A mum-of-eight has given birth to her granddaughter as a surrogate after her daughter struggled with infertility issues.
Chalise Smith, 50, gave birth to her granddaughter on May 17 after her daughter’s battle with endometriosis and Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune condition that sees the immune system attacking healthy parts of the body, meant she couldn’t have another baby.
Chalise previously said that she made the “emotional decision” to become a surrogate after daughter Kaitlyn Munoz, 25, was told she shouldn’t attempt another pregnancy due to her health conditions.
Kaitlyn and her husband Miguel, 30, conceived their son Callahan, two, through IVF after harvesting four embryos in 2019.
But her diagnosis with Sjogren’s syndrome “crushed” their dreams of extending the family after doctors issued a stark warning over another pregnancy and the risk it could carry.
The stay-at-home mum previously said: “I was told by health professionals that it wouldn’t be safe to carry any more children.
“I was crushed, it’s always been my dream to have a big family, it’s been my dream to be a mum with lots of kids ever since I was a young girl.”
Chalise was wary of becoming a surrogate at first, partly because of her age, but wanted to ultimately support her daughter and son-in-law.
After making sure that Miguel and Kaitlyn, as well as her husband Kyle, were “100 per cent” in, she then underwent checks.
“With my age, I had to go through a lot of health checks before I could get the all clear for becoming a surrogate,” said Chalise.
After being given the all clear, she had two embryos implanted in September and fell pregnant with her granddaughter.
“[I was] going to be 50… I have a bad right leg, [and] just with pregnancies, the sciatic nerve gets pinched off,” she told Fox 13.
“And to be 100 per cent honest, it was one of the easiest pregnancies.”
Alayna Kait-Chalise Munoz, at seven pounds and 13 ounces, was born on May 17 at American Fork Hospital in Utah.
Chalise, her daughter, her husband and her son-in-law were all there in the delivery room for her birth
Chalise said that many had warned her about how tough it would be to hand over the baby after carrying her for nine months, but told KSL: “I knew from the beginning that this wasn’t my baby.
“This was a gift for my daughter that she couldn’t do for herself. I would do anything for any of my children.”
As Alayna turned one-week old, Chalise wrote a gushing post on Instagram and reflected on her emotional journey
“Alayna is one week! As I have reflected on my surrogacy journey this past week, I have been reminded of many things I experienced along the way,” she wrote.
“Many emotions and feelings played a role in the journey. Excitement, fear, faith, hope, anticipation, doubt, joy and undoubtedly LOVE.
“Sixteen months ago, when I learned that Kaitlyn would not be able to have another pregnancy, the thought came to me that I should carry the last two embryos they had. Never did I think I would experience something like this or have a baby at 50!
“I needed to make sure I wasn’t making an emotional choice so before I shared the idea with Kyle or Kaitlyn & Miguel, I needed to know if this was the right choice.
“As I turned to my Heavenly Father and Savior, through prayer and always pondering my choice in my heart, there were countless moments of guidance and confirmations that this path was a path for me.”
She added: “I am truly grateful for the experience I have had and for my testimony that has been strengthened that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are very aware of me and love me! I know this without a doubt. I have seen His hand in my life.
“This sweet little girl has already brought so much joy into our lives and she will continue to be a blessing and joy, especially, to her parents and brother Callahan. She is a miracle. God lives, loves us and will always guide and comfort us if we turn to Him!”
Kaitlyn, who lives in El Paso, Texas, said on Instagram that she was “at a loss for words” about her mum’s selfless act in helping her complete her family.
After the birth of her daughter, she wrote: “What an amazing experience the last 24 hours have been. I am at a loss of words. My mom is a living angel and brought us another blessing earth side and we are in LOVE.
“When my mom offered to be our surrogate it just felt so right. My mom did so amazing through out the pregnancy and we had an amazing delivery experience. Grateful for my mom and her selflessness in this journey.”