Kendall Duncan, owner of Canine Cabana in Riverview, recently became a surrogate for long-time, high school friend, Kim McGlynn. Duncan gave birth to twins last July.

When Lithia resident, Kendall Duncan, met her friend Kim McGlynn  in high school back in 1990, she never imagined that their friendship would evolve to span not only a lifetime, but quite possibly an eternity. 

The two women remained friends throughout college and into their marriages. Duncan became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she became pregnant with her second child, Duncan was elated to learn McGlynn was also pregnant with her first child. Unfortunately, McGlynn’s pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, followed by several others. Doctors diagnosed her with a rare lung disease and advised McGlynn that she would be unable to carry her own child.

Duncan went to visit her long-time friend, who had settled in Tallahassee with her husband. It was during this visit that the course of their lives and friendships would intertwine forever. McGlynn told Duncan that she and her husband were looking into the possibility of using a surrogate mother to carry their baby. They had done their research and were looking at different options. 

In the 1980s, surrogacy was brought in the forefront during a highly publicized trial. Back then, surrogates often conceived a child using the father’s sperm and the surrogate’s egg via artificial insemination; genetically linking the surrogate to the baby they were carrying.

The advancement of in vitro technology has advanced. Now, surrogates are rarely genetically linked to the baby. Using in vitro fertilization, embryos are created from the father’s sperm and the mother’s egg and then implanted in a surrogate, who then carries the baby to term. Although there is no exact data on how many babies are born via surrogacy each year, estimates range from about 750-1,400 births.

Duncan returned home from her visit and couldn’t shake the feeling that she should be the surrogate for McGlynn. “Although Kim didn’t ask me, I left that day knowing that I wanted to do that for her,” said Duncan. “I told my husband, who briefly thought I was crazy.”  Duncan, the co-owner of Canine Cabana in Riverview, had her hands full with her job and her two very young children.

After discussion and much consideration, Duncan called McGlynn and told her that she wanted to be her surrogate. “They were shocked and thrilled. I kept telling her ‘I really want to do this for you.’”

The very first implementation of the embryos was successful and Duncan immediately became pregnant with McGlynn’s twins. “We were all amazed that it happened so quickly,” said Duncan. She carried the twins for 38 weeks and was induced on July 26, 2011. “Everything went perfectly. We were all in the room together,” said Duncan. “It was a very emotional moment, everyone in the room was crying, even the nurses.”

Duncan gave birth to healthy twins: a girl, Amelia Taylor, and a boy, Duncan O’Farrell.  No one knew the sex of the babies until they arrived, which added to the elation and surprise of the moment. “It was perfect,” said Duncan.

Almost a year later, the two families are still delighting in their miracle of life and friendship. The Duncan’s and McGlynn’s get together frequently and play the role of aunts and uncles to each other’s children. From a high school friendship to parenthood, Duncan can only describe the journey as “beyond words.”

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.