We always knew that we wanted to have children someday, so a few years ago we began the process of finding out more about how we could make that happen. There are so many different options for men – whether it’s finding a surrogate for intrauterine insemination (IUI), or whether it’s using donor eggs from another person and going down the IVF route. It can feel overwhelming at first when you’re unfamiliar with the terms, but you soon become a pro and terms like surrogacy and embryo transfer are quickly second nature.
We decided that the best option for us was to go down the ‘gestational’ surrogate route, where we used frozen donor eggs from one woman to create an embryo and then found a second woman to be the surrogate. This option appealed to us rather than ‘traditional’ surrogacy, as we were able to choose eggs from a wider range of donors and find the best fit for our family.
We came across London Egg Bank when searching online for egg donors and loved that we could access the donor catalogue and browse through the various options. We really wanted someone with a high level of education, as well as sharing certain physical characteristics of ours. The nice thing about the LEB catalogue was that new donors were regularly added, so we could take our time and not feel pressured to choose from a small group.
One night Nick was looking through the catalogue online and found the perfect donor. She had a bachelors degree and all of the physical characteristics we were looking for – it was so exciting to think that this could be ‘the one’! We immediately booked in to use those specific eggs, and felt like we were at the beginning of a whole new journey.
There was a hive of activity over the coming months – we had to undergo semen analysis, we picked a surrogate and began to get to know her and her wonderful family, consulted regularly with London Women’s Clinic and utilised their counselling service. They recommend that everyone has at least one counselling session ahead of treatment, and it’s really good to speak to someone totally separate from real life and talk through any concerns.
Finally, we were ready to create our embryos and we were overjoyed when we found out that three ‘day 5’ embryos were cultured and frozen. In September 2018, London Women’s Clinic carried out the embryo transfer to our surrogate, and thankfully our wonderful daughter was born in May the following year. Meeting her for the first time was incredible.
When she is older, we will explain to our daughter why she has two fathers and also tell her who our lovely surrogate is. We still keep in touch regularly with our surrogate – we share updates about our respective families and we have a fantastic relationship. She did an amazing thing for our family and we want our daughter to know that.
London Women’s Clinic recommended a very sweet book, ‘And Tango Makes Three’, which is all about two male penguins who want to become fathers. It will be helpful to read this together as a family and help our daughter understand. We also understand if she wishes to find out more about the egg donor when she is 18, as so many people want to know more about their origins and family tree.
We found London Women’s Clinic and London Egg Bank so helpful throughout the whole process. They were incredibly supportive and our lead nurse Mimi was great. We will actually be commencing another treatment cycle soon using the same surrogate as before. It’s exciting to think that our daughter might soon have a sibling…watch this space!