How far would you go to be a mother? This young woman had to make a sudden decision.

Faced with a painful medical condition that threatened her fertility, Gloria Chueca Puerto-Mendoza didn’t have the luxury of time. Would you spend four years, and all your savings, without a partner to help?

Many women wrestle for years with all the decisions tied to becoming a mother — how and whether to find a partner, how to balance children with career, whether they’re waiting too long to have children.

But what if you didn’t have years to figure it all out?

What if, at age 21, you needed to make a plan and act now? And worse, the odds were stacked against you?

Gloria Chueca Puerto-Mendoza was 18 when doctors first told her it would be difficult for her to ever get pregnant. Since childhood, she had suffered from endometriosis, a disease in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside it. Ruptured cysts wreaked havoc on her system. She’d had six surgeries to help relieve the pain.

It’s a condition that affects about 5 million women in the United States, some more seriously than others.

When Gloria was 21, doctors warned her that she’d probably go through menopause by age 28 — plus she had a cyst that, if fully removed, would have taken much of her uterus.

“If you want to have kids, right now would be the best time to try,” she recalls doctors telling her. One recommended she not even try, saying it would be futile.

Gloria Chueca Puerto-Mendoza holds her baby, Lola Luz, in UW Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit in Seattle in February. Lola was born in October as a “micropreemie,” weighing just 1 pound, 4 ounces. In February, Gloria took her daughter, “my little miracle child,” home to Bremerton. (Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times)

The latter offended her — she didn’t want some stranger deciding her fate.

At the same time, she didn’t feel financially or emotionally ready to become a mother. She had a job at Sears in Southcenter Mall, and spent…

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