How surrogacy came into my life after struggling with unexplained infertility for eight years, nine failed IVF cycles and countless heartaches ✨ @mrs_bura_makesababy -

1 in 8 women experience infertility, I am 1 in 8.

My name is Kimberley and I’m 32. I started trying for a baby with my husband when I was 24... that feels like a life time ago. Since then, we’ve had 9 IVF cycles (a mixture of fresh and frozen embryos), 2 ectopic pregnancies, 1 missed miscarriage, 3 chemical pregnancies and a whole load of heartache. When we started IVF in 2017 I was convinced it was a quick fix, after all, we only ever see success stories in the news and on TV don’t we? But what happens when it doesn’t work? What do you do?

We have “unexplained infertility”, nobody can tell us why we can’t conceive. All our tests come back perfect, but my body seems to not want to hold onto a pregnancy. After using our final 9th embryo, I was deflated. By now it was coming into October 2019, and I’d drawn a line under getting pregnant myself. I was determined to get my life back on track and started to realise that we’d focussed so many years trying to get pregnant, I was losing sight of the end goal. We wanted a child and to create our family, the goal wasn’t a pregnancy, it was a family.

Hello, surrogacy.

In the U.K. surrogacy is altruistic, this means that you cannot come to a commercial arrangement with a surrogate, surrogates can claim expenses but they cannot financially profit from the pregnancy. It is also illegal to advertise that you want a surrogate, and also illegal to advertise you want to be a surrogate; talk about making a complex journey even harder! There are agencies which you can join to become member, but the waiting lists are long and there are no guarantees.

Social events are arranged for meeting up with potential surrogates and intended parents; we attended one and I’m going to be super honest...I hated it. We are a pretty social couple but I found the whole experience difficult, I felt like it was a really false environment and everyone was on their best behaviour trying to woo potential surrogates. I had gay couples talk to me thinking I could help them and when I explained that we needed a surrogate too, the conversations ended abruptly and they moved on. Not great when you’re already feeling pretty damn vulnerable.

For years I have documented our IVF treatment on a dedicated Instagram account (mrs_bura_makesababy), and so after attending the social event I openly discussed that it was not something we were going to continue with. Social media is amazing! I was immediately sent some messages from surrogates who also didn’t like the agency route, they told me about private Facebook groups for meeting surrogates and sent me the links. The rest is history!

We are currently 35 weeks pregnant with our baby. When I say, “we”, I’m referring to a team; that’s me, Simon and Jen, our surrogate. What can I say about Jen? She is a super star, this will be her 5th surrogate baby, after having two of her own. I feel incredibly lucky to have what was a stranger eventually offer and give us the greatest gift I could ever ask for.

We got chatting online in December 2019, we quickly moved to WhatsApp, and we eventually met up for a walk and a coffee in the February with our husbands. It’s very much like the early days of dating, you’re figuring out whether you get on, whether you have the same tastes and beliefs and you just see whether a natural friendship occurs. Luckily for us it did. We’d fall asleep with our phones in our hands still texting, often till the wee hours of the morning.

In the March I met up with Jen for a lunch and cake in one of my favourite cafes. This ended up being a 4.5 hour lunch marathon (we only left when we realised they were closing). This was one of the most special days, Jen offered to be our surrogate. Here’s a photo from just after that moment.

Covid hit the next month and all the fertility clinics shut to send staff to the front line and so our journey was suspended for a while. IVF is slightly more complicated when it’s surrogacy; Jen is a “Gestational Surrogate” which means she has no biological link to the baby. The embryo comes from 100% Simon and me. Simon and I are treated as “donors”, and the process requires a 6 month quarantine period for embryos and/or sperm. So not only were we facing a pandemic, once the clinics eventually opened we knew we had another 6 months wait before we could try to actually make this baby happen.

Fast forward to July 2021, and we were finally transferring a beautiful embryo. For the full length of time getting to know Jen, there’s one thing she’s always said to me. She only ever takes a pregnancy test on the official pregnancy test day from the clinic. So, imagine my surprise waking

up to a test a few days before our “official test day” to a text that just said “Morning Mummy” and a picture of some pregnancy tests. Waiting for Simon to wake up to tell him was the longest hour of my life!

I always tell people a surrogacy journey is like a marathon hurdle race; it’s long, and there are many obstacles along the way. Once you pass one, you’re just coming up to the next. Our first hurdle was finding a surrogate, the next creating embryos, then those embryos surviving to transfer day, a positive pregnancy test, a 6 week scan and a heartbeat... you see my point.

At our 6 week scan, I squeezed both Simon and Jens hands so tightly and closed my eyes until I heard the words “a perfect little heartbeat”. This photo was taken as we left the clinic, it will forever be one of the most special photos I own.

We are in the final count down waiting for our precious bundle to arrive; with a mixture of nerves and excitement. Our baby is due at the start of April, so I’ll pop back with an update once they make their appearance. Will they be early like their Mum or late like their Daddy? Time will tell.

Comments (0)

Leave a comment