N. Iowa woman is both mother and grandmother

VENTURA, Iowa (AP) — Susie Kozisek looked on with a grandmother’s pride as her daughter and husband, Ashley and Jay Larkin, held their 3-week-old twin daughters, Hallee and Hadlee.

Their older daughter, Harper, 2, played on the floor nearby.

“It means the world to me,” Kozisek said of the young Ventura family. “I just wanted them to have the chance to be parents. They’re very good at it.”

The Globe Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/140FWgz ) Kozisek, 53, mother of four children ages 20 to 30, was the gestational carrier for the twins, who were born July 15 after what Kozisek calls an “uneventful” pregnancy.

She was 52 at the time.

Kozisek was also the gestational carrier for Harper, who was born June 24, 2011.

Ashley, 28, who has pulmonary hypertension, cannot give birth.

“They are miracles,” said Ashley, cradling Hadlee, who weighed 6 pounds at birth. “They’re good babies, too. They’re content to sleep a lot.”

Serving as a gestational carrier was Susie’s idea for both pregnancies. Her doctor gave her the go-ahead.

A gestational carrier is a woman who volunteers to carry a pregnancy for someone who cannot otherwise carry a pregnancy for herself.

The eggs and sperm come from the intended parents and are united through in vitro fertilization and the resulting embryo is implanted in the carrier’s uterus.

In the case of the Larkins’ twins, the embryos had been kept in storage since an in vitro fertilization in October 2010 at the Mayo Clinic.

The embryos were implanted in Kozisek’s uterus in November 2012.

“I just felt really privileged and honored to be able to help,” Kozisek said. “I think everybody would do whatever they can do for their children.”

Kozisek, who also lives in rural Ventura, remained healthy throughout the pregnancy, working as a legal secretary in Clear Lake until the week before the twins were born by Caesarean section.

Ashley was present at the birth.

“Everything they tell you can happen because you’re older — diabetes, high blood pressure — didn’t happen,” Kozisek said. “I was never under restrictions, never on bed rest.”

She said she was determined that it would work and it did.

Her husband, Butch, took some convincing that she should be a gestational carrier for a second time, she acknowledged, but today he is “very, very proud.”

Jay’s parents, Barb and Glen Juhl of Garner, are also excited to have three grandchildren and grateful, too, he said.

“They’re kind of in awe of the whole thing,” said Jay.

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Information from: Globe Gazette, http://www.globegazette.com/

This AP Member Exchange was shared by the Globe Gazette.

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