We’re Mike & Glenn and have been together for eight years when we started looking at having a family, and that was seven years ago. It’s been a long road leading to the birth of our daughter Annabelle.
It was a journey that involved two egg donors and two surrogates.
Thailand or Cambodia
At first, we looked to Thailand and then Cambodia after international surrogacy was shut down in Thailand. What we were told about Cambodia didn’t sit well with us. There was no laws in place around surrogacy and therefore no protection. In April 2016 we flew to Mexico City, chose a local egg donor, and got matched with a surrogate.
From Mike’s swimmers, three good embryos were created – Glenn achieved five. For the first transfer, they implanted one of Glenn’s and one of Mike’s embryos. We were hoping for instant twins, one related to each of us. Two weeks after the first transfer we received the depressing news – neither had progressed. Two more embryo transfers failed and one did not survive thawing, and by that stage, we were out of embryos and had spent a lot of money with no result.
Then Mike discovered Shannon Garner’s book ‘Labour of Love’, an account of her journey carrying for a Sydney gay couple. Neither Mike or Glenn had any knowledge of the surrogacy support organisations that already existed in Australia. We hadn’t ever realised domestic surrogacy was possible.
We reached out to surrogate Shannon Garner for advice and quickly discovered a supportive online community of over 1,000 hopeful intended parents, along with women looking to carry as surrogates. It just opened up this whole world of possibilities to us.
Perhaps we were lucky, but within two weeks of posting on the Facebook forum about our Mexico experience and desire to engage locally, both an egg donor and a surrogate had come forward, keen to meet.
A month later Kate, a single mum with three children of her own, had offered to carry. She lived locally so it was easy for us to support her. After going through the strict processes put in place to be able to engage in surrogacy, which in Australia is altruistic (commercial surrogacy is illegal), we fell pregnant with our first transfer and Annabelle was born in May 2018