Henning teacher becomes a surrogate for best friend’s brother

Photo by Chad Koenen
Naomi Horn has become a surrogate for her best friend’s brother and his wife who can no longer have children on their own. The trio started the process last year and had a number of setbacks, before finding out Horn was pregnant this summer.

By Chad Koenen

Publisher

There is perhaps no better word to describe the birth of a child than a miracle. From conception to the actual birth, there is something uniquely special about bringing a child into the world. 

However, every once in a while the birth of a child becomes even more miraculous when families are given what seems to be insurmountable odds to have a child.

That was the case for Naomi Horn as she agreed to be a surrogate for her best friend’s brother and his wife. After a first transfer of an embryo didn’t result in a pregnancy last December, doctors were skeptical if the remaining embryos were in good enough shape to result in a pregnancy—going as far as to tell the family and Horn that they should consider disposing of the four remaining embryos due to a potential defect. 

Turning to their faith, the family and Horn sought a second opinion and pushed on with the surrogacy. They learned earlier this summer that one of the embryos that could have just as easily been thrown away, could soon become the new son of a loving family. 

  “This child that was literally supposed to be thrown away is a miracle, because it isn’t even mine. I am just carrying it,” said Horn. 

A mother of three young children herself, Horn said she enjoyed being pregnant with her children. Sure there were times that being pregnant wasn’t exactly fun, but knowing in the end that a family is blessed with a young child to love and hold makes the difficult times worth it in the end. Since she enjoyed being pregnant, Horn said if the right opportunity presented itself she would be willing to be a surrogate to give another family that same joy of holding their young child. 

“I liked being pregnant and I always said I would be a surrogate,” said Horn.

Little did she know that the opportunity to become a surrogate would come from one of her best friend’s sibling. 

“My best friend called me in January 2022 and said ‘my brother is looking for a surrogate’ and she said you should call them,” said Horn. 

Since her friend’s brother and his wife were unable to have a baby on their own, they were in need of a surrogate to carry their baby. They had previously found a person who agreed to be a surrogate, but that person backed out and that left the couple scrambling to find another person to help them have a child of their own. 

Relying on her faith to guide her through the process, Horn contacted her best friend’s brother and his wife about becoming their surrogate—a relationship that has made the entire surrogacy process much more special.

“It makes it very special to know the people,” she said. “I’m a special aunt. That is what they have dubbed me already.”

However, the joy for both Horn knowing she could assist the couple of having a child and the couple in Kansas, was met with more than a handful of road blocks along the way. 

The first challenge was when Horn was denied to become a surrogate just a short time before the first transfer was being planned. The Henning School music teacher said she suffered from postpartum depression when she had her daughter Elizabeth, something she was upfront about at the beginning of the surrogacy process. On a questionnaire she filled out shortly after agreeing to be a surrogate she informed doctors about having postpartum and spoke openly about her experience with postpartum. However, no red flags were ever raised by doctors until last fall when the first transfer was being planned.

Wanting to move forward with the process, Horn implored doctors to reconsider their decision. The family that Horn agreed to be a surrogate for eventually found another clinic in Denver, which is renowned for their work with embryos, that agreed to allow Horn to be a surrogate. 

While the news was positive for the family and a big step forward, it also meant that the entire legal process and paperwork that was needed to become a surrogate had to start over once again. 

Through all of the trials of the past year, Horn traveled to Denver on December 1, 2022 for the first transfer of what doctors determined to be the healthiest looking embryo. Unfortunately,the euphoria of the entire process coming together was short-lived.

“I never even got pregnant, it just didn’t take,” said Horn of the first transfer.

After the first attempt to become pregnant through a transfer failed, Horn and the couple from Kansas learned that the medical facility in Denver wanted to dispose of the four remaining embryos due to a perceived defect. 

“The doctors said there was less-than a  one percent chance of them making it,” she said. 

Throughout the process, the doctors in Denver continued to remind Horn and her surrogate family, of the slim chances of the embryos actually becoming a baby and to ensure they were making the best decision. 

Never one to give up without a fight, Horn and the family she agreed to be a surrogate for sent the paperwork of the four remaining embryos to a specialist in New York. The specialist determined that even though there was the potential for some abnormalities, the chance of becoming pregnant was closer to 20-30 percent. With the new information in hand, the group moved forward with the plan to try another transfer of the embryos, even if the chances of becoming pregnant were much smaller than originally hoped. 

Unfortunately, the roller coaster continued for Horn and the family in Kansas, as they later learned the clinic in Denver had already disposed of two of the remaining four embryos prior to a second transfer attempt. Horn said she wasn’t exactly sure why the embryos were discarded, but she guessed they didn’t meet a preapproved set of guidelines between the family and the clinic. 

Down to their final attempt, Horn had the two remaining embryos transfered in Denver on June 6. This time around one of the embryos, which could have just as easily been discarded and thrown away, took and Horn became pregnant. 

For the past three months, Horn has been able to share the pregnancy with the family in Kansas she is carrying the baby for as they talk regularly and even fly up to Minnesota to attend some of the more milestone doctor appointments.  

Horn is due on February 22, 2024 and is looking forward to the opportunity to watch a loving family hold their new baby for the first time. 

“I can’t wait for the day I can see the child in their arms,” she said.