(May 3, 2021)
Meet Brianna, a 32-year-old with 22q Deletion. Brianna’s story starts out like so many others, when she was born, there was no diagnosis. She did not have any heart conditions or other health issues that would cause concern.
She went through childhood struggling with learning disabilities and speech delays. She had an IEP in school all the way through high school graduation. She was actively playing a lot of volleyball and golf. After high school, she married and prepared her life for children.
At 20 weeks of her first pregnancy, she found out her child would need open heart surgery and that her child had DiGeorge Syndrome (otherwise known as a 22q11.2 DS), so of course, the natural thing was to have Brianna tested as well. Sure enough, she was diagnosed with the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. At the age of 22, she gave birth to her first child, Payton. Payton was born and had open-heart surgery immediately. A couple years later Brianna and her husband decided to have another child, this time it was a boy, Mason. Again at 20 weeks of pregnancy, it was discovered he had a heart defect, and diagnosed with the22q deletion. Both of her children have heart conditions, speech delays, and learning disabilities, but are thriving at ages 10 and 7!
After her second child, Brianna and her husband decided not to have any other children of their own, but Brianna loved being pregnant and was sad to think she wouldn’t have that experience again.
So several years after her son was born she began looking into surrogacy, where she would have an embryo implanted. She would just grow the baby, and since her genetics would not be a part of the child, she would not be able to pass 22q to the embryo.
Brianna decided she wanted to help other families have their dreams come true so, in June 2019, she gave birth to a healthy little girl who is now 2. But it didn’t stop there. Brianna is now on her second journey helping another family to have a child. “I have fallen in love being a surrogate, and this is now my passion, just because I have 22q, doesn’t mean I can’t help others.”
Brianna has no medical conditions today, and says her biggest accomplishment is having 2 children of her own and wants to be the best mom she can be to her kids! What is Brianna’s advice to others with 22q? “Don’t let 22q bring you down. It’s who you are, you are special, and can accomplish anything, just like anyone else!”