A while ago I wrote about how I have a few exciting things in the pipeline and how I had made a rather big decision, but I wasn’t going to share it yet…
Well, I have now decided that the time is right, and I want to share this potentially incredibly exciting, nerve-wracking, and unique experience…
I can hear you saying, ‘just tell us what it is!’
I’m getting there…
Ever since looking into fertility treatment before having my daughters, I knew that I wanted to help others who couldn’t naturally have a baby of their own, without a little help. I knew that if I had to have IVF that I would have happily donated my eggs for those who may need them. However, because I only needed IUI to conceive, the clinic wouldn’t take any of my eggs.
I then considered the possibility of fostering; however, you need to have a spare bedroom and that isn’t something that I have, and I am aware that whilst fostering can be very rewarding, that it can be rather stressful too and that’s after you’ve been scrutinised with a fine toothcomb by the agencies.
So…in my quest to want to help those who cannot have children of their own, I have decided to (hopefully) become a surrogate!
I thought about waiting until I was pregnant before writing about it but then I thought that surrogacy seems to be something that isn’t really known about, let alone talked about and this made me want to share my experience even more.
My journey began by googling surrogacy and seeing what was out there. I found a few agencies and started reading the information on their websites.
I was shocked to discover that surrogacy is illegal in a lot of countries and whilst it is legal in the UK it is illegal for surrogates to be paid and not surprisingly the UK legal system with regards to surrogacy is like spaghetti junction – messy and confusing to say the least!
Despite this information, it didn’t put me off and so I decided to contact a couple of the agencies to find out a bit more about the process.
As I didn’t even know if an agency would consider me as a surrogate, I decided to fill in an application form and send it off. After all, I’m nearly 35! However, the main criteria for being a surrogate are that you have already had children, be at least 21 years old, be classed as healthy and have a healthy BMI. I tick all those boxes, so that was the first hurdle passed.
The application form was fairly straight-forward although it was quite long and it did ask deep questions that I hadn’t even thought about by this point, including, what type of surrogate do you want to be? There is a choice of host/gestational surrogacy and straight/traditional surrogacy.
Host surrogacy takes embryos made by an intended parent or parents and transfers them via IVF into the surrogate. The surrogate is not genetically connected to the child conceived. The embryos are either fully made up of both intended parents genetics or made up of one intended parents genetics plus either donor eggs OR donor sperm.
Whilst straight surrogacy uses the surrogates’ own eggs to conceive. This can take place at home using artificial insemination, using an insemination kit or via a clinic using IUI or IVF with the surrogate acting a known egg donor.
I was asked to write about the kind of individual or couple that I would like to help, which to begin with I had thought I would want to help anyone, however, on reflection, I know that in my heart I would prefer to help an LGBTQ+ individual or couple.
It also asked what kind of relationship you hope to have with the individual or couple that you are matched with, which I struggled to answer as at this point as I didn’t know what the other party may be looking for. When I filled in the form, I thought that most people wouldn’t want a relationship with the surrogate and so I put that I didn’t mind what kind of relationship I have with them. Having said that, I knew that it would be lovely to have a relationship with the parent/parents.
Looking back through the application, I imagine it does put some people off before you even start, although I do understand why they ask the questions that they do.
Quite a tricky question to answer was what kind of relationship you hope to have with the child once it is born. At this point I thought that most intended parents wouldn’t want you to see the child again, let alone have a relationship with them and so I accepted this possibility.
The application wanted to know how you would feel if the baby was found to have something wrong with it and if you would be happy to carry on with the pregnancy or how you would feel if the intended parent or parents wanted you to terminate. Very hard questions to answer but at the end of the day the baby wouldn’t be mine and so I put that I would follow the wishes of the intended parent or parents.
The list goes on! Reading it again is enough to make anyone’s mind boggle!
I have only shared my journey so far with very few people, partly because its very early days and partly because I don’t want to be judged. I am quite surprised and taken aback by some people’s thoughts about surrogacy. At the end of the day, it is an individual’s choice to be a surrogate and I personally think it is an amazing thing to do and I know that I am eternally grateful to the donor who helped create my beautiful daughters.
There is so much to think about and consider and there is definitely more to come about this journey!