Episode 13 – Trudy – straight mum
Trudy and Tom became parents to their daughter (Bonnie) in August 2020. Bonnie was carried by their surrogate Sarah who is Tom’s sister. Sarah lives with her husband and their two children in New York, meaning this was one complex surrogacy journey. Trudy is also a SASS Parent Mentor and has helped many IPs at the beginning of their journey.
Sarah came to Australia for the embryo transfer in Sydney in November 2019, then heartbeat scan back and 11 week scan back in NYC (4am Sydney time!), a visit back to Australia at 14 weeks and witnesses at Trudy and Tom’s wedding, which was also a gender reveal, and then COVID hit. Sarah and her family flew to Sydney at 34 weeks pregnant and straight into hotel quarantine. They were reunited at 36 weeks and they got to see their baby in person at a scan for the first time. Trudy also induced lactation and was able to directly feed Bonnie. They continue FaceTime catch ups at the moment but are looking forward to catching up in person as soon as travel restrictions allow. They have embarked on a sibling journey but this time using an agency in the USA.
Trudy is also a SASS Parent Mentor and has helped many IPs at the beginning of their journey.
This episode was recorded in November 2021.
These podcasts were recorded as part of the free webinar series run by Surrogacy Australia. If you would like to attend one, head to this page for dates and registration links. The recording can also be found on our YouTube channel so you can see the photos that are described. Find more podcast episodes here.
The webinars are hosted by Anna McKie who is a gestational surrogate, high school Math teacher and surrogacy educator working with Surrogacy Australia and running SASS (Surrogacy Australia’s Support Service).
Are you an Intended Parent (IP) who is looking to find a surrogate, or a surrogate looking for Intended Parents? Join SASS.
Thanks for watching!
series with Surrogacy Australia. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen and in turn for helping us spread awareness and appreciation for surrogacy. I’m your host Anna McKie and these recordings are from a regular webinar series that I run. You can find upcoming dates on our website at surrogacyaustralia.org. During the one hour webinars I will walk you through the surrogacy process in Australia and you can type in questions for us to answer. My co-hosts have all done
and they alternate between surrogates, gay dads and straight mums. This episode, recorded in November 2021, features Trudy. Trudy and Tom became parents to their daughter Bonnie in August 2020. Bonnie was carried by their surrogate Sarah, who is Tom’s sister. Sarah lives with her husband and their two children in New York, meaning this was one complex surrogacy journey. Sarah came to Australia for the embryo transfer in Sydney in November 2019.
but the heartbeat and 11-week scan were back in New York City, with Trudy and Tom on FaceTime at 4am Sydney time, then a visit back to Australia at 14 weeks to witness Trudy and Tom’s wedding, which was also a gender reveal and then Covid hit. Sarah and her family flew to Sydney at 34 weeks pregnant and straight into hotel quarantine. They were reunited at 36 weeks and they got to see their baby in person at a scan for the first time.
Trudy also induced lactation and was able to directly feed Bonnie. They used FaceTime for catch-ups and were looking forward to catching up in person as soon as travel restrictions allowed it. At the time of recording of this episode, they had embarked on a sibling journey, but this time using an agency in the USA. In this episode, we hear how Trudy had a D&C after their first round of IVF and ended up with Ashermans, which brought her to surrogacy.
As well as hearing her surrogacy story, we answer questions which viewers type in covering topics such as the overall cost of surrogacy, laws in different states, how IVF cycles work, and the importance of making friends from within the surrogacy community to help you feel less alone. I hope you enjoy this episode. So Trudy, we’re going to have a look at what you’re happily ever after looks like. And so I’m going to take you through some of the photos that you’ve got here. So maybe perhaps telling us a little bit about the journey.
as we go through that. Is there anything you wanted to say at the beginning about what brought you to surrogacy? Yeah, so I was going through IVF myself to try to have a baby with Tom. And we were quite lucky, we got pregnant first go. And that was mainly because of my age was why I was doing IVF and I had like mild endometriosis and polycystic ovaries. But we got pregnant first time, which was amazing.
But then we had a miscarriage at about eight weeks. And so I had a DNC and then tried to do another transfer after that and my lining just never grew enough to do a transfer. And so then I had my specialist sent me to have some surgery to check out what was going on. It turns out the DNC had caused me to get a condition called Asherman’s syndrome. And that’s basically when they do the DNC, they just take too much. So they take your lining as well as.
other bits that don’t grow back. Um, and it’s permanent damage. So, um, they use the word surrogacy for me and I just about died. I was horrified that that had happened. One, one go at IVF. You feel one, one, one transfer. So it was, it was heartbreaking. And I imagine needing a DNC because you have to remove the child to save your life. Otherwise it’s going to, you can’t stay in you.
but having that procedure, I mean, I guess the doctors do the best they can, don’t they? But things can go wrong. That’s right. They give you all the risks. I think, you know, they go through the disclaimer of, you know, this could happen, but it’s the same as when you get your wisdom teeth out, you go, oh, that’s not gonna be me. You know, I’ll be fine. And a lot of the times the DNC can actually benefit from it because you actually become a little bit more fertile after it, apparently. So I was…
you know, it was a big decision to make. And I think I’ve probably made it a bit hastily, but that’s in hindsight, of course. But, you know, if it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have discovered the world of surrogacy either. Yeah, I must admit, I didn’t really, I’m an incredibly determined person. So I sort of thought I’m gonna prove you wrong, doctor. And I worked very, very hard over the next sort of 12, 18 months.
to try to prove them wrong. And I tried many, many rounds of IVF after that to try to do it myself, but just didn’t have any luck, I’m afraid. Yeah, I might come back to some of that stuff. So let’s go through your photos now. So then this is Tom’s sister, which even though I’m sure you probably get from time to time, but you two look alike. People have said that all the time. She looks like my sister, that’s right. But yeah, so she lives in New York, she still does. And we sort of…
came across, we didn’t actually tell her about our IVF troubles at all. And it wasn’t until she came over visiting at Christmas time and we’d hidden all the IVF stuff around the house because we didn’t want to tell anyone. And she found a surrogacy branded pen on the bench and sort of asked what on earth is this about and Tom told her what had happened. And she, believe it or not, she actually had had a dream that she was our surrogate.
So she had had that six months before, and that was before we even knew we needed a surrogate. So it kind of just unraveled from there and she offered on the spot. She’d actually already been to her OBGYN in New York already and got the all clear. So at the point of offering, she had talked to her husband and she’d talked to her doctor and knew she wanted to do it. She was very determined to do it as well.
Wonderful. Yeah. And again, just what’s the moral of that story? Leave pens lying around? No. Oh, have a chat with people. Like I think, yeah, I think that’s the key thing is that you just let people know what’s going on. But that was very, very hard for me because I was struggling to deal with that trauma myself, I guess. So, so I didn’t want too many people to know because I was dealing with it myself. That’d be fairly common for any of the intended mums listening here tonight to it. Yeah. It’s a private thing that people go through.
We’ll come back to that a little bit more, I’m sure. So let’s, I guess we’ll fast forward a bit. So then Sarah’s offered, and then you go through the process of the counseling and legals of how that works in Australia. And then I guess then here we’ve got the photos. So it worked first embryo transfer, is that right? Yeah, so she came over for a quick two week trip and her husband and little boy stayed in New York as he went to school. And so she brought her little.
daughter who’s the little 18 month year old who squeezed her way into the transfer room. Yeah, it worked first go. So it was amazing. It sort of blows your mind that after that many transfers trying because I was thinking maybe it’s our embryos, you know, but you know, when it happens first go with the surrogate, you kind of go, wow, that’s incredible. I do have something wrong. You had a juicy womb as I like to say. Yeah, it was great. It was the…
The transfer was one of the highlights. It was such an amazing experience just to sit there and all be in the room together and experience that and see this tiny little embryo just in 15 minutes go in. And you can say that she got pregnant for the third time and her husband wasn’t even in the room. That’s right. I know, you know, that’s right. Same here, I had two gay boys in the room. You know, we got pregnant. Definitely a unique story, that’s for sure.
What a story. And so then here we’ve got some of the scans that were happening once she’s back home. And so she got monitored in, did like a clinic take her under their wing or she had some midwives? Yeah, she had her OBGYN in New York. So she gave birth to both her babies there. So she had the same doctor there who managed her pregnancy. So, you know, this was pre-COVID too. So we were allowed to FaceTime in to the scans, which was great.
Yeah, and I think that for us, that heartbeat one was really important because for us, we never got that. So we went to our heartbeat scan and there was nothing. So we were very, very nervous about history repeating itself there. But sure enough, there’s a beautiful even like the uterus was in the shape of a heart. You can see in that left picture, which is incredible. It was lovely. And I’m sure that’s really common for people to.
be nervous at different points. If it’s women listening who have got to different points in a pregnancy, you know, you would carry those nerves and trying to balance that out between being excited for Sarah and the team and also managing their older feelings. Yeah. Protecting yourself. Yeah. Just in case it happens again. Yeah. It’s so complex, isn’t it? Yep. And so then this is at about 14 weeks pregnant. Your wed- this is your wedding? Yeah. So yeah, they came back, um, and we got married. We knew the-
gender at that point. So, because I actually got my family to do a little surprise for us to tell us what the gender was. And so we just did it at our little ceremony there. So they would know what we were having and it was a little girl. Wonderful. Yeah, and look at the expression on her face. Yeah, yeah. She was convinced it was a boy. Sorry. And the photo of the two of you there, you know, hand on her tummy there. And yeah, what a story these surrogate babies have to tell. Yeah.
together to create their lives. And then they finally flew to Australia and then they were in hotel quarantine. Was it an apartment quarantine or is that a hotel? An apartment. So we tried to get exemption for them but it was right at the height of Melbourne going into their big lockdown and everyone was no no you must do hotel quarantine. So they have special
quarantine for medical reasons. So they managed to go into some service departments at a three bedroom apartment that was 10 minutes from us. So we’d deliver food, coffees, games, toys, everything every day, just to help them through that two week period. And this was the greatest moment of my life. Tell us about it. So this was in the birth suite in the hospital and the birth, I think Sarah,
said to us, strap in, this will be long. My births were, you know, 20 to 30 hours. And I think the time on the birth sheet was an hour, 24 minutes for her. It was very, very quick, the second stage of labor. It just happened so quickly and suddenly Bonnie was there, a little girl was there. And I think the emotion in the room was incredibly overwhelming. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Yeah, the birth is something that
I just can’t even begin to explain how special it is. And I think everyone in the hospital too, they don’t generally see surrogacy births. So we had people popping in all the time going, how is everyone, you know, has she been born yet? And they all wanted to know what was going on. And yeah, it was incredible. Wonderful. Yeah, as you say, for the staff there too, it’s not something they would see on a regular shift. And- No. And usually they’re very joyful births.
because there’s so many people, this little baby here, and to share that, and to be teaching the new parents about how to manage with a newborn, but then also checking the recovery of the surrogate too. So there’s lots going on. So then this is one of your first team photos, I’d imagine. Yeah, this was just after she was born. So yeah, she went straight on to Sarah, and which was lovely. I actually…
Like that was never planned. It was, we were just going to see what happened. And I think it all just naturally happened the way it was supposed to. So she was straight on Sarah and then Tom got to cut the cord and then, yeah, then she came to me after that. It was actually great because I got to see her, you know, see her face and yeah, rather than sort of holding a baby, I just couldn’t look at her and take it all in, which was lovely. And I’m sure for those listening, you know,
at the very beginning of their journey, trying to imagine this moment, they might initially go, you’ve got to come straight to me, I’ve got to have that first cuddle. And then I think by the end of it, you often go, I’m going to have this baby forever. And you learn a lot about, if you’re not familiar with women and birthing and how it’s actually quite physiologically beneficial to the birthing woman to have those cuddles for post-birth reasons. And then also for the emotional payment for the surrogate, this is sort of like Lion King handing over Simba moment that we often all dream.
I think that’s the moment Sarah dressed up, although I think she was just like, oh my God, this is amazing. So she didn’t get the handing over, but it was, yeah, it was still incredible because she got to watch us hold her for the first time. Beautiful. And then skin to skin. Our first cuddles. Pretty special. It was incredible. Yeah, it was so incredible. It still feels so surreal. You know, you’re in this room watching.
someone give birth, which is quite actually traumatic when it’s someone that you love as well, like they’re in pain and then suddenly this baby’s there and then you hold her and it was like, oh my God, she’s mine. And it’s like, it just takes a long time to sink in. Yeah, it was amazing. Yeah, and you’re like, right, I’m responsible now, right? Okay. Yeah, what do I do? What do I do?
I did have one of the other couch photos of you all before Bonnie was born. And then here’s one of the photos of you all with her there, part of the family picture. Yeah. So this was within sort of two weeks of her being born. Yeah, we just got professional photos done just so that we could capture that moment. Yeah, that’s lovely. And then they went home. How many weeks post birth did they go home?
Yeah, so it’s only three weeks. So they had three weeks here and then back to the US because there was school to start. So they went back and then, yeah, this is Bonnie showing her crawling skills to the family. So we do a lot of that at the moment, which is so nice. So you probably haven’t seen them in person since then. No, no, we’ve not been allowed to travel and vice versa. So it’ll be next year, definitely next year. We just got to work out how and when.
And then birth certificate here coming through with names on it. Yep. That, that was an incredible moment. Like just to see that even though she was ours, we knew she was ours. Just to have that formality was really special. And then for me as a surrogate, cause I’ve just down here, I’ve got a copy of all three of my children’s birth certificates. So, cause the first birth certificate gets issued.
So it’s still around and then it gets for those listening. The original is also kept at births, deaths and marriages. And there’s probably a note on the bottom of the new one that gets drawn up saying more information is kept or it might even have it on the back in depending on your state, birth, fire, surrogate or something like that. Yeah, they’re each special documents to have, I think for every team. Yeah. And then isolation birthday. Yeah, first birthday. So we couldn’t really celebrate her, you know.
baby shower or anything, everything was locked down which was a shame. So and then her first birthday was two weeks after the Sydney lockdown started in June, like I think it started in June, July and so yeah her birthday was August. So we had a party of three in the backyard with a really big cake. From the birthday cake book if everybody’s familiar with it. Yeah the Women’s Weekly cake. I saw one asked in chat.
And it said, even though you have partly answered it, it said, did you consider international or commercial surrogacy at all, or did you find your surrogate easily? Although we’ve probably discussed that bit about finding your surrogate easily because somebody offered once they knew your story, your sister-in-law, well, you’re now on a sibling journey, I hear. And so- Yeah, and even before Sarah offered, when I joined ASC, I was looking into domestic surrogacy, but I also looked into international.
So I looked at the US and I looked at Ukraine as well. So I was open to all options because I just didn’t know how easy or hard each one was. So I wanted to sort of get the info for everything and then kind of work out which way I wanted to go. And I did want to go domestic for that first journey because I don’t know why other than I just, I wanted to be close to that pregnancy and I ended up being as far away as possible.
But yeah, so we’re doing a sibling journey in the US. We’re in the very early stages of matching with the surrogate in the US. So I can have the other side. Yeah, the US where it’s actual baby, if hopefully we have a baby, would be born in the US. And how many embryos have you got? So this is probably why I chose to go international is because I’ve only got two tested embryos left.
So, um, and one untested. So I tried three more times to make more embryos and didn’t have any luck. So when I couldn’t make any more, I sort of, we’ve made the call to do it overseas. Um, and mainly just, I guess it’s the speed of being able to do it. Cause I wanted to have potentially children close in age, but also I wanted to get the best possible chance. It’s a very much a business over there. They do it so often. It’s like a well-oiled machine.
over there. So. It’s a challenging question here. What makes you think medically it’s more successful over there than it is here? Some of the stats that I’ve looked at with the clinics. But have we even got any stats here? We don’t. That’s part of the problem. So that’s the problem is that in the US, you actually, there’s a database where you can actually go and look at clinics and look at all their statistics. And you can look at your situations and choose based on, you know, choose a clinic even based on their.
records and their stats. So that was something I’d always looked at as well. And I’ll say boldly, as somebody that’s known you for a couple of years, we’ve had chats and that philosophically you are somebody who fits the altruistic model. You are somebody that absolutely believes in relationships. So I know that you will make your commercial arrangement about a relationship. And so it’s
It’s like, no, we want to keep you here as an intended mum. I know of surrogate on the side about you, Trudy. To help people listening tonight understand how do you, you know, what advice would you give to somebody who is, you know, on the fence about which one, partly to me, I think it would be not everyone can afford it financially, but is it something that if you can, you would encourage people to look into or to ask your options? What would you say to people? You’ve got to try to work out what your
priorities are and time is a really, really big one. And I think if you’re going to go somewhere like the US or Ukraine, you’re almost guaranteed a surrogate. And that for me was a big part of it. Whereas in Australia, I had explored my family and friends and, you know, many, many options there. And I’d exhausted those options, I guess I should say, once you’ve done the first journey, from a time perspective, if we did
go through and these three embryos failed, at least I could potentially quickly do another couple of egg retrievals if I was absolutely willing to again, just I think in the altruistic model, that could have been years down the track, which would have been passed. I’m 43 in January, so I have a window that’s very quickly closing. So that time was a big thing for me and the fact that I only had these two left. And would you have considered donor eggs?
Uh, yes, I, I, I think so. Um, I did it the first, uh, the beginning now that I’ve got Bonnie, I’m actually not quite sure. I think, I think, um, I’d actually be quite happy with just her if we didn’t have, um, another sibling cause she’s incredible. So yeah, I gave it your best shot. That that’s exactly right. Yeah. I’ve no one can say I haven’t tried.
Yes, the US clinic success rates are available publicly. So yeah, I’m sure you can look some of those up. We’ll go into some of the other questions that we’ve got here. In no particular order, an anonymous question is, do you still take the baby home from the hospital before the parentage has been transferred? It’s funny, I’ve got a video of Sarah, the minute the cord was cut, she’s like, my responsibilities are over. She said, she’s yours. I mean, legally, the…
Baby was my sister-in-law’s. So I mean, the hospital are obviously aware of the arrangement that we’ve got and that it’s a surrogacy arrangement. So they allow you to take that baby home because they’re aware of it being a surrogacy arrangement. But yeah, you definitely, the minute she’s born, she was in my care. Sarah went off to sort of her separate room and got to have a good night’s sleep on that first night. Yeah. So yes, if you’re brand new and listening to this, yes, the IPs take charge of the baby, so to speak.
from birth, often you’re a team and you’re seeing each other and spending still a lot of time together and the surrogate might feed it from a bottle or maybe from the breast, depending on the team situation there. But then often when it cries, she can hand it back to you and you deal with all the nappies and learning how to do all the new parent things. I guess just one thing from a legal perspective, if the baby did need some surgery in those early weeks, legally the surrogate is the parent, so she would be the one to sign permission to do the surgery.
those sorts of things. But again, the hospitals are very aware of what’s going on and that when they ask questions about the child, they go to Trudie and Tom to ask them about what they wanna do in that hospital. If they don’t go asking Sarah. So that’s why it’s really important that hospitals, we’re educating them along the way as they get more experienced in surrogacy too. So another question, intended parents are asking, they’re curious to know if surrogates can opt to have a C-section and if there are any rules around that or would it be normal circumstances?
Is that something your team discussed Trudy? Yes, it’s definitely an option. So Sarah could have said that that’s what she wanted to do, but she’d had two vaginal births, so she wanted to do another one, but if she wanted a C-section, we were very much under the, however she wants to have that baby. That’s how we would support her in whatever decision that she had, so that she made. So I think, yeah, Sarah didn’t want a C-section, like she was pretty adamant she didn’t want one, but for example,
you know, in the US a lot of the times surrogates want a C-section. Yeah, so it’s actually quite common to have a C-section. So it’s really up to the surrogate and obviously the obstetrician who’s looking after them. That’s true. And so, and often caesareans are easier to schedule because everybody knows when birthdays happening, whereas when you don’t know when you’re going to go into labour, or I suppose if you’re induced, then you can plan a little bit more, but that’s the craziness and the fun. So yes, surrogates can…
choose to have an elective C section if they want. It might depend on how many others that they’ve had. It’s not a forced thing that has to happen in surrogacy by any. Another question here, are there any rules specific to IPs based in New South Wales that aren’t applicable to other states? Again, in SAS, I have an address and I’ve got the order of every state and all the steps. You didn’t have a psych assessment in New South Wales, did you, with an independent psych?
Not an independent psych, but we did have an assessment as part of our counselling. Right. So that was, we did Katrina Hale and she did an assessment there. It wasn’t a legal thing, but the clinic sometimes has additional requirements. So we had to do additional counselling through our clinic. I’m just trying to think, I don’t know any other specific legal things.
I’ve got nothing else. New South Wales and Queensland are very similar. So, yeah. So no, nothing else for New South Wales. I don’t think so. I can think of in my five years and I’m now collected altogether. So nothing major strikes out to me. So then a question here from Nicole, does it matter on the age of IPs? You’re 45, sorry, 48 with three adult children and would like to have a family with your second husband as he doesn’t have any. My knowledge for IPs is, and for surrogates, there’s no official law.
on the age, it’s often the IVF clinics might have an internal rule where the IPs might need to be less than 52. Is that a number that you’ve heard Trudy or early 50s? I think a surrogate has to be less than 52, but I think like some clinics actually have a 45 year limit, some have no limits. So it just depends on the clinic. I wouldn’t see it as a problem. You just would go to a few different clinics to try to see who’s willing to work with you.
Yes, so that’s a great question. So Nicole, if you don’t have an IVF clinic already, tee up with one and that’s one of your first questions to ask them because they go by their rules. If they go, no, we’re not putting, don’t care if your surrogate’s 30, if they have a rule on that. But there’s no law in Australia that has a limit for IP. So I hope that helps give you a little bit of hope there tonight, Nicole. Judith asks, what’s the process for harvesting eggs from the donut? Is it intrusive and exactly what happens? Is it a one-time process? So Judith, I’m guessing you’re asking that you perhaps haven’t been through IVF yourself.
Trudy, do you want to give a brief summary of? I think I did 11 egg retrievals. So I’ve done my fair share. It is quite an intense process. So it’s all based on your cycle. So on day one of your cycle is when it starts. And then you do lots of blood tests, lots of ultrasounds, and then you do a lot of injections of hormones. So you do that over a period of usually 12 days maximum. And then once you get…
ultrasounds to check how many eggs you’ve got in your ovaries. And then at some point when the, the eggs are big enough, they will trigger you. And then 36 hours later, they, sorry, they trigger you with an injection. And then 36 hours later, you’ll have your usually surgery, um, with a, I’ve had it once with where you don’t have, I think it’s called a twilight where you’re actually awake for it. Um, but most of them you’re under general anesthetic, which is definitely a preference. And, and then, yeah, they take the eggs out and then.
The whole process, I think, in the surgery is no more than sort of 15, 30 minutes. And then it’s just a bit of a recovery from bloating and a little bit of discomfort afterwards. It’s an intense process in terms of the hormone levels that you’re injecting into yourself. So some people feel, you know, don’t have any, don’t feel any different, whereas some people ride a lot of kind of roller coasters of emotions through it. So I was the one of these, unfortunately. Yeah. So it’s intense.
I hope that helps to sum it up. And then I suppose that they grow them in the lab up until five days, once they’ve injected them with a sperm and then to check that the embryos, the cells are dividing and that they become a blast. And then that gets stored in the freezer for up to 10 years or more if you like. And one anonymous has asked, do they have to be PGD tested before putting into a surrogate? In Australia, no, you don’t. Maybe more so in the States, not sure, but.
No, that’s how it rolls here in Australia. Some people do testing, some don’t. Some have different thoughts on all of that. So that’s answered that question there. We’ve got a couple more. I might do the costs one. I’ll give you a rank and then Trudy, you tell us your costs. So- Yeah, I’m willing to tell that one because it’s part of the journey. It is right. From my data gathering, you’re looking at an average of about 55 to 60,000. Baker cost his dad 60,000. Range from 35,000 up to-
80, 90,000, mind you, if you’ve got an overseas team, you could be up at the high end. So who would be at the low end and do it for about 35,000? If you perhaps already have embryos made before surrogacy, because once you mentioned surrogacy, you often don’t get Medicare rebates. So.
Try as best you can under fertility preservation to get those embryos made, or if you’d get a guy’s listing and have an egg donor, some clinics now are open to that. So that’s a good progress with me. If your surrogate lives locally to you and you don’t have much interstate travel or accommodation costs you have to pay for, if it works, first embryo transfer, and if you didn’t have to pay many loss of wages for her.
that could be down at the lower end, which ties me into one question that I saw there. Maternity leave. This is the one thing in surrogacy that’s double dipping and we love it because it’s not gonna break the system. Paid parental leave. If two people are entitled to it for the one child. So the surrogate is entitled to paid parental leave if she meets the work test. And if in her own workplace, she gets maternity leave, then she’s entitled to that full leave. And so is the primary carer.
So the parent that stays home, they too, if their workplace has maternity or paternity leave, get that and the paid parental leave. Hope that answers that question who anonymous asked about that. And so then up at the upper end of costs, 80, 90,000, I mean, no guarantee of these things. If you had to do multiple egg collection cycles and then multiple embryo transfers, that’s costing quite a few thousands of dollars each time. If you had interstate travel and if your surrogate perhaps had loss of wages, you’d be up there. So I’m guessing…
Trudy, even though their family, you know, and they might’ve come for a holiday, I suppose because they’re surrogacy related, you were paying for the travel costs and you know, need to bring the four family out, you know, for this. So what was your figure? So if I took all my IVF out of it, because I’ve done way too many of those to include, that the actual surrogacy part was probably about between 45 and 50,000. So it was actually quite reasonable.
A lot of that was actually probably due to COVID being around. So there was, you know, six months of the pregnancy where nothing, they couldn’t do anything. You couldn’t really, you know, get cleaners. You couldn’t do anything like that. Part of the pregnancy, they actually left and went to live out of state with family. So that probably made a big difference to us. And that we were gonna travel over there and we just didn’t do that. So probably would have been a lot higher. Just the surrogacy costs itself and birth, probably just under 50.
The IVF double that, triple that. Let me ask a bold question. How much do you think you might expect to pay to do an American surrogacy journey once you’ve done accommodation and travel back and stuff? I have a number that I think it is, but do you have a rough number that you’re planning for? Yeah, I reckon it’s in the 200,000. I think. Yeah. So, so we appreciate that this is not accessible.
to everyone and even sorry, Australia, it’s not a, it’s not something everybody will be able to afford. One thing I will point out is that even for the domestic surrogacy, you know, for my team, it was two and a half years from meeting to birth. So that 60,000 that the boys paid did not come in a lump sum. And so you keep, you continue to earn income and you can save. And for me, it was important to know they had a backup plan in case, you know, there was something major that cropped up.
I had met the parents and so I knew that they would spot them for five or $10,000, you know, if at a pinch, if they needed it. Yes, have a nest egg. Um, and it means you probably adjust your life for a while. You don’t do any major holidays or travel, that sort of thing. You’re saving and focusing on surrogacy. Pace it out. Um, it is achievable there in that sense. Brooke’s question here. Um, so Brooke’s had a hysterectomy, but still has her ovaries, but doesn’t have a period, are the clinics able to figure out when to start IVF cycles without knowing a period start date? Absolutely. Like there’s.
You know, one of the reasons for surrogacy is MRKH and yeah, it’s a series of blood tests. So I’m pretty sure it’s the ovaries, the pituitary glands that excrete the hormone that tells us where you are in the cycle as well. So even though you don’t get the period, you would still be ovulating because you’ve got ovaries. So they’ll be able to time that with your blood tests very easily. So that’s a good question to ask. So Brooklyn and others, I hope that’s been really helpful to ask those questions.
I’m here tonight. Having gone through this whole journey, and that had hard times, what’s something that you learned about yourself having gone through this? That I’m way more resilient than I ever thought I would be. And I think when you go through just the infertility journey, you have this empathy for other people in similar situations that, you just never know what people are going through. And I think we made such an effort to…
I guess, hide a lot of what was going on from our work from, you know, friends a lot of the time. It’s amazing how difficult that is, but how, how many other people are actually going through it. So joining that surrogacy community was the best thing I did because I thought I was alone and one of the only people in Australia for this to happen to. And then suddenly an entire community opened up that we’re in similar situations and it wasn’t as rare a condition that I thought. So yeah, I think, yeah, I’m a lot more determined than I thought I was and resilient.
Definitely. And I got good project management skills to manage a journey like that. Yeah. And so what, any parting advice then? You’re saying to engage in a community and find out that you’re not alone. Any advice for people starting out? I think talk, like talking to people, I would talk to, and I still do talk to a lot of people on Facebook, just through the community.
about like answering their questions. And because it’s because people did that to me when I was first starting out in my journey, is I’d find someone that was going through something similar and I’d, you know, we’d just start talking. And it was really, really great just to, it’s such a lonely kind of journey to be on as well. So to find someone else that has a similar journey is incredible. And I made a friend through the community who, you know, we talked to each other on Facebook, you know, every second day.
probably only met each other three times and we’re just following each other’s journey. We know more about each other’s journey than anyone would. So I think having that, those friendships and those people to talk to is really, really helpful and can help you navigate this scary world. Thank you for joining me. On our YouTube channel, you will find many other episodes as well as the images mentioned in this webinar. If you’re looking for more resources, check out the show notes for this episode.
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