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Surrogacy Helps Sisters Share a Special First Mother’s Day

Dr. Natalie Burger Directs an IVF Gestational Surrogacy Cycle that Enables Jessie Brandt to Carry a Baby for Her Sister Nicole Hall

Capture2Austin, Texas – May 7, 2014 – Mother’s Day celebrates selfless acts, and this year Jason and Nicole Hall will recognize a sister’s love that brought life to their dream of becoming parents. Texas Fertility Center’s Dr. Natalie Burger was fortunate to help facilitate the gift.

Nicole suffers from cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle and the condition featured in the movie Beaches. Diagnosed on her 21st birthday, Nicole had accepted that she might not be able to have a family, even before she married Jason.

“It’s tough to adopt with my health history,” says Nicole. “I didn’t want to go through a surrogacy service – I know it’s a beautiful option, but it was not for us.” Through therapy and self-preservation, the couple decided against having children.

Hope Restored: Gestational Surrogacy at Texas Fertility Center

Two months before her wedding, Nicole’s obgyn reiterated how difficult it would be for Nicole to carry a pregnancy and deliver a baby, and that advanced reproductive technology and surrogacy was her only viable option.

Dr. Burger explains that gestational surrogacy involves an IVF cycle with two women: the intended parent undergoes ovulation stimulation and egg retrieval; and the carrier receives the fertilized egg in the transfer stage of IVF. In this case, Nicole’s eggs were fertilized with Jason’s sperm in the IVF lab at Texas Fertility Center.

“My family and my sister Jessie were aware of the challenges that we faced, and my sister once said, ‘let me know if you need me.’ I wanted her to volunteer, and didn’t want to put any pressure on her.”

The Christmas Gift that Led to a Mother’s Day Miracle

Jason and I started talking about the possibility of having my sister help us become parents at Christmastime 2012. “When we arrived at a family celebration that year, there was a lone gift under the tree addressed to us,” remembers Nicole. “All eyes were on me as I opened a gift that was a My Aunt Rocks onesie. Within seconds, I was crying—ugly crying—and everyone was toasting and celebrating.”

Why TFC for Gestational Surrogacy?

Nicole’s obgyn recommended TFC, and she did her own research as well. “Once I met Dr. Natalie Burger, I said, ‘she’s going to help me make a family’ … and she did.”

Dr. Burger and the fertility specialists at TFC coordinated an IVF cycle to account for Jessie’s busy schedule. Nicole’s sister was in school full time, working full time and raising her own child. The TFC team worked to ensure that a gestational surrogacy pregnancy would occur in the summertime.

Ovulation induction and egg retrieval were successful, and helped Nicole feel connected to the process. Dr. Burger arranged for the embryo transfer, and then the families waited.

“We cheated, and I spent $100 on different pregnancy tests,” says Nicole. “I’m super type A, and wanted to know before the scheduled pregnancy test at Texas Fertility Center. I told my sister, ‘let’s just try it out.’ We immediately got blue lines, plus signs, and a digital ‘yes.’ It was instant and very clear.”

Dr. Natasya Ikbal with Women Partners in Health provided pregnancy care and Dr. Stephanie Reich delivered baby Rilan two months ago; the Halls are scheduled to bring their baby girl to Texas Fertility Center for a meet and greet the Thursday after Mother’s Day.

New dad Jason has a surprise planned for Mother’s Day, but Nicole says: “Every day seems like a celebration so far.”



About Texas Fertility Center

Texas Fertility Center (TFC), one of the nation’s leading full-service infertility practices, provides advanced Infertility and Reproductive Endocrinology services to patients throughout Texas, the Southwestern United States, and the Americas. Since 1980, TFC has been recognized nationally for outstanding pregnancy rates, cutting-edge laboratory procedures, and innovative research programs. For more information, please visit

Central Austin Office

6500 N. Mopac (Loop 1) Expressway
Building 1, Suite 1200
Austin, Texas 78731
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Phone: 512-451-0149
 Fax: 512-451-0977

North Austin Office

ADC OB/GYN-East Entrance
12221 N. Mopac
Austin, Texas 78758
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Phone: 512-451-0149
 Fax: 512-451-0977

Round Rock Office

16040 Park Valley Drive, Building 1, Ste 201
Round Rock, Texas 78681
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Phone: 512-451-0149
 Fax: 512-451-0977

South Austin Office

5000 Davis Lane, Ste 100
Austin, TX 78749
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Phone: 512-451-0149
 Fax: 512-451-0977

New Braunfels Office

705 Generations Dr, Suite 102
New Braunfels, TX 78130
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Phone: 830-608-8004
 Fax: 830-620-9077

San Antonio Office

18707 Hardy Oak Blvd Suite 505
San Antonio, TX 78258
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Phone: 210-370-3800

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