willing and fit all of the qualifications. Westerfield also thinks it's essential for gestational carriers to have completed their own families before helping others grow theirs. She has about six prospective couples for every one potential surrogate.

Westerfield takes a lot of pride in helping families grow, especially those she has carried children for. She stays in touch with each family in some capacity via text or social media, and she tries to remember to send birthday gifts.

Emily Westerfield
Westerfield gave birth to a baby girl for this mother in 2018. And then she carried twin boys for the same family the next year.Courtesy Emily Westerfield

"I am so proud to be able to do this for other people. I know my time is very limited as we're getting closer and closer to how many people I'm able to help, but still I'm young enough and I'm healthy enough to be able to do so," Westerfield says. "And I'll continue to help as long as my body and my family allows me to."