Following two failed IVF attempts, Jamie Heard and fiancé Lawrie Jordan started doubting whether surrogacy would work for them. It turned out to be a long and difficult journey to fatherhood for the couple. But thanks to some terrific doctors, they are now parents to a gorgeous 2-year-old girl.
“Meeting Dr. Feinman was a game changer in many ways,” Jamie said. “He paved the way to us having our daughter America Lily.”
Jamie and Lawrie, who have been together for eight years, both work in TV production in Essex, South East England. Lawrie said he always knew he wanted to be a dad from a very young age, but he never thought it would be possible.
“It was very difficult to live with that,” he said. “I had even considered a co-parenting agreement many years ago, but sadly it didn’t come to fruition. Jamie came to realize he also wanted kids as we grew closer. He had always said he would consider it if he met the right person.”
Once they agreed they both wanted to start a family, Lawrie and Jamie began to discuss the idea of surrogacy. Even then, Jamie said that option was only possible through a family inheritance and some major financial juggling.
Their first attempt at IVF involved trying for twins using an egg donor in Cancun, Mexico, but unfortunately the transfer failed. When their second attempt also didn’t work, Jamie said they started to get concerned that it would happen for them at all.
“There were only four embryos to use, and we had used two on the first go hoping for twins, which was a big mistake,” Jamie said. “And on the second attempt, they put two in again as we were onboard a flight and unreachable. After both transfers had failed, we were left in a really bad position. No embryos left, and the prospect of things not going to plan.”
Lawrie said their budget started to run low, and they were eventually faced with a very hard decision. Should they continue along the route of surrogacy, or should they throw in the towel?
“Our surrogacy agent suggested we try again in California with a new doctor and donor eggs, but that required extra investment,” Lawrie said. “We really wrestled for some time, but I just could not let it go. My feeling was that we had to at least try it in California with another doctor, and if then it failed, we would have done everything we could have.”
Although Jamie said finances were a huge issue, they confided in some friends who suggested they talk with an independent financial adviser. They were finally able to borrow money against their home, and keep the baby project going. They reworked their finances so they could keep the amazing surrogate they had found, and the couple started all over again in California, using new donor eggs from the U.S.
“We found out we were pregnant in December 2018, and we kept in close contact with Evelyn through emails and Facetime until we were able to fly out a few weeks before the birth,” Jamie said. “Although there was a scary 24 hours where we thought we may have missed the birth, and we had to dash to L.A. immediately,” he added.
Luckily, it was a false alarm and they were able to settle in and spend time with Evelyn and her family in Clovia, Calif. before the birth. “We were so fortunate to have a really positive experience,” Jamie added.
When asked about the first moment they each felt like a father, Lawrie said they both felt as though they were parents from the second their daughter America Lily was born in August 2018.
“That moment was incredibly special to both of us,” Lawrie smiled. “We continue to pinch ourselves every day that she's here and she’s ours!”
Jamie and Lawrie said they also had an incredible reaction from their close family and family when they broke the news about being pregnant, which they caught on camera. They also got to enjoy an amazing baby shower, where they revealed the sex of the baby.
Now she’s 2.5 years old, the only challenge the couple said they are beginning to encounter is that America is becoming aware of ‘moms,’ which is largely due to cartoons and nursery school.
“It's a little earlier than we imagined having the conversation,” Jamie said, “but we are working on gradually explaining things to her.”
Although it can be an exhausting process, the couple said being parents is incredibly rewarding, and there is nothing like the love they have for their daughter. They also expressed gratitude for their surrogate, and the medical professionals who helped bring their baby girl into the world.
“We worked with Geoff Moss from Los Angeles Surrogacy, who we would definitely work with again. He is very well connected and extremely knowledgeable as well as tenacious. Likewise for Dr Michael Feinman at HRC Fertility and . They really are at the top of the game.”