Chalise Smith – a 50-year-old mother of eight – gave birth to her granddaughter on 17 May, after her daughter Kaitlyn Munoz had struggled with infertility for three years.
Munoz, 25, was told she should not attempt another pregnancy after being diagnosed with endometriosis, and later Sjögren’s syndrome – a disease in which a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s cells and tissues.
After harvesting four embryos in 2019, Munoz gave birth to her first child, a boy named Callahan. But with two embryos left from her previous IVF cycle and considering surrogacy, she turned to her mother for help.
In an interview with KSL, Chalise Smith said that she decided to be her daughter’s surrogate after learning that Munoz wouldn’t be able to carry another child. But first, she wanted to make sure she wasn’t “jumping into this emotionally because I was wanting to do this for her,” as well as wanting the support of both her husband and son-in-law.
Not to mention the medical concerns she had with carrying a pregnancy at 50 years old.
"[I was] going to be 50... I have a bad right leg, [and] just with pregnancies, the sciatic nerve gets pinched off," Smith told Fox 13. "And to be 100 per cent honest, it was one of the easiest pregnancies."
On 17 May, Alayna Kait-Chalise Munoz was born at American Fork Hospital in Utah weighing at seven pounds and 13 ounces. Smith’s daughter, her husband, and her son-in-law were all present in the delivery room for her birth.
"There were many during the pregnancy who tell me how hard it was going to be to hand the baby over after I carried her for nine months, but that wasn’t the case,” Smith 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."
Kaitlyn Munoz – who lives in El Paso, Texas – reflected on the “amazing experience” in an Instagram tribute, alongside a series of pictures of her mother resting in a hospital bed. The black-and-white photos also showed Munoz and her husband Miguel holding their newborn daughter.
“I am at a loss of words,” she captioned the post. “My mom is a living angel and brought us another blessing earth side and we are in LOVE.”
She continued: “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.”
One week after the birth of her granddaughter, Chalise Smith reflected on her surrogacy journey as well in a sentimental Instagram post.
“Never did I think I would experience something like this or have a baby at 50!” she wrote, adding that the birth of her granddaughter was a “miracle”.
The Independent has contacted Kaitlyn Munoz for comment.