Family Stories

Carly and Ethan: Love, Health and Surrogacy


Carley and Ethan’s journey together began at the University of Illinois, where an AEPHi/AEPi event brought them together. Both hailing from the north Chicago suburbs and pursuing degrees in Economics, their connection was immediate and enduring. After graduating, their adventure took them to several cities – from San Francisco to Los Angeles, then back to Chicago, and finally settling in Austin, Texas. Throughout these moves, Ethan advanced in his career to become a VP of Engineering, while Carley dedicated herself to patient advocacy, driven by her personal health experiences.

Carley’s health journey became a pivotal part of their story early on. Diagnosed with Dysautonomia, Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Hereditary Alpha Tryptasemia, and uncategorized autoimmune issues, she faced significant risks associated with pregnancy. These conditions made it clear that traditional paths to parenthood would be dangerous, leading the couple to explore other options.

Understanding the complexities of Carley’s health, surrogacy emerged as the safest and best route to parenthood for them. Despite their readiness and eagerness to start a family, the financial implications of surrogacy were daunting. It was the generosity of the Chicago Coalition for Family Building (CCFB) that provided Carley and Ethan the means to proceed with their surrogacy journey.

This opportunity has not only moved them closer to realizing their dream of becoming parents but also deepened their commitment to sharing their story. Carley and Ethan are passionate about opening up conversations around infertility, aiming to reduce stigma and support others facing similar challenges. They believe in creating a space where stories like theirs can be shared freely and with compassion, contributing positively to the broader conversation about family building.

Carley and Ethan also have an adorable aussiedoodle, Chloe, and can’t wait to give her a human sibling!

Carly and Ethan are recipients of the Path to Parenthood Grant from the Jewish United Fund – Chicago.