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The Boston Globe

Magazine

A lasting surrogacy bond

Kate Mazzola needed help to overcome infertility and realize her dream of having a baby. And then that surrogate aided her in ways she could have never predicted.

ON THE SURFACE, Kate Mazzola and Courtneylee Martinez couldn’t appear more different. Kate is tall and outgoing, with a voice that carries; Courtneylee, who also goes by “Courtney,” is shorter, soft-spoken, and shy. Raised in leafy, affluent Carlisle by a stay-at-home mom and a sales executive dad, Kate and her older brother “had the quintessential suburban life,” she says. By contrast, Courtney and a younger sister grew up in working-class Attleboro and Pawtucket, Rhode Island, with a widowed mom who, more than once, had to choose: pay the past-due electric bill or buy the groceries. “My mother always put me and my sister first,” she says, but was “usually jobless, relying on the state for assistance.”

But today, Kate, 31, and Courtney, 30, share a bond deeper than friendship, linked forever after witnessing the end of one life and the start of another. Courtney was the surrogate who carried Kate’s now 10-month-old daughter, Amara. She was a child Kate and her husband, Nain Gonzalez, desperately wanted and spent three years working on. But six weeks before Amara was born, Nain died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 42. Gestational carriers and the families they work with share a special connection, yet this one is extra special. “I don’t think I could’ve gone through this with anyone else,” says Kate. “Courtney is part of our family now.”

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