Julie, left, and Rita Vye are surrogate mothers. Both are doing their second surrogacies, with Julie carrying triplets. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Two Androscoggin county sisters are making the dream of motherhood a reality for women across the country. 

Julie and Rita Vye are gestational surrogates — carrying the fertilized egg of a client rather than being inseminated themselves. 

Julie, a single mother of three, initially became interested in surrogacy in 2018 when she saw a friend from high school post on Facebook detailing her own experience. After reaching out to the friend for more information, she sent an application to Circle Surrogacy LLC, a surrogacy and egg donation agency based in Boston.

“It kind of caught my attention because I have three kids of my own and I enjoy being pregnant but, I obviously didn’t want another one because I do take care of my kids on my own,” Julie, 36, said. “So I just asked her about it and then she basically gave me some information, and so I filled out an application and went from there.”

Rita, who has a 9 year old daughter of her own, became interested in 2019 after Julie was a birth-mother for a client in New Jersey.  

“Well I was there through the whole process with my sister, and I was there throughout the whole journey and, at the end, when she gave birth, and the baby was given to the mom, it was such a powerful thing to go through. I said that’s something that I’d really like to do in my lifetime, so then I decided to sign up and here I am now,” said Rita, 33. 


Both sisters are currently pregnant for the second time as surrogates: Julie is pregnant with triplets, which was not the plan originally. The embryo transfer was done at a hospital in Los Angeles following two unsuccessful attempts. Two embryos were transferred and one split, resulting in a monochorionic, diamniotic pregnancy (MCDA), where a set of twins share a placenta and a single fetus has its own. 

Julie, left, and Rita Vye are surrogate mothers. Both are doing their second surrogacies, with Julie carrying triplets. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

It was an unexpected miracle for her client, a woman from Fairfax, Virginia, whose husband died when they began the application process. As a testament to his memory and their shared desire for a family, she proceeded with the surrogacy. 

Rita is pregnant with a boy, the second child she has carried for a woman in Switzerland. The first child, a baby girl, was born in June 2020.

Both sisters are surrogates for single women: Julie having deliberately chosen to do so. “I feel like most people when they’re looking to do something like this want to know that it’s for a family or a two-partner relationship, I guess you could say. I feel like nobody thinks about the people that are single, so that’s why I chose to do it for a single woman,” Julie said.  

Although surrogates are compensated, the service they provide goes far beyond monetary gain. Just knowing that I can help someone, said Rita, makes it all worthwhile. 

The act of surrogacy itself is an emotional weight, and though becoming attached to the child can happen, the sisters understand that the babies they are carrying simply are not theirs.  


“I think (you’re) going into the whole thing right from the beginning with the mindset that it’s not your baby, you’re doing it to make someone else’s dream come true, so it kind of makes it a lot easier,” Julie said. “Plus, once you give birth, it’s like when you see the connection between the mother and the baby, I can’t even describe the feeling … it’s just an overwhelming happiness of knowing that you did that. I guess you can say it’s kind of indescribable, I guess.”

The Circle agency (which both sisters use) works like a dating app: Surrogates create a profile with their information, preferences and requirements and the agency makes it available for potential parents to find the right fit for them. The agency also suggests matches between surrogates and potential parents based on perceived similarities. 

The agency also acts as a liaison regarding payment. The parents pay the agency and it creates an escrow account from which everything as far as expenses needed during the process will be covered. The Circle agency then pays the surrogates directly. 

The base fee for Circle-affiliated surrogates starts at about $40,000, which is the minimum, and can reach up to $60,000 in the state of Maine, including added benefits. Payment varies based on the state and whether or not the surrogate has health insurance.  

Legal paperwork establishing custody of the baby precedes the birth, with what is known as a “pre-birth order.” In Maine, the name of the mother (who is technically the biological mother because the fetus is grown from her egg) is already on the birth certificate, as opposed to some states, such as New York or Massachusetts, where surrogacy contracts are not always upheld in a court of law. 

Maine happens to be one of 10 states considered “surrogacy-friendly” according to surrogate.com, including California, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. These states most often grant and uphold pre-birth orders: factors such as marital status, sexual orientation and the genetic relationship to the child do not usually affect whether they are issued in those states. 


Originally from Auburn, both sisters have decided their second time will be their last. Julie, a resident of Leeds, has flown numerous times to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which specializes in MCDA pregnancies, amid problems with one of the twins. “One of the babies in the shared placenta is not growing as much as the other one,” said Julie, who is due in April. “They found some problems with the umbilical cord. They call it selective intrauterine growth restriction (sIUGR). There’s been lots of back and forth and monitoring that they need to do, basically.”  

This, along with the obvious physical limitations, have not allowed her to be as involved in the everyday lives of her children as she’d like to be, something which she plans on making up for once the babies are delivered.

 “(My kids) are completely understanding; I’m looking forward to being able to spend time with my kids and do fun things and enjoy time with them. I usually try to do something special with them even after I had the first baby. I appreciate my kids being so supportive and understanding, but I feel like now it’s time for me to focus on them, and not be pregnant anymore.”

However, surrogacy has allowed Julie to improve her family’s circumstances, something which she was adamant about since the beginning, eventually buying a house in Leeds.

“I enjoy being pregnant,” said Rita, who is due in May. “But, after the first time I wasn’t planning on doing it again. I just wanted to do it for the experience, but when the mom asked me to do it again, I didn’t feel obligated to do it but I felt that I should because she would have (gone) on a waiting list for a long time.”

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: