Episode 16 – Elle – straight mum
Elle and her husband, Luke, from Adelaide expanded their family with son (Alfie) in March 2023. Aflie was carried by Sarah, whom they met at a mutual friend’s wedding. Elle also has Sonny who is 4, two still born babies – Taj and Lenny, and needed a surrogate due to her cervix not holding pregnancies to term.
This episode was recorded in August 2023.
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!
Welcome to Surrogacy Australia’s podcast series. I’m your host Anna McKie. Thank you for sharing your time to listen to this episode. These recordings are from the regular one hour free webinars that I run, which I invite you to attend if you haven’t already. They take you through how surrogacy works in Australia, including how to find a surrogate or intended parents. There are opportunities to ask questions and you hear from a co-host each time about their own journey.
This episode, recorded in August 2023, features Ellie. Ellie and her husband Luke from Adelaide expanded their family with son Alfie in March 2023. Alfie was carried by Sarah, whom they met at a mutual friend’s wedding. Ellie also has Sonny, who is four, two stillborn babies, Taj and Lenny, and needed a surrogate due to her cervix not holding pregnancies to term. You can hear Sarah’s version of this story in the next episode.
In this episode we talked about the emotions that come up for a woman when another woman carries her baby, like shame that her body couldn’t carry and jealousy that your baby is growing in another woman, as well as a sense of feeling out of control that another woman is carrying your baby. How that even when you have a strong team, surrogacy is so complex and things come up. Ellie’s advice for others who are looking for a surrogate. You don’t know unless you put it out there. Hold on to hope because it is so possible.
And for her, it was a heart opening, expansive experience. I hope you enjoy the episode. We’ve got Ellie with us and we’re gonna work through the photos that she shared with us to share her journey. Obviously these photos here, Ellie, there’s a lot that’s happened before this point in terms of bringing you to surrogacy and how you met your surrogate Sarah. So we’ll come back to that. So take us through who’s in this photo and what’s happening. So this is the embryo transfer.
This was the day that we, Luke and I, my husband, Luke is my husband, had made our embryos. And this was the day that we transferred our first embryo into Sarah. We’re sitting there and I think the embryo has been transferred so you can kind of see it on the screen there. Did it work first embryo transfer for your team? We were very, very lucky and it did work first time. We were going into it not expecting, just trying not to get our hopes up too much, but it did. That’s great.
Yeah. Just as a little side note for people listening there, I’ve gathered some statistics on this and about 56% of surrogacy teams, it does work on the first embryo transfer. Yeah, right. 91% of teams birth within three embryo transfers. Wow. Sorry, that’s often a common question. How many embryos should we have? And I would say at least three. So how many did you have in the
comfortable having three, both us and our surrogate. I think that’s a good number to have. Right, and so then the pregnancy worked and so it went on. So this is Sarah here taking a selfie? Yes, yes, and I would say Sarah is actually a photographer as well, so we’ve got some quite nice shots throughout the pregnancy. Yeah, so this is her, I can’t even remember how far along she was, just rocking the pregnancy and doing a really good job of carrying.
And how was the pregnancy for her? Was she unwell or fairly okay? She was okay. She said it was definitely her hardest pregnancy to carry. She’s got four kids of her own already, a 10 year old, 13 year old, a four year old and now two year old. She felt like her body, she struggled physically more than the other time. So I think fifth pregnancy, yeah, she did pretty well too. Yeah.
We often say to surrogates, they’re always older each time they get pregnant, so it’s harder on your body sometimes. Yeah, yeah. But overall, she went pretty well. I love this photo because I think this is a classic surrogate in intended mom or intended parent photo. She’s looking at you because surrogates often do it for the joy that they bring their friends and family. Was this a particular event or just a catch up in a backyard? So this is when Sarah met my family. So she came over.
met my mum and dad, my husband’s mum and dad and our brothers and sisters. And then I announced to Sarah, oh, she already knew, but I announced to my family and she was the gender of the baby. So it was a very special day. And I actually like look at this photo now and we had the birth video and it was that look that she gave me when Alfie came out and yeah, it just reminded me of that.
It’s beautiful. And so yeah, that’s introducing it to your friends and family. You know, they’re realizing this, this village that’s come together to help you expand your family there. Did you have positive reactions from people in your friends and family about it or curiosity or concerns? We were overwhelmed with positive responses and support. I think everyone was kind of, you know, with us through everything that kind of led us to needing a surrogate. So I think I’ve enjoyed and lots of curiosity, lots of questions.
I mean, it was like nerve-racking putting it out there, but to be responded with that support, yeah, meant a lot. And then that brings us to birthday. Was it an induction, a planned one? I think I knew that, was it? Was in the end, yes. So I think Sarah was just over 38 weeks. And there was, yeah, a few things that had happened along the way and we just decided in the end we would, she originally just wanted to go naturally, but we just thought to coordinate everybody and.
it was just easier to have that induction booked in. So everyone had agreed on that. Well, lots to coordinate with her four kids. You’ve already got a kid too, work schedules. Yes, and her sister as her birth partner and her sister’s got two kids and that was just easier that way. And I felt like I had a bit more control too, knowing when it was going to happen. And so a classic question for IPs is, were you at the birth? And yes, by the looks of things you were.
Yes, we most definitely were. So it was myself, my husband, and then Sarah had her sister, yes, as her support person. So the three of us and it was the best day ever. It was just pretty surreal to be in that room supporting her and sitting next to my husband. Yeah, particularly as we’ve been through a few births previously that were quite traumatic. This was just, yeah, the most beautiful experience and it was very healing.
Oh, that’s really lovely to hear. That’s probably a good moment for me to mention to listeners that Ellie and surrogate Sarah have each done their own podcasts with Australian birth stories. If you’re familiar with that, they’ve got a massive following there. You can look up their episodes there. And Ellie talks about a lot of what has brought her to surrogacy and her previous pregnancies with carrying Lenny and Taj, who was stillborn and Sunny, who was born quite prematurely. So obviously.
Your experience with birth prior to this point was, as you say, had some trauma and lots of complications and very medical. Whereas this was a water birth in the end, was it? She did, yes. She made it into the bath and that’s what she wanted. So, yeah, it was beautiful. And so classic question is often, did you stay in the hospital and like rooms next to each other for a night or you spent some time together post birth? How did it work for you?
Yeah, we cracked a bottle of champagne after, not straight away, but we were all celebrated together and obviously had that time with Alfie. And then we stayed together overnight in rooms next to each other, ordered pizza, delivered hers to her door, she had some rest. And then the next morning we woke up, it was actually the strangest thing, I think, separating after that. And then she, I think she had a big sleep, she was just exhausted. And then she woke up and she was like,
like just wanted to be close to us. So we ended up hanging out. I think it was, it must have been early the next morning. And then she actually, she brought her photography camera to the hospital because she wanted to take photos of us with Alfie after the birth. So she took some photos the next day for us. How special to have those photos, but also done by a photographer. By a photographer, I know, yeah.
You guys both live in Adelaide. What’s the difference in distance apart from your houses in Tom? Yeah, we live about 20 minutes away from each other. That’s pretty good. Not far. Yeah. What else have we got here? So these are the photos that you mentioned that Sarah took. Oh, these are just straight after the birth. So this was just after Abby was born. Sarah didn’t take these ones. I think she was probably still.
maybe birthing the placenta at this time, or you know, just resting. Yeah, this is when our, this is our elder, Sonny, came in to meet baby Alfie. Pretty special when your older child meets your little one, isn’t it? Yeah, he is, he really was. And yes, very proud as you can see in those photos. And Sonny now, is he four, is that right? Yeah, he’s just turned four. And then this is a photo of you all together.
So yes, this was as we were about to leave the hospital the next day, surreal walking out those hospital doors. And yeah, one feeling that we just weren’t prepared for was when we dropped Sarah home from the hospital and just leaving her, felt like we wanted to take her home and just do this together. And yeah, it was very strange. And some strange feelings, you know, those weeks afterwards.
Yeah, just I suppose that connection that you could have never prepared for. And obviously it’s still there, it’s going to be there forever now. But that was just the beginning, you know, the pregnancy was, you know, a big part of it. But after the birth, that was like, wow, yes, opened us all right up. It’s an enormous project. You go on together as adults and then the project ends with the baby. But then it sort of changes your dynamic. It’s still there, but it adjusts, doesn’t it? Yeah, yeah, it just, yeah, you have this closeness that
You can’t even describe it. We often say that. It’s like, no, unless you’ve been through it, it’s really hard to understand. It’s impossible. I was just going to say that, the same thing. Once you’ve been through it, you know, it’s so intimate. And that hints this word, this Surroship word. It’s you’ve got a friendship with people and then you’ve got your intimate life partner. But a Surroship is more than a friendship because you’re having a baby together. And that’s usually something you only do with your life partner.
And so the planning of a pregnancy and the decisions that get made for this little person’s life is quite intimate. And to all be in the birth suite together is, you know, a very special bonding moment for everybody. I can hear it in your voice that it’s like nothing else you’ve ever done. Yes, that’s right. Then life goes on. We’ve got some family photos here.
Life goes on, I know, here we are. Alfie would have been about three or four weeks old there. And it’s just so interesting, I like sitting down with you Anna and just reflecting on where this all began. Life just goes on and it’s actually been really great for me to sit down and think, wow, everyone that’s listening tonight, we were in your position less than two years ago and now we’ve got this baby here and I could have never imagined it, to be honest. I just…
It’s become your new normal because… New normal but we are so blessed. I’m glad that we just didn’t give up and we didn’t lose hope because yes it happened and it can happen for everyone. Well said. So for those listening, I follow Ellie on social media and I think that’s possibly how I found you. It’s been lovely to watch Alfie grow and Sunny too and you guys slide into family life. And another interesting thing that you have done is you induce lactation which for those listening if they haven’t heard about that, that meant Ellie…
went through a regime to express milk from her body, even though she didn’t birth the baby, there’s a process to go through. So is it meant that, have you fed him exclusively or close to from birth? I have fed him exclusively from birth, yeah. Oh, I think that’s been even one of my favourite parts, having that bonding experience. And it’s, yeah, I didn’t even know it was possible at the beginning. I mean, it’s not something I’d thought about. I just probably would have assumed that.
I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. But I think I’m just trying to remember where, I think it was on one of the, maybe the Facebook groups that I joined where I read about it. And then I found a lactation consultant in Adelaide and this was through the Sargasso, Australia Facebook group. This one had been recommended by a few women. And so I went and saw her and then she gave me a protocol to follow. Yeah, and so I was able to just taking medication.
along with a pill and then expressing. It was just like on a timeline, I was able to bring on lactation and yeah, as soon as Alfie was born, I put him to my breast and he fed and I didn’t know how it was going to work out, but what are we almost six months on and I’ve been feeding him the whole time.
Well, well done. It’s a credit to me. Just a little plug there. I’ve done a webinar in the past and there’s a recording that people can find on the YouTube channel, Surrogacy Australia, where I had three mums through surrogacy come on and talk about inducing lactation. One of them was Hannah, the mum from Adelaide. And I mentioned the photos before. You may have chatted with her at some point. Yes. So if people are that’s something that they’re interested to hear more about. We’ve got a recorded webinar for that one.
Take us back to the beginning then, Ellie, that obviously, I guess a little bit of why you needed a surrogate and then how did you find Sarah? Yeah, sure. So I suppose our just, you know, there was a lot to it. So just kind of summarising back in, it would have been 2015. We got married, fell pregnant straight away. Thought, oh, this is easy. We so, so fortunate to get to that point. But we lost our first baby Taj. I was 20 weeks along. Waters just broke and we didn’t know why.
Then fast forward, we were trying for three years after that, and it was classed as secondary unexplained infertility, which I didn’t even know was a thing, failed IVF attempts. Then I had an endemic urus diagnosis, and once I had that removed, fell pregnant naturally with Sunny. So carried on thinking, you know, just watching closely. Turns out that it was my cervix that couldn’t hold the babies in.
So I gave birth to Sunny at 25 weeks. So he was born very prematurely, so a long NICU journey. After Sunny got pregnant, he would have been about two years old. So we had a stitch, everything that we thought would get us further. 21 weeks along again, we lost our second baby, Lenny. So after that loss, I felt crazy at the time. I’m like, we have just had so much loss and heartache, but I just wasn’t willing to give up. Surrogacy
was something that we’d thought about in the past. And I think maybe I just had it in the back of my mind as one day, like it could be an option for us, just helping me to hold on to that hope. And it would have been, I think it was like two months after we lost Lenny, I just started exploring it more. I joined the surrogacy Facebook groups, the South Australian one, the Australian one. I read a lot of Sarah Jeffords blog posts, listened to her podcasts.
So I just kind of dived in and just tried to just learn as much as I could. I didn’t join SAS, but now after listening, I wish I did. I think I was just lucky the way that everything fell into place. So the one thing that I remember reading was that you often, it’ll be somebody in your network or extended network.
I think I saw it in the statistics you said, three out of? Three out of four teams. Three out of, yeah. Four teams, someone that they know. And the only way to know is to put it out there. I suppose for me, I’ve always been pretty open in sharing, especially with our fertility struggles, I find it’s just very therapeutic for me. And I just, the more I do it, the more I realize I’m not alone. And I know that there’s other people out there that find comfort in me sharing.
what’s going on internally for me. So I put a post out, which is very daunting, not asking for a surrogate, like you said Anna, but just saying like, this is where we’re at, kind of like talking about surrogacy and what it was, and just saying like, this is gonna be our next step. And we’ve got nothing to lose, but everything to gain. So we put that out there. And then Sarah, so a bit of a backstory, I had met Sarah, who is our surrogate,
back before we lost Lenny and we’d kind of gone into the surrogacy path. She was the photographer at a wedding that I was in, one of my girlfriends, I was the bridesmaid. So we connected there, you know, got along really well, bonded over the fact that she had a sonny that was a week younger than our sonny. And at the time when she was photographing my girlfriend’s wedding, she was pregnant, heavily pregnant, she would have been about 36 weeks along.
And I just remember thinking, wow, like you rock pregnancy. She was running around with the camera. So that was when I first met her. And so then fast forward to we’d had, we’d lost Lenny, put the post up and then she read the post and she reached out to me through a message. I think it was on Instagram and just said like, look, I read your post about surrogacy. This is something I would really love to do for you. If you wanted to catch up, just let me know. So we went from there.
And we were talking before about timelines. So I think that was about towards the end of 2021 that you caught up. Yes, yes. So then November, yeah, so 2020 was the wedding. And then it was, yeah, towards the end of 2021. That’s right. Yep. Yeah. And so then it was sort of what, a year and a half then to get to the point then of having little Alfie here. So you must have then spent a bit of time chatting and discussing what the journey would look like. And then you went through the paperwork.
and then you would have gotten pregnant off, I don’t know what month that embryo transfer was, like June-ish? June, it was about June that we got pregnant, yeah. So just touching on, I think this is one thing that I just go back to the beginning and putting that out there, trying asking for someone. I know how daunting it feels and I remember at the time, I didn’t know where it was going to lead us. I had no idea what the response would be. So I suppose anyone listening is like…
I know how that feels and now that I’ve done it and we’ve got Alfie in, I’d do it a hundred times over and you just don’t know who’s out there. Sarah got in touch with us, but there was some other people too that I would have never have known. And I think maybe like, I just, I feel so lucky that others offer, but I just feel like that’s one point you just don’t know until you put it out there, so.
Agreed. That’s great advice for people. You’ve got to put it out there. And the worst that can come from it is that you will gain support from people and you will increase their awareness of surrogacy. And then the best is that either someone will step forward or someone that you shared it with will tell someone else. That’s how it might work, isn’t it? It works. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, we started catching up. Sorry, Anna, I just went off. No, that’s good. It’s good to weave it all in. Yeah, started catching up and…
I remember that first catch up, it’s like, it’s very nerve-racking. You feel like you’re dating. She came over with her kids and it was just so easy from the beginning. And I think we just had that like, that ease and that connection. It was just, I just felt so right. And then, yeah, we just started catching up quite regularly, going to the park, catching up for coffee, going to each other’s house. And then I think we just had to make the call, like, so are we going to do this together?
Yeah, from there, we, that was towards the end of the year, in December that year, December 2021, Luke and I went through IVF. So we made the embryos. We hadn’t done anything else yet, hadn’t started the process of the paperwork, but we did that part first. And yeah, we’re lucky to have made three embryos. Yes, and so then the counseling and legals and that led you then to the transfer. Yeah, yeah, and I suppose like I think back to, and…
just at the beginning feeling so overwhelmed about the whole process. And I suppose with SAS, that’s where you can have that support and guidance on the process and the steps, which I didn’t have. So that- Somebody telling you what’s coming next. Yeah, and so I just felt really overwhelmed. And I just remember thinking, okay, for just, yeah, one foot in front of the other. And I think doing the IVF was the big part. We just get that out of the way. But I found for us, it’s once we started going through our IVF clinic, they had a-
a checklist and they laid it all out for us. Yeah I remember just feeling and Sarah too like it was going to be massive and just a lot but we actually felt like it was pretty straightforward once we got going and maybe that’s our you know that’s our experience but I don’t know I got overwhelmed with you know hearing that it was it was going to be a lot but I just feel like once you get going. Yeah no I think that’s about right once once you do have a surrogate and you’ve talked together about
what the journey looks like for you all, then there’s just logistics and paperwork and steps to follow there. Did you ever know, like while you were doing the journey of anybody else who had done surrogacy to sort of talk to a bit like a mentor or somebody to just say, hey, this is what we did. Did you have much support there? So I had conversations through the Facebook groups. I found that really valuable. Yeah, there was people that I connected with there and then we started chatting in Messenger and.
Well, I’ve had questions, I would post them on the group. So yeah, I’m not sure if anyone that is watching is, you know, you probably have already joined to your state groups and the Australian Facebook groups, but I think that was really valuable for me. I have that place that you could ask those questions to along the way, or a little, how did people do this? So how did you feel about that? Yeah, but I suppose no one in my media network that I knew that. Well, speaking of things like, how did you feel about things?
What were some of the feelings that you experienced during this journey? Were there any that caught you off guard? Yeah, definitely. And I think, you know, it’s just so unique. And I think there was just feelings that I wasn’t really expecting. And I was speaking to you about wanting to talk about those because they came up and I just wasn’t prepared for them. And it might be things that you don’t people don’t experience, but, you know, just in case. Yeah, I suppose the first one was when.
the embryo was transferred into Sarah. This even saying, I’m like, I felt a lot of shame and like I shouldn’t have been feeling that way but it was almost that feeling of, oh, why not me? Like, you know, almost a little bit of jealousy there and that was really hard. You know, I’ve just, this woman is just so selflessly giving this gift to us and she wants to grow our baby and after that transfer, that feeling came up and I remember Googling it, I’m like, oh my, like.
is this normal? And you know, I found articles where it’s like women had said, yes, it’s like, you know, I felt like I should be doing it and my body wasn’t able to. But I did find as soon as there was a positive pregnancy test and there was a baby there, it was so much bigger than that. And now I just think I’m like, healed a lot. And that part of it was hard. But it’s very raw and real when you’re in it. Like I had
Postnatal depression after my surrogacy and sort of like the reality that you’re in when you’re in that reality is so real. And those big emotions, the jealousy and the shame, they’re real feelings. You’ve got to feel them all, don’t you? Yeah. And I suppose as a woman, yeah, like, I don’t know, does it used to feel like naturally I should be able to do that. And I think because yeah, I couldn’t. So that was one feeling that came up. I suppose, I don’t know, Anna, going on, like in the pregnancy, we, Sarah and I were pretty
from the beginning and like pretty, she’s so relaxed. Like she’s gonna come on in a couple of weeks time and you’ll see she’s just pretty cruisy and we kind of were, you know, we’ve said that whatever comes up along the way, we’ll always be open in our communication and just work through things together. And we just think how this mutual respect and understanding that things might come up, but we felt so as confident in our relationship, we’d be able to work through them.
Yeah, and so I suppose the counseling was the first time. I just wasn’t expecting to feel very confronted with the counseling that you need to have, putting out scenarios like, you know, if the child, you know, if you need to terminate, like, you know, the, you know, whose decision is that, like letting us know the legalities and just, you know, what might, what might come up. So that was the first part. And then from then we kind of discussed, you know, what we’ve brought up and.
She kind of made a bit of a plan on, you know, if things were to happen, this is what we would do. So that was fine. But then during the pregnancy, it would have been, she was about, oh, maybe 30 weeks along, just went to a routine doctor’s appointment. She was doing shared care with her doctor and they noticed an irregularity in the heartbeat, which they said, you know, it might not be anything.
So me and my husband, straight away, this was like, you know, our past trauma coming up and knowing that his pregnancy is completely different, but you can’t help, but just, we were just, yeah, obviously very anxious. Yes. But Sarah has, she’s had four pregnancies and they’ve all been really straightforward. And she’s like, it’s gonna be fine, it’s gonna be fine. So we went into the hospital, they did more scans, and then they found out there was an issue with the placenta, not pumping as it should, not pumping the blood.
three as it should. And so from there, like, yeah, I was very anxious and stressed about it, but Sarah was like, it’s gonna be okay, it’s gonna be okay. And so we were very different. And in that moment, I think they wanted to do a scan, but at that time Sarah had a lot going on and she needed to go to her work and I felt really out of control there. And it was one moment where I was like, this actually isn’t my body. It’s your baby, but not your body. And you-
a different decision. And everything ended up being okay. Sure. And I think in hindsight now, like I needed her to ground me. And I think we kind of we did work through it because it was a from 30 weeks the end of the pregnancy, where then we had to go in for weekly scans and appointments, just to keep checking. And I think for her, she was always like, Oh, we have to go in again. And and I was like, I just want to make sure that you know, there’s going to be like,
But that was my, I know that was my past trauma coming up into this experience. But we, I think we balance each other out. But I just found that really hard and something that I wasn’t prepared for. That’s really valuable to hear. Can I ask then, yes, we threw it and you worked through it, but was there time when you had to have this, like a hard conversation and go, I’m feeling this and you’re feeling this and they’re different? Or did you sort of just muddle through it and it worked out? Or did you come together and go, we feel differently? So I…
I mean, I was kind of sensitive. I didn’t want to put everything onto her. You know, I didn’t want her to be my counselor and me saying I’m feeling this way. But I did say to her, like, obviously, this is really hard for me, it’s bringing up a lot. But then she came to all the appointments and it was fine. And in the end, like, yeah, it didn’t end up being anything. So I think we just kind of kept going through it. And I was just…
Would you do anything differently looking back on that time? Or if you were giving advice to another team, like for example, some people have ongoing counseling, like with their continued surrogacy psychologist, sometimes they can help mediate those scenarios, either individually or as a team session, or sometimes if you had like, I guess somebody else going through it too, but yeah, would you do anything differently? Well, that’s a good point. Maybe some counseling, you know, having an outside person would have helped.
helped you both see it from the other’s point of view and everyone felt heard. Yeah, because, and I suppose it was one, like the actual birth as well, it was, the hospital had made a mistake and we thought we were going to be induced that afternoon, but we actually had to come back the next morning. They were just going to do a check that afternoon. And so everyone had like got organised. They said, oh, you can stay. And Sarah was, she really wanted to go into labour overnight.
You can stay, but there just won’t be as many doctors on. So that’s a risk. And we were just really annoyed that they actually put that on us because, well, Luke and I, of course, hearing that, we weren’t going to stay, but it was really hard because Sarah was prepared. She wanted to give birth that night, overnight. So that was another thing that came up that was- We got- Right at the finish line too. Yeah.
So we had, we came back the next morning and it was all beautiful. It was all fine. But yeah. It’s just one of the logistics for her to juggle with her family and kids and Yeah, yeah. So yeah, I mean, it just shows that surrogacy, we say, even when it’s smooth and you’ve got a good friendship, it’s still hard. Hard, yeah, yeah. You’ve been right up to the end there. Yeah. It’s changing on you. And you have to adjust as it’s not just Sarah making the decision or you, you and Luke making the decision. You have to do it together.
And you might think differently about it. The complex thing is this surrogacy, isn’t it? It is really complex, isn’t it? It is so complex. And I think, I remember at the beginning thinking, oh, we’ve like, we’re both so cruisy, like it’s gonna be fine, but things come up. They really, they did. And I suppose, I don’t know, there could have been a better way to work through it, but I suppose that was just our experience.
I think it’s really valuable for people to hear like scenarios like that. So then either if they’ve got their own team and they’re listening, they can go, Oh, what would we do in that scenario if we, you know, had conflict there? So I think it’s really valuable to share those experiences. So thank you. Here’s a quick fire one. What changes would you like to see for surrogacy in Australia? I would like to see it just become something that’s normal, like normalised. Like I just want to be able to talk to somebody about it.
and picked them to understand, you know? And I think that’s speaking about it more, just making it more understood. Because like you said, like there’s just, is it legal in Australia? Like that’s a really big question still. I would love for Alfie to grow up, you know, and go to school and for him to say that I was, you know, I was carried by somebody else. And for kids to be like, oh, okay, you’re like, not to, you know, have no idea. I just want it to become.
The next level I would add to that, because that’s my vision too, is that there’s somebody else in his class that was also carried by surrogate, be it here in Australia or overseas, that the question of whose tummy did you grow in is just an okay question to ask. Just like IVF is normal now, nobody questions if anybody’s like, oh, you were born from a test tube, were you? Did you bond with your child? Nobody.
would say that now and in time, that when you’re standing there at the school gates, you know, picking the boys up from school, there’s somebody else in the schoolyard that either was a surrogate or had to go through surrogacy and it just gets normalized that way. Oh, definitely. And I suppose it’s just all the, I have found the processes that, for instance, we had to do a passport for our fee and this is before the parentage order has gone through. It was just really hard because nobody knew the steps that needed to be taken.
I found that with a lot of things. It’s just like, you know, Centrelink and Medicare, and it’s just, they just don’t know. And so, and even like my maternity leave, like it was just a big process and I feel like I had to explain and explain and explain. And so one day I hope that that all becomes more seamless and that it’s a bit more of a straightforward process. Absolutely, yep.
And by doing these things and continuing to talk about it, therefore even the people on the other end, at Centrelink and Medicare, they’ll have heard of more people doing it so it’ll hopefully become more normal. Yeah, I know my husband, he’s in the Metropolitan Fire Service and when he put in his leave, he was the first, well, that they knew of, the first father that had gone through surrogacy ever with them. I mean, that’s a big call, but I feel like…
Whoever he’s going to, he said that they’d never dealt with this before. So that’s probably right. I mean, still growing, isn’t it? Really is. Yeah. Any parting advice, Ellie, any words of wisdom from things you do differently in your journey or advice just for those here tonight? I don’t know where people are in their journey, but I was at this very real and raw beginning not that long ago. And now we have a baby here. And it’s been honestly the most.
heart opening, expansive experience. It’s just been amazing in so many different ways. And I just think just wherever you are, just hold onto hope because it is so possible, so possible here in Australia. And yeah, I just wish everyone all the best. Just cheering for you. And I hope that you’ll have the ending is just around the corner as well. Thank you for joining me. If you’d like to see the photos shared in this webinar presentation, head over to our YouTube channel to watch the webinar.
you can head to surrogacyaustralia.org for more information about surrogacy. Also check out our Zoom monthly catch-up sessions, which are a great way to connect with others in the surrogacy community. Attending a Zoom is scary the first time, but there’s only ever one first time. We have all been beginners at some stage. As we say, it takes a village to raise a child, and in the case of surrogacy, it takes a village to make a child, so welcome to the village.
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