My Surrogacy Journey: An Intended Parent’s Story
Our team at Brilliant Beginnings feels privileged to be able to help intended parents (IPs) and surrogates to undergo these amazing journeys, helping IPs to complete their families. We’ve worked in many teams and have been lucky enough to have surrogates share their stories and experiences, including surrogate members of our team. Here, we’re pleased to share a journey from an intended parent’s perspective. This is Paul’s surrogacy journey, in his own words.
Our Intended Parent Journey
About 10 years ago we first talked through the idea of having a baby. We were keen but our careers were full on and as a same sex male couple we thought it was going to be very difficult and so we didn’t pursue the idea. In April 2018, we revisited the idea of having a baby of our own with renewed energy. By now our careers had gone where we wanted them to go and we had both managed to reduce our working hours a bit. The more we saw babies, the more we felt like we were missing out. This was the right time!
We’d also seen more gay couples with children and started to realise that it might be more possible than we’d first thought or than it was 10 years earlier. We were now older than the average parents and said we would give ourselves two years to actually get to the point of being pregnant. If we weren’t pregnant by April 2020 perhaps it was not to be. Who knows if we would have given ourselves more time once we reached this point. Luckily we didn’t have to think about it.
Finding out about our surrogacy options
We wanted our own baby using one of our sperm, a donor egg and a surrogate and we began to do some research on the issue. There were a variety of options and we had to look for the one that best suited us. We wanted to get this really right!
Once we had collected the information there was no contest for us. It was Brilliant Beginnings all the way. They fitted in with our personalities and wishes. We didn’t want to find a surrogate independently – we wanted a level of vetting done and we didn’t want to have to sell ourselves to prospective surrogates – we are private people.
Meeting with Brilliant Beginnings
We had our initial meeting with Brilliant Beginnings in May 2018. It was a bit like a job interview. We were very nervous and although the team tried to put us at our ease and made us feel very welcome it was still a little intimidating and exhausting. Lots of personal questions were asked, we found ourselves telling strangers things we would struggle to tell our best friends such as our views on a termination or disability. Looking back on it, this ‘vetting’ of us was pivotal. It would shortly match us with an amazing like-minded surrogate who we became and still are good friends with!
Matching and meeting our surrogate
Back to our pre surrogate journey. After several meetings at BB and several visits by ourselves to a fertility clinic we were making really good progress. The only issue now was finding a surrogate.
I remember the day BB matched us with Laura. I was in my classroom at work and at the end of a busy day had several missed calls from my husband! BB had matched us! I was so excited! I ran straight to my friend and colleague’s classroom to tell her the news. This was so amazing and thrilling! We had come a long way in a few months.
Once matched with our surrogate things progressed slowly but surely. It started off with anonymous letters to each other, a phone call mediated by BB and once we all realised things were going well we were encouraged to meet Laura. We did just this and met for the first time in December 2018. We had lunch and the meeting went really well. 2018 had been a good year, we had come a long way!
Over the next few months we met up with Laura several times – meeting her family, going out for meals and visiting each other’s homes.
Formalising our surrogacy arrangement
We then had a more formal meeting with BB and Laura. This was to discuss the contract that BB had drafted as a result of our meetings as intended parents and Laura’s meetings as surrogate with them. We had been encouraged by BB to talk about it informally beforehand. This we had done and there had been no issues.
At the formal meeting BB took us through the contract step by step – I am sure we couldn’t have done this without BB. I am confident it would not have led to such a successful relationship of surrogate and IPs that we have become! Another hurdle overcome! We were now ready for the next step on the journey.
Egg transfers and getting pregnant
After a couple of visits to the fertility clinic, we were ready to have our first egg transfer. At first this seemed to be successful with some positive tests but it was not to be. This brought us to the realisation that egg sharing with an anonymous donor who was trying to get pregnant was not for us! We wanted eggs from a woman that had a good track record of getting pregnant.
We changed clinic to the London Women’s Clinic and bought ten frozen eggs. On the first attempt we implanted one and this was unsuccessful. Next time we implanted two- still unsuccessful. By now all three of us were exhausted with what seemed like endless trips to London. We decided to have one more go and then take a little break. It was a relief that we all felt the same about this. So we implanted two on the fourth attempt.
We walked Laura back to her train and then went to catch ours. I remember on the station my husband saying “I’ve not got a good feeling about this, I don’t think it’ll be successful”. I had a right go at him “What’s the point in going on if you’re going to be like this”. We were definitely tired.
That’s all history now. Before long Laura had a positive test – we were cautious with our history but there were more positive tests over the coming week or so. Within two or three weeks the BHCG test was really high indicating it might be a multiple birth. We were all beside ourselves with excitement in anticipation of firstly being pregnant and secondly having a multiple birth!
Another visit to the London Women’s clinic in November 2019 confirmed it was twins. We saw them on the ultrasound and listened to their little heartbeats! This was an amazing moment that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. All three of us were so excited and in tears! We couldn’t wait to tell everyone!
Every step of the way Brilliant Beginnings were with us – wishing us good luck before appointments and commiserations when things didn’t quite go so well. Then, finally, sending their congratulations through our client manager when we finally fell pregnant.
The pregnancy itself progressed nicely for the first 20 weeks. At 18 weeks we had a sexing scan!! We were expecting twin girls!!! Bliss!!! We went out with Laura and her family for a meal to celebrate. Little did we know that this would be the last time we would be out in Laura’s company socially.
The ups and downs of multiple pregnancies and a pandemic
After 20 weeks the pregnancy, like many multiple pregnancies, started to have its ups and downs and complications. The work put in by Brilliant beginnings in setting up our partnership really paid off – the three of us became closer and closer as we faced every adversity. Then there was the ‘C’ word. The global pandemic hit and things changed for the three of us.
We weren’t allowed to go to hospital for any appointments with Laura – but our relationship was strong and we went and waited outside for her in the grounds and chatted (at a safe distance) before, between and after any appointments.
It was a very difficult time but the pregnancy went to nearly 37 weeks. Amazing! During the third trimester of the pregnancy, due to the pandemic, we had to replan our birth plan. This was very hard. Initially four of us were going to be there- Laura and her sister and the two of us. Now my husband would be there to support Laura (we chose him because of his medical training – it was a no brainer). I would have to wait outside in the car for the birth. This was hard!!
The birth of our girls
The day came when Laura’s waters broke – at 2 a.m!! We raced to be at the hospital but it was going to be a slow process. It was also a very hot day and we scrambled around the hospital outside space looking for shade! Despite having months to think about it – it was during this long day that we finalised the baby names. It was all getting very close now.
At about 7 p.m. my husband was called into the hospital. I had to stay outside. I remember being sat in the car about 10pm at night. I was writing a letter to the girls about my emotions as they were being born. I still have this today- but it isn’t finished. The phone rang. It was my partner who just said- “Get here now! They are going to let you in”. The wonderful staff at the hospital had said I could be there too. I didn’t need to be asked twice!
The birth of our girls was an amazing, beautiful and emotional rollercoaster!!! It took 33 hours before the first baby was born. All three of us were crying and Laura was exhausted! Both girls were a healthy weight and we held them in our arms for the first time!!! A day to remember forever!!!
Our surrogacy journey
Seven months later here I am watching the girls asleep on the monitor and reminiscing about our surrogacy journey. I am feeling warm and cosy as I write this. We both have such a deep love and bond with the girls. They are our world! Thanks to Laura, BB, the London Women’s Clinic and the staff at the hospital.
We’ve only seen Aunty Laura a couple of times since the birth due to the pandemic. We keep in touch by text and FaceTime. Part of the intensive work with BB had focused on our post baby relationship with our surrogate. BB matched us with someone who wanted the same thing! Laura will always be in our lives and we look forward (we hope) to welcoming her for their first birthday party in June.
By Paul, a BB intended parent
Surrogacy in a pandemic: giving birth during COVID-19
If you would like to read more about this brilliant team, Laura, who was a surrogate for Paul and his husband, has shared her experience of giving birth, as a surrogate, during COVID-19.
Surrogacy stories: A family shining bright
If you would like to read another wonderful surrogacy story, Chris and Andrew were kind enough to share the amazing story of how they became dads, through the help of Chris’ sister in Law, Kate.