Binsfeld baby is a 'special' miracle

This article submitted by Beth Zimmerman on 7/14/98.

The arrival of a new baby is always a cause for celebration. For one Paynes-ville family, the birth of their son was an especially momentous occasion.

Tom and Kris Binsfeld are the proud parents of Keegan Ray Binsfeld, born June 23, 1998. What makes Keegan’s story unique, however, is that although he is biologically Tom and Kris’s son, Keegan was carried to term by Kris’s cousin Mia Schulz through a process known as gestational surrogacy.

The couple had gone through five miscarriages, countless infertility treatments and thousands of dollars. Tom and Kris were ready to try other solutions.

“One night we saw a television show on surrogacy. Both of us looked at each other and wondered if this was the option for us,” Tom said.

Kris said, “When Mia heard [we were considering surrogacy], she knew right then that she wanted to be the surrogate. She said, ‘A stranger is not carrying their baby!’”

Tom and Kris weighed all the factors involved. They also encouraged Schulz and her family to consider all of the factors.

On July 19, 1997, Tom and Kris, together with Mia and Rick Schulz, decided to go through with the surrogacy.

“We had no reservations at all with having Mia as the surrogate for our child. She has a wonderfully supporting husband and three children of her own,” Kris said.

The process began and included drawing up a legal contract, as well as physical and psychological testing. On Sept. 28, doctors retrieved Kris’s eggs and Tom’s sperm. Three healthy embryos were transferred to Schulz’s womb on Oct. 1.

“There was a 25 percent chance of twins, and only a four percent chance that all three embryos would take hold,” Tom said.

On Oct. 10, they discovered they were pregnant. An ultrasound two weeks later confirmed that they were pregnant with one fetus.

“We were with her every step of the way,” Kris said. “We had almost daily contact and went with her to every doctor’s appointment.”

Schulz experienced no problems during the pregnancy. Kris said that their first concern was always with Mia’s health.

“The moment we decided to do this, everything went right. After having to fight for things to go well in the past few years, this experience was incredible,” Tom said.

Tom and Kris believe gestational surrogacy is a wonderful option for building a family.

“We would love to have more children someday,” Tom said. “For now, we’re going to count our blessings and see what happens next.”

Kris and Tom plan to tell Keegan the story of his birth when he is old enough to understand. “There will always be a special bond between Keegan and Mia,” Kris said.

Kris said, “Unfortunately, infertility is not talked about very much. Women especially need to talk more about it.”

Kris is the copresident of the nonprofit organization Resolve of the Twin Cities and is the facilitator of ‘Talk Time,’ a free and informal support group for people who have dealt with infertility. She said that new members are always welcome.

The couple says the experiences they have gone through have brought them closer together. “Our relationship is awesome,” Tom said. “We couldn’t be closer.”

Kris said, “If someone had told me a year ago that everything we’ve been through would be worth it today, I wouldn’t have believed them. Now that we have Keegan, though, it has all been worth it.”

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