Did you know 1 in 6 couples struggle with fertility?

This week is National Fertility Awareness Week and one of our couples have bravely decided to share their story on how their battle with infertility has affected them, and their continued desire to complete their family.

“My husband and I met in 2006. our relationship blossomed from our first date and we haven’t look back since.  One of our shared dreams was to start a family once we were married a couple of years later, and as we were a little older (my husband 42 and myself 37), we had planned to start trying to conceive straight away.  We both come from large families  which meant we enjoyed the love and company of a large family growing up, and do to this day.

Although we have amazing extended families and wonderful close friends, we didn’t envisage the heartache, perseverance and hard work that would go into trying to start our own family! We managed to conceive naturally 4 times but they all ended in early miscarriage. We then tried a number of IVF courses and each one was unsuccessful. A very emotional time for us but we had a lot of support and kindness from family and friends which enables us to stay positive. After further investigations, in June 2013, we found out that I would never be able to carry a baby due to the after effects of an operation 10 years ago. Although devastating news, it meant we could move on and consider other options.

We first heard about surrogacy when we were chatting with our fertility councillor at our IVF clinic in London.  We were left in awe that someone would consider this amazing act of kindness and generosity – to consider carrying someone else’s baby! We thought this might be our way forward in starting a family and took the decision to embark on surrogacy.  We decided to try and join a UK surrogate agency as it would have been too expensive to go to the US.

Our first experience of trying to join a surrogacy agency in the UK was very positive to begin with but despite going through initial interviews, checks and extensive tests, unfortunately due to lack of available surrogates, we were told that the doors had to close to intended parents. Whilst this was disappointing for us, this highlighted the lack of available surrogates and the difficulties agencies had in attracting new surrogates.

Further down the line, we learnt about Brilliant Beginnings who have been really great.  An incredibly professional organisation, with a team who is very friendly, supportive and helpful, which has made our journey so much more manageable in what is a very difficult and challenging time.

We were matched with a potential surrogate soon after we joined the agency and were incredibly grateful for the opportunity, but we felt that things weren’t quite right, so decided to wait for another opportunity. As three years have now gone by, it does feel like a long wait, but we have faith in Brilliant Beginnings that we will find the right surrogate who we may be able to share part of our journey in starting a family.

Our friends and family feel that surrogacy is a great opportunity too and that we shouldn’t hesitate to continue going down this route.  If we are lucky enough to find a suitable match, we can’t put into words the amount of overwhelming gratitude that we would have for a very special, selfless individual.  We understand the bravery and courage that it must take, but would hope it would be a very rewarding journey too!

We are aware of the current surrogacy laws in the UK and appreciate why historically they were that way, however, we feel that times have moved on and that legislation needs to as well.  We know that given what we have gone through, the demand for surrogates is great and the challenges we have faced with finding a surrogate could be helped by a legal reform. We also feel that reform would help families created through surrogacy, surrogates themselves and children born through surrogacy as this is such a difficult and complex area.”

Unfortunately, their situation isn’t unusual. There are hundreds of couples in the UK currently on waiting lists to find a surrogate due to fertility struggles of their own, for many the wait can be years.

Please help us to help them by getting behind National Fertility Awareness Week’s campaign to raise awareness of an issue which, although may not affect you, will most likely affect someone you know. Infertility is not spoken about enough and more needs to be done to help support those going through these issues every day. #HiddenFaces #NFAWUK #Fertilityin5

To find out more about National Fertility Awareness Week and the work that Fertility Network UK do please visit their website: http://fertilitynetworkuk.org/