We first started exploring our options to develop our family in 2017 and began to do some research on surrogacy in the UK. Surrogacy was completely new to us at that time and we had no idea of what to do, or whether surrogacy was right for us. Where did we start the surrogacy process? What is surrogacy? How does surrogacy work? How much does surrogacy cost in the UK? We had so many questions.
Charlene had been advised by the medical professionals that she would be unable to carry a pregnancy so we knew that we would need a little help to achieve our dream of having a baby. We would need another person, a surrogate to help carry our child. Charlene had suffered with childhood cancer and we didn't quite know at that time what help we would need from a fertility point of view. Was everything in working order? Were we able to have children? We found a local fertility clinic and went to an open evening. They were great and very informative and they started to put us at ease. We booked some follow up fertility tests with them which would tell us more.
What fertility tests are needed?
The first test for Charlene was to check her AMH levels, anti-mullerian hormone. This gives an idea of fertility levels and how many eggs are left in the ovaries, otherwise known as ovarian reserve. This is a simple blood test. It was a nervous time waiting to have those results back but fortunately the levels were reasonably high and this would allow us more options. Stephen also had a test to check his sperm count and the results were good. The clinic advised us that we could have an IVF cycle to collect Charlene's eggs and create embryos. We had no idea what IVF would involve and the clinic gave us a lot of information. It was difficult to take it all in and we just decided to take it one step at a time.
This meant that we were hoping to use our own eggs and sperm to create embryos and looking for a host surrogate to help us.
What does surrogacy cost?
Unfortunately this treatment wasn't funded by the NHS in Wales. The fertility clinic was a private clinic and we would need to pay for all treatment. Surrogacy is a tricky topic and funding is only available in limited circumstances. We made a decision to go ahead and pay for treatment. We knew that we wanted to explore surrogacy in the UK not abroad.
Joining a Surrogacy Organisation
At the same time, we were also looking at the law on surrogacy and how to meet a surrogate. We wanted to find out how does surrogacy work? Is surrogacy legal in the UK? How much does surrogacy cost? We looked at several options but found a lovely organisation. We instantly felt supported and met a lot of other people in the same position as us. This was the place for us and we joined as members. We haven't looked back since that time and love our surrogacy community. We have met so many friends!