Robyn Hilleary


Posted Tue, Mar 26, 2013

Robyn Hilleary

A MOTHER’S LOVE: To an outsider Robyn Hilleary may seem like a typical mother. [Photo by Emily Pennetti]

DENVER — Robyn Hilleary’s alarm clock rings out at 6:30 a.m. on Monday. As soon as it rings she hits the snooze button thinking, “just 10 more minutes.”  Two minutes into Hilleary’s snooze session she hears her sons, Ryan and Shawn, yelling at each other from down the hall.

Hilleary rises out of bed sheepishly as she groans.

“It’s like clock-work, another Monday morning in the works.”

Hilleary walks into the boys’ room with bags under her eyes. She finds them each stationed on opposite sides of the room with looks of anger. She explains that 6:30 in the morning is too early to be fighting and tells them both to start getting ready for school.

To an outsider Robyn Hilleary of Denver is a typical mother, dealing with typical 10-year-old boys.

However, Hilleary and her two boys are very different from many families.

“I had no idea that her family was different from most,” says Angela Arnold, a coworker of Hilleary. She’s just an amazing mom.”

An amazing mom, Hilleary was born with an aberration.  She has a T-shaped uterus. This T-shaped uterus does not allow for her to have children. This condition occurred during Hilleary’s own fetal development. During her mother’s pregnancy, Hilleary’s uterus simply did not form properly.

The problem is that she is not able to carry the child once impregnated. Though many suggested that it would be impossible, Hilleary decided to try any way. She knew there were many options in today’s modern world for women who cannot conceive. The first option for Hilleary was a shot to help her during her trimesters. Though difficult to except, these shots were unsuccessful.

The next option doctors suggested was in vitro fertilization (IVF). This is a process in which an egg is fertilized outside of a human body. The egg is then implanted into a woman who is able to carry.

“This was a difficult idea to grasp but this was an option we were willing to try,” Hilleary says.

So Hilleary and her then husband, Jim, found a doctor that was able to perform the operation. Dr. William Schoolcraft is the creator and medical director of the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine.

“I heard he was one of the top doctors in the area so I thought it would be worth a try,” Hilleary says.

Though IVF may seem like an easy process it wasn’t as Hilleary explains. The first thing she had to do was find a woman that was willing to carry a child. Mentally, a woman needs to be willing to give up the baby after nine months. Carrying a child is life changing, and Hilleary wanted to find someone who was caring, healthy and dependable. The answer was her sister-in-law, Alicia Hilleary.

Alicia is a mother of two boys and was 33-years-old at the time of the procedure.

“We want to make sure they’ve had at least one full-term pregnancy and it’s easy for them to have babies. No complications,” said Dr. William Schoolcraft.

Surrogate mothers should be between the age of 21 and 40 and be in good mental standings.

Once they had decided on Alicia Hilleary, the next steps seemed modest.  Everyday Hilleary had to dispense a shot into her body. This shot was designed to make sure that her body would be producing the eggs needed for IVF. Alicia Hilleary also had to give herself a shot daily. This shot tricked her body into thinking that she was pregnant. Her body would then send out hormones needed to carry a child.

“We compensated her for all the work, but it was difficult to place a price on something like that,” Hilleary says.

Both women were then ready for the procedure.

Jim Hilleary, Robyn Hilleary and Alicia Hilleary all arrived at the Colorado Clinic for Reproductive Medicine ready for a process that would change their lives. The clinic took the egg and sperm of Robyn and Jim Hilleary and then implanted it into Alicia Hilleary.

Approximately nine months later they had Ryan and Shawn Hilleary.

Both boys are now in fourth grade. They play baseball and are involved in Boy Scouts. Loved by both their mother and father, they still do not know about how they came into this world.

“Telling them where they come from when they don’t even know about the birds and the bees yet seems a little too much for them to handle,” Hilleary says.

The boys will find out when they get a little older of course, but for now everything is just fine.

Though Hilleary does admit that it was very difficult to go through all the operations and frustration of IVF, she does not regret it.

“I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” she says. “If I had a million dollars I’d have paid a million dollars to have those boys.”

Robyn and Jim Hilleary also decided to adopt a girl from China in 2006. Her name is Abby and she is 7-years-old.



Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine


  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
  • Male Factor Infertility
  • Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis
  • Comprehensive Chromosome Screening
  • Egg Freezing
  • Fertility After Cancer
  • In Vitro Maturation (IVM)
  • Previous ART Failures
  • Acupuncture

Locations and Contact

  • 10290 Ridge Gate Circle  Lone Tree, Co 80124
  • 303.778.8300

  • 4600 Hale Parkway Suite 490  Denver, Co, 80220


  • 80 Health Park Drive Suite 240   Louisville, Co 80027
























About Emily Fox

Emily Pennetti is a Metro State Journalism Student in Denver, Co. She works as a cosmetologist and freelance writer on the side.

View all posts by Emily Fox

5 Responses to “Robyn Hilleary”

  1. Grace Says:

    wow, this is an incredible story! I knew about the t-shaped uterus issue, but the fact that Robyn went so far to conceive her own children is amazing! lovely story


  2. S.L. Alderton Says:

    Nice story about something that’s increasingly common in our society. It might have been better to indicate earlier in the story (or in the headline) what’s special about this particular person. The “go box” at the end is helpful.


  3. Davy Says:

    Good story. Nice job covering a topic that does not get a lot of attention. Very helpful info at the end.


  4. Jen Sasser Says:

    Wow! What an interesting story!!! Great choice on the story and execution in writing it!


  5. Aaron Lambert Says:

    Great story! I love the subject. There were a few grammatical errors, but other than that, very well-written and heartfelt!


Leave a Reply to S.L. Alderton