We hear from Sam Everingham of Families Through Surrogacy on the important roles in surrogacy journeys
"The key players in surrogacy arrangements are not in fact the doctors, embryologists and fertility lawyers you are paying. They are the surrogates, egg donors, intended parents and their support networks.
So it is surprising that few surrogacy events put the experiences of these players front and centre. Families Through Surrogacy’s consumer seminars explore not just the logistics of working with friends and strangers to create your family, but the emotional and financial stressors, the everyday hurdles experienced and how these are negotiated.
A factor often overlooked in surrogacy journeys is the importance of good quality eggs. Surrogates are giving up so much of their time and energy to carry that it is crucial that the embryos being used are as good as they can be. I used to think pre-genetic screening was just one more way for IVF clinics to make money, but in the case of surrogacy, it’s a valuable means to screen out embryos that will never develop. The embryo transfer process is such a palaver that knowing you have the best embryos to work with can give you that much more confidence.
The issue is so important that from 2019 we at Families Through Surrogacy decided to increase our focus on eggs in our ever-popular seminar series.
For gay men surrogacy means using an egg donor alongside a surrogate, or a surrogate using her own eggs. There are a few UK organisations that can provide altruistic donors and some online forums where you can meet prospective donors. However extracting eggs is a somewhat painful and laborious process, requiring numerous injections and medical visits. In the absence of significant payment this means there is a shortage of UK donors.
Canada has for a few years been a go-to destination for surrogacy for UK citizens unable or unwilling to engage at home. However Canada also operates under ‘no-payment’ rules, meaning they now struggle to keep up with the demand from intended parents who can wait six months to match with a donor and even longer to match with a surrogate.
As a result, countries which allow donor and surrogate compensation, such as the US and even Mexico and Kenya have become more popular destinations for gay couples and single people. But it becomes more complicated when you cross borders. Greece also offers surrogacy to gay women but not gay men. And Greek surrogacy must be altruistic."
Families Through Surrogacy’s UK/Ireland March seminar series will provide a practical overview of many of the issues which fertility marketing teams ‘forget’ to tell you. Parents, surrogates and egg donors will share their stories and advice. Seminars are in:
London, 7 March
Dublin, 9 March
Choosing the right IVF clinic and legal expert is important, but hear from other parents first! Full details at https://www.familiesthrusurrogacy.com/uk-ire-march-2019-seminars/