I learned so much about love and patience on my journey through international surrogacy. Surrogacy: Our Family's Journey is my first book and centers on our family's intense, at times frustrating, and eternally-cherished adventure that led to the birth of our twins and the wonderful expansion of our family. Here are my top things I had to consider before and as we started out:
1. Would you want to meet and choose your egg donor or surrogate?
We opted to meet our egg donor though the same agency in Thailand that would also oversee the IVF process and monitor our surrogate's pregnancy. This meant that everything was arranged for us with one point of contact. As our surrogate was overseas, we took great comfort in knowing that everyone was working together. Meeting both these women was magical and highly emotional -- and that was even before a pregnancy! I still feel overwhelmed when I think about the excitement of meeting such giving women! [Check out this post: 5 questions every gay man should ask a surrogacy agency.]
2. How much involvement you can have in your surrogate's pregnancy?
Our agency at the clinic listened to us and understood our need for communication with our surrogate, with as little barriers as possible. Once our surrogate had agreed to try for us our bond became strong and we spent time discussing how we would like to be involved for instance with attending pregnancy clinics and scans and also pregnancy supplements we would like our surrogate mother to take though out the pregnancy. Soon we became friends and discussions about how we envisaged everyone to be in each others lives was talked about and looked forward to by all of us when our children would finally arrive.
3. Can both intended parent can be at the surrogate's birth?
Our doctors both at the hospital and the clinic were amazing about our request. Legally we needed to provide the hospital with power of attorney as new parents to be, but once the legalities were ironed out it was agreed we could all take part in the birth after discussing this with our surrogate mother. Having our birth plan laid out gave us the confidence to take our very first few steps in our children's lives and we are blessed to have two healthy children.
4. What will the final cost be of the surrogacy journey?
Consider your costs carefully and try to budget for the unexpected. We did not have the option of insurance to cover our surrogacy and when our children were born a little too early our hospital costs were much higher than we were expecting. Our first priority of course what the health and well being of our surrogate and our children but we found a way to negotiate around certain costs with the hospital where our children were born to help ease the burden of a 'higher than expected' medical bill.
5. Will you keep the surrogate and egg donor in your lives?
This was the biggest part for me by far. I was worried about how this would feel after our kids were born. How would life be afterwards with our surrogate and indeed our egg donor? As male same-sex parents how did the two women feel about spending time with the children in the future? Our request was a big ask to say the least but has worked out for us all wonderfully. We enjoy spending time together and most recently the children's "tummy mummy" as they know her is helping them learn some Thai language alongside their English and Polish. It is wonderful to see our children understand how they came into our lives surrounded by a loving family group around them.
Told with the addition of photographs and excerpts, including correspondence and birth plans, Surrogacy: Our Family's Journey is an honest insight in to the lengths I have gone to make my dreams a reality. More individuals and couples are choosing surrogacy every day and, in reading this book, I hope that others considering a similar journey will find help by way of a kindred spirit.