Brittany Daniel has revealed she and her husband Adam Touni were able to become parents after her identical twin sister Cynthia donated her own eggs.
The actor and her sister, 45, who are well-known for their roles on Sweet Valley High, reflected on the factors that led to the couple welcoming their daughter Hope in October 2021 in an interview with People.
According to Brittany, she realised that she wanted to settle down and start a family after recovering from stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011.
“I remember thinking that I had a new lease on life,” she said. “I was ready to find a partner and have a child.”
However, while speaking with a fertility specialist after her recovery, she was told that the six months of chemotherapy required to fight the cancer had diminished her egg reserve and made the possibility of getting pregnant unlikely.
According to the White Chicks star, it was at this point that she broached the possibility of an egg donation with her twin sister, with Brittany telling the outlet that Cynthia “didn’t hesitate”.
“Words cannot express how grateful I am to her,” she said of her sister’s donation.
Regarding the choice to donate her eggs to her sister, Cynthia said: “I saw it as such a simple gift I could give to her. I know Brittany would do it in a split second for me. And we’ve always shared everything, so why not this?”
Cynthia shares three children, Ryland, 17, Colt, 13, and Steely, eight, with her husband Cole Hauser.
After Brittany met Touni, who she eventually married in 2017, the couple attempted three rounds of in-vitro fertilisation using her sister’s eggs. But, when each round was unsuccessful, Brittany said she reached a point where she had to acknowledge that she may not become a mother, despite her desire to have a child.
“I thought I might have to wrap my head around not being a mom in this lifetime,” she recalled. “I fought so hard to get there, and I was so scared it wasn’t going to happen.”
However, rather than give up on their dreams of becoming parents, the couple decided to explore surrogacy options using Cynthia’s eggs.
Brittany and Touni eventually welcomed their daughter in October, with the actor telling People that they were both in the room when she was born, and that she “let out this primal cry” when she first met the newborn.
“The entire room was bawling because they just all knew what we had been through,” she said.
After taking various Covid precautions and testing negative, Cynthia met her niece for the first time in December, with the 45-year-old photographer revealing that, although she hadn’t known how she would feel at first, in that moment she “just felt like the aunt”.
“I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel at first, what emotions would come up,” she said. “But I just felt like the aunt. And that is really special.”
As for how she feels since becoming a mother, Brittany said that it’s been a “beautiful” experience, adding: “It’s better than I ever thought it could be. My sister made my dreams come true.”
The actor and her husband first announced the news of their daughter’s birth on Instagram on 27 October, with Brittany sharing a series of photos of the couple cradling their newborn.
In the caption, she reflected on the “long road” that it took to get there, before expressing her gratitude to her husband for “being an unbelievably supportive partner and now dad” and to the couple’s surrogate.
“Meet our baby girl Hope Rose Touni. Our hearts are bursting with joy. It’s been a long road to get here but we always remained hopeful that we would one day become parents,” she wrote. “Thank you @adam.touni for being an unbelievably supportive partner and now dad. Thank you to our surrogate who carried our baby so beautifully. Hope, we love witnessing who you are, just as you are. We love you!”