It is not uncommon for egg donors to progress from lending not just their eggs, but their womb to singles and couples in need. A process called traditional (or straight) surrogacy, its key advantage is of course simplicity. Intended parents (the infertile and gay couples) can avoid the IVF roundabout entirely if they are lucky enough to connect with the right surrogate & donor in one.
Families Through Surrogacy’s fifth annual UK conference on Saturday 10 March, at 155 Bishopsgate, London has just as much to do with egg donation as surrogacy. The events’ popularity lies in its honesty - putting parents and surrogates front and centre, sharing real-life journeys. The day is invaluable for not only intended parents, but potential surrogates and donors
This year’s conference has a focus on best practice, exploring the complexities of what IVF clinics call ‘third-party reproduction’ and how best to lay the groundwork for successful journeys.Conference topics not to miss will include the nuts and bolts of surrogacy processes; an honest appraisal of which IVF techniques are evidence-based and which are not; parent and donor panels; and practical issues to consider in choosing a donor.
Five of the ten surrogates speaking in London lent their eggs and womb to those unable to carry. Lisa Ifould for example is a single mum to three children and at 33 years of age is very happy with the size of her family. Still, she wanted to use her womb for others given her pregnancies and births had always been straight forward. Lisa choose straight (traditional) surrogacy as she viewed her eggs as another thing she was wasting each month so why not give them to a couple who needed them.
At the upcoming conference, Lisa along with four other donors and experts such as Erika Tranfield from Pride Angel will address some of the tough questions about trust, logistics, screening & matching.
For increasing numbers who need a surrogate, giving back to the infertility community is important. Cass Lake’s generosity in carrying a child for gay couple Juan & Christian inspired them to donate their sperm and left-over embryos to others in need.
For Juan, now 36 years old, the man of his dreams had always been someone keen to bring up a family. It was a topic raised in his first week dating Christian. They quickly came to realise both shared the same dream - two children – one biologically connected to each. Now settled in Sydney, their journey to reach this goal has taken them around the world several times.
Juan & Christian engaged in a difficult surrogacy process in Mexico. They had tried for two children, but only Juan’s sperm had produced embryos that (after many tries) led to a healthy baby boy, Anxo. Back in Sydney, they heard about the Australian Surrogacy Community- a large Facebook group where altruistic surrogates and intended parents can ‘self-match’. The couple joined, thinking one day to locate a surrogate to perhaps carry that second child.
Posting an irresistible image of themselves and Anxo, within two weeks Cass, a mother of three had offered to carry their longed for second child.
“We weren’t really ready” Juan admits, but it was too good an offer to turn down.
By late January 2017, their plans to re-engage Anxo’s South African egg donor had come unstuck. The government was refusing to grant her a visa to travel. Fortuitously, they had met another egg donor Amber at a kids’ party. They had got to chatting and Amber had ultimately suggested that if needed, she would donate her own eggs. Eventually their dream of a second child came true with Cass’ help.
Juan & Christian were determined to give back to the infertility community, as some way of saying thank you for what these selfless women had done for them.
“You need to …., be appreciative of every single effort made by members of the community, be genuine, don’t take people’s kindness for granted - give back.”
What they could give was sperm and embryos. So they joined another online group, selecting five couples in need of donated sperm. As for embryos, they had eight and were also keen to donate them. Their donor put them in touch with a heterosexual couple to whom they are donating four, despite embryo donation being a process heavy with red-tape and further counselling.
Gay dads like Juan will also share their experiences at Families Through Surrogacy’s UK conference on 10 March, at 155 Bishopsgate, London. Tickets from £55 including lunch, morning & afternoon tea. Go to http://www.familiesthrusurrogacy.com/uk2018/
Pride Angel will be also a part of the panel
Practical issues in sourcing an Egg Donor for UK surrogacy
Where to go, waiting times, accessing donors of different races.
Moderator: Nina Barnsley, DCN
Panelists: Erika Tranfield, Pride Angel; Alison Bagshawe, Altrui, Julie Buckley (parent via egg donor surrogacy)
TIME 14.35 - 15.00 hrs we hope to see you there