Just 12 days after celebrating the birth of her daughter Kylie (above), Heather discovered she would never be able to conceive another child when a hemorrhage led to her being rushed into ER. “Blood flowed out of me like a faucet,” recalls Heather. “I remember shifting in and out of consciousness and a firefighter standing in front of me with a blank look on his face and muttering the words to effect of ‘holy crap’. My parents had arrived while I was being wheeled out. I remember telling them I loved them and saying good-bye to Kylie. I thought this was the last time she’d see her mother alive.”
By the time she returned to her family home in Minnesota, Heather had received 18 bags of blood, three of plasma and had undergone four surgeries all in less than two weeks. But she’d also had to have a hysterectomy. “I was devastated. Absolutely devastated. Yes, I was lucky to be alive, but not being able to carry another baby was a huge loss.”
Heather and her husband Brad – who had met during Heather’s freshman year at St. Cloud State University and married in 2006 – didn’t want to give up on their dream to have a second child. So they started to research the idea of using a gestational carrier. “We both grew up with siblings,” says Heather explaining their fervent quest for another child. “We feel this is such an important relationship in a person’s life. Having that sibling to go through life with is something we both feel is important. Even before we met each other we both knew we wanted two children.”
But the costs involved came as a complete shock – Heather works part-time as a realtor and her husband is a product designer. “We have been given an estimate of $75,000-$125,000,” says Heather. “The costs will go up from there if it doesn’t work the first time. The cost can also go down from here if we find a carrier on our own.”
That was how they hit on a novel idea. To let someone else name their unborn baby, for a price: $20,000 to be exact. The couple started a page on crowd funding platform indiegogo – offering incentives ($150 for a year of new baby pictures, $25 for a thank you hug from them,) to try to raise part of the mountain of cash it would take to try and have another child, as well as and put out a plea for a surrogate.
As for giving away naming rights, “I put it in there to get a laugh out of people who were looking at our page,” says Heather. “However, if someone seriously wanted to take us up on it, we’d be game. An amount this large could make a huge impact for us on being able to move forward with this process. Therefore, if the ‘sacrifice’ we make is having a crazy baby name, we will take that in return for the addition of a life to our family.”
To help the Spencer family reach their goal: heatherandbrad.com. All photographs: The Spencer family