Episode 32 – Nathan and Troy – gay dads
Nathan and Troy, from Sydney, became parents to their son (Noah) in May 2023. They are actually a SASS team and came to us already self matched. Noah was carried by their surrogate Amy, who has been friends with Nathan since high school. They navigated a journey with some distance (Sydney to the Central Coast) and moved to stay closer to Amy and her family from a month before birth to 8 months post birth. Their embryos were made in Utah using an egg donor from a clinic in the US, so they have many experiences on which to draw insights.
This episode was recorded in November 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.
Welcome to Surrogacy Australia’s podcast series. I’m your host Anna McKie and my aim is to raise the level of awareness of surrogacy through these conversations. This podcast is a recording from a webinar that I host and you can find more details about those and upcoming dates on our website at surrogacyaustralia.org. The webinars are free, go for an hour and will take you through how surrogacy works in Australia. You can ask questions, typing them in anonymously if you prefer.
and you hear from a co-host who has navigated surrogacy in Australia, either a surrogate, a gay dad or a straight mum. This episode, recorded in November 2023, features Troy and Nathan. Nathan and Troy from Sydney became parents to their son Noah in May 2023. They are actually a SASS
team and came to us already self-matched. Noah was carried by their surrogate Amy, who has been friends with Nathan since high school.
They navigated a journey with some distance, Sydney, to the Central Coast and moved to stay closer to Amy and her family from a month before birth to eight months post-birth. Their embryos were made in Utah using an egg donut from a clinic in the US, so they have many experiences on which to draw insights. In this episode, we talked about the bubble post-birth that teams experience. To be generous when your surrogate asks for things because she’s not going to ask for a car.
have ongoing counseling during the pregnancy and post-birth for the IPs, as a couple and individually, as a whole team and for the surrogate too. Doing a parenting course prior to birth was very beneficial. For context, this surrogate Amy was one of the attendees on the night of the webinar, so she added in a few comments along the way and it was lovely to have her input and humor. I hope you enjoy this episode. We’ve got two co-hosts with us tonight, first time doing that, Troy and Nathan, and so we’re gonna launch through
their beautiful photos to get a bit of a snapshot of their journey. So gentlemen, take it away. Tell us who’s in this photo and what was happening. Yeah. So obviously this is very early on in our journey. Um, this was to celebrate, I guess, forming a team. So it was right at the very beginning, which is exciting. And obviously that’s Amy on the far right. Um, who’s our incredible friend and was our surrogate. And of course there’s myself and Nathan, Amy’s partner, Gareth, who was a huge amount of support, particularly to Amy and us.
through the journey and I think partners often get forgotten through these journeys. And obviously Amy’s kids, there’s Riley and Brooks. Riley being the youngest of the two. Beautiful. And we notice as we go through these photos, Amy’s kids age, the kids get older through this journey, isn’t it? Yeah, we’ll go through the photos and perhaps we’ll go back to the beginning then as to how the offer all came to be. Then obviously, well, there’s a lot of stuff that goes on in between from when you first officially become a team to getting to the point of an embryo transfer. Do you roughly remember the timeline
when that offer and the chats about surrogacy was first on the table and then how long it took to do the paperwork and things. Our journey started a few years before we got to surrogacy. We originally explored adoption and co-parenting and then I think we landed that surrogacy was the best fit for our family and so we started to do lots of research and to explore what that could look like both onshore and offshore. I think for us we joined a few social media and Facebook groups initially and we started to prepare our introduction as a family.
in an attempt to start to connect with others, but also obviously with the hope to match with a surrogate at some point. Our preference always was, if possible, onshore for both egg donor as well as surrogate because that story about how our child was conceived was really important to us and we wanted those people to be in our life moving forward. And if I go back, we prepared and put our post-ups, so to our immediate network and family.
to just kind of talk through our journey to that point in time, but also with the hope to start a conversation around surrogacy with people that didn’t know what it looked like in the country. And so at that point, it was not long after that Amy, Gareth and the kids came to the farm in Mudgee after a fun evening. And then they kindly offered to be our surrogate, which was incredible. At that point, then COVID of course interfered in many cases as it often.
with others. Essentially between the point of us sitting down and having that conversation, which was back in March 21, to the point that we did transfer, it was a longer process than expected because I think for most couples that were like me and Nathan, many start by creating embryos. First, we did things in reverse. So because…
We were so grateful for the offer from Amy and Gareth. We suddenly then thought, well, we need embryos. And so we started the journey to try and find a donor here in Australia, first of all. And after a search, we then were introduced to a clinic in Utah, which is where we went through a match program and matched with our, we matched with a number of donors, all unknown to begin with. And of course then we settled in and connected with the donor that kindly assisted us.
We created embryos overseas and they had to be transferred back to Australia. And obviously we were very fortunate. I think all of us were a bit surprised that it worked first transfer. I think the other thing that was amazing, it was an unmedicated cycle. So we didn’t have to torture Amy multiple times with lots of medications, injections.
It was obviously very exciting to know that it worked first go. Can I just ask, when you said you settled on the donor or the one that you connected with, because I know part of this story through our messages, that you… was that on paper or in person? And then what has that looked like more recently? Yeah, really, really interesting process to go through. So first of all, we were introduced to the clinic. They take a profile of us. They gave us access to a database. Utah is really interesting. It has one of the largest donor.
databases in America. So the clinic that we were introduced to had over 300 donors in their database, which is incredible. We were initially matched with around seven and then through that process, we reduced it down. There was essentially two that were the most appropriate match that were available in the timeframe that we were looking for. And it just so happened that one of those suddenly become unavailable because they go COVID. And so
So our donor, who I’ve got to say was always who we had leaned towards, very gracefully did a donation for us. Now at the other end of this process, we obviously then reached out to the fertility clinic in Utah and we’d expressed early on that we would like some sort of connection on an ongoing basis and a relationship. So we’re pleased to say that we’ve now had a Zoom meeting and we’ve now exchanged contacts with one another and we routinely exchange photos and check-ins. That’s really nice. Wonderful.
May I just expand on that or guess at something that perhaps if the order had been different and you hadn’t had a surrogacy offer on the table, you may have explored donation here in Australia more and to see what leads took you there, but because you already had an offer and you then knew about a clinic in Utah that had success, is that sort of what stepped you into doing the donation and the surrogacy parallel then? I think that was part of it for us.
We exhausted our local networking family. We had a number that graciously put their hands up and offered to be egg donors, but for one or another reason we were ruled out. One due to age, for example, others based on health reasons. Then started to go through the process of trying to match with an egg donor through Facebook groups. As well as we’ve reached out to lots of fertility clinics locally. Many of them, there is no central database of donors in New South Wales where…
Certainly at a clinic level, some have their own donor programs, but what we found quite quickly was putting your name on those, there was in some cases very long wait times. We just don’t have that in Australia yet, where clinic recruited donors are really stepping forward yet. Yeah. And for us, you know, we, we wanted to be really mindful of the timeline that the team had. And so…
you know, and the impact that would have on, for example, Amy and her family, we just wanted to make sure that we could do everything possible to, you know, make that happen in the timeline that we had available. That’s great. That’s a great summary and really helpful for people listening to hear the variety surrogate that you knew beforehand and yeah, overseas egg donation and embryo creation. Just take us back then.
Nathan, this surrogate Amy you knew beforehand, how did you know her? Yeah, we went to school together. So we met in year 11. I had, we’d sort of moved house like with my family. So it’s new school, Amy and I became fast friends. I used to almost crash tackle her almost every morning, you know, just to hug. And that, you know, that continued after school. And even like when Troy and I first met, we, you know…
Amy, Gareth, kids and myself, we had a routine where we’d see each other every kind of maybe three to four weeks and for special occasions like birthdays and things like that. And that just continued and then Troy kind of became part of the big friendship family group thing that we had already kind of created. Amy’s youngest, I’m their godfather. So we were always going to be close.
And regardless of who I saw it was going to be, Amy was always going to be Auntie Amy. But now they just have this really amazing kind of special bond, you know, that’s that little bit extra, which I love and we love. Extra special Auntie Amy. Extra special Auntie Amy. That’s right. That’s right. And then we’ve jumped ahead here to birthday. Tell us about this day in your lives. He came out screaming. And he hasn’t stopped. He hasn’t stopped. That’s kind of true. It’s kind of true.
Yeah, so, you know, we had a planned C-section for when it happened, which was all exciting. We were able to do a bunch of planning before then. It was a very interesting feeling to be able to meet with the hospital beforehand and they, we were lucky that they had had a surrogacy group go through before us, maybe about three, four months, something like that. So they just kind of got it.
They were like, okay, so we’re gonna put you in the biggest theater so all of you can be in the room and we’re gonna make, you know, Amy will be, she’ll be in this room after, and for the five days we were in there and you’ll be in the room next to her. So they kind of just got it. And I think that that would probably be a bit of advice for everyone, which is as you go through this journey and speaking with your surrogate, understand what everyone wants and needs from that. Not just the birthday, but the hospital stay if there is one. And then.
have meetings with the hospital and find out what their policies are and things like that beforehand because that stuff is really important if there are non-negotiables which, which, you know, for us, we’ve always been a kind of flexible team in that respect. We always said to the hospital, okay, well…
we’ll do whatever we have to, but this is what we want. And we were just lucky that they were able to accommodate everything. The day came and, and, you know, we all go into the hospital and it’s all fun and games and jokes, and then he comes out and everyone’s in tears and, uh, you know, all the mushiness happens and stuff like that. And, uh, and, and we were in the hospital for, like I said, the five days, we just had this little bubble and it was, you know, Gareth did have to come and go to take care of the kids, but every time he was there, it was a bubble of five.
And when he was, and it was a bubble of four, which was really nice. You know, we were also lucky that after we left the hospital, um, you know, we had moved up to be close to Amy. So we all got to sort of, you know, be very close to each other. And again, live in this little bubble of just the, the, the two families that have kind of just become one. That’s really what it is. Right. So it’s all, all been nice and beautiful and we’re all even closer than we were before, which is nice. Absolutely.
Yeah. I think this photo here of all the gentlemen in their scrubs, the humor that is in your team, I would imagine. That was fun. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I don’t even know why we decided to pose like that, but we all matched. Yeah, yeah. We all matched. We matched. Normally me and Gareth seemed to coordinate our clothing, but on this occasion, all three of us matched. Yes. Yeah. So we did the thing. It was great. Amy took that photo actually, which was fun. And then we just tried to capture all the moments, but kind of before.
You know, as we went in and then obviously after, if any of you would ever see, you know, our social media, it’s just babies everywhere. Baby one. It’s a big part of your life, hasn’t it? Absolutely. Yeah. I know you did some newborn photo shoots with Amy and her family and here with your fluffy. Yes. Our first child. So this is our first child. Yes. She’s currently asleep on the floor because it’s past her bedtime. Yes. She’s been very involved.
which is really lovely. There’s this incredible bond that has now appeared probably sooner than what we expected, to be honest, between her and Noah, which is like so cool to watch. And is Noah becoming more aware of her, do you mean? Oh, absolutely. Very much so. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. The photographer that took these photos, and there are a few more of them on subsequent slides, Maggie Smith.
She’s based on the central coast and Amy actually put us onto her because she uses her for her family photos as well. She was able to capture these moments and these little cute little outfits and stuff like that. But, you know, I look at all the time. So it was just a fun day. And again, we were lucky enough to it wasn’t only sort of Amy, her husband and kids and us and Noah. We brought our mothers as well to this shoot. So it was kind of like capturing the new grandmothers.
in the shoot as well, which is very beautiful. And then obviously we got a bunch with Amy Gareth kids. Yeah, exactly like that one, which is, this is the bubble that I was talking about that after we went home, this is it. And even at that time, because that was, I think it was 15 days after or something like that after we got home. I know exactly what you mean about that bubble. Yeah, oh my God. And it was for us, yeah, it was a week they had an Airbnb near us.
It was almost so that week or that, you know, week or two of that bubble was almost the highlight of the whole journey. Spending that time together really quite intimately, seeing each other all the time is something we never often do with other people in life. And normal we probably do again, unless, you know, you did it twice. So it’s a really special thing. And may I just say from a surrogate’s point of view, to include your surrogate, not just your surrogate, but her family in these post-birth photos, that’s really special because that doesn’t happen.
everybody and I think there’s some really special moments to look back on that it just shows that everybody came together it’s not just about Noah being here it’s about the village that came together to create him. Yeah yeah absolutely and and I think I described a lot of our journey in the term of terms of luck you know we are lucky that
You know, the central coast isn’t next to Sydney, but it wasn’t so far. Um, like a lot of IPs have, we were lucky that we were, we had the ability to move closer so that we could, we could all spend this time together and we’re lucky that, you know, both Troy and I were able to take so much time off work. So Troy’s taken a year and I took, I took six months kind of all at the same time. I actually just went back to work, you know, two and a half weeks ago, which is exactly, exactly when Noah started his, his leap, so he’s sorry, his sleep regression, so it’s been fun.
So have you rented a property up there for all of that time? We have. So we moved out of where we were in Sydney and we’ve moved up here and then we’ll go back early next year. And for people listening, I must say that is unusual. It’s amazing and wonderful. And if people have the capacity to do that, it really is worth it for everybody involved. Just that transition out of the project. So if you have that ability to work from home or from distance.
it’s really something to consider. If you can’t do a local journey near each other, so that’s lovely. Yeah, spend a chunk of time. The other thing that I think I would suggest for IPs is, and I think this is for a number of reasons, is I get that not all journeys are the same and that not everyone is able to be as close as we were, but if you can go to as many appointments as…
scans and just all of those things that you would normally do if it was just you and your partner doing, then 100% do it. And again, I get not everyone can. Those moments were not just special for us, you know, seeing Noah grow, but also spending time with Amy in the waiting room. We’d chat, we’d joke, we’d connect and get even closer. And they’re just special moments that I think about all the time when they were, you know, they weren’t nothing but they were just quick little appointments. I agree.
Absolutely. And you get all of those little bits of information from the midwives when you catch up with them. And as my team, we made a deal at the beginning that at least one IP would be at every appointment, even if it was a five minute blood test, they came so that they could experience the full inconvenience, pregnancy often. But again, it was just to catch up and chat, even if it was just about life, but all of those little updates along the way. So well done. That’s a big commitment to do. Yeah. Yeah. But we’re glad to have done it, to be honest. Yeah.
we were doing a Katrina Hale session and we were like, we’re like, we’re at the table anyway, everyone just jump in. So we did that. Other than the session, we spent so much time together just as a group afterwards. So we just decided to capture some of these moments, which I don’t think we do enough of, because I always forget. I just get caught up in like chatting usually. One of my favorite photos I think of Noah is that one on the.
on the right because you can see his little teeth. He’s not so little anymore. He was never little to begin with. So he was born at 4.135 kilos, but he’s 9.2 at the moment. He’s definitely thriving and he’s still got his chipmunk cheeks. He does. And then life goes on. There’s some beautiful photos there that we’ve shared.
Thank you. And it’s a bit of a snapshot really, isn’t it? To try and summarize your whole journey there. We could do a whole like three hour session just on the journey. We could. I’m just going to answer the first question that has come through saying from Anonymous, is the age of intended parents an issue? Surrogates thinking an IP is too young. Interesting. Don’t often have that question. So the age for surrogates, you need to be at least 25 to be.
pregnant and I do know of a surrogate that investigated it at 23 and had to wait till she was 25 to have embryo transfers. In some ways she was looking more for younger I.P.s if that makes sense. So sometimes we gravitate more towards people who might be of a similar age and might want to do that for some but there’s an age range. People carry for each other for all different reasons. Were you going to add something in there Troy? Yeah I was just going to ask is there an upper age limit because I’ve had a few conversations
have met a few that are slightly older. So I was the older of us. And I’ve been surprised that I was always concerned that maybe I was a little too old at one point. How old are you now Troy? I’m 47. I guess the average age, like those that join SASS, for example, is probably 32 to 50, 52. And so it is more people, I guess if you think about this, surrogacy is a middle-class upper.
thing to do financially. And so a lot of those people are established in their careers. So if they’re the two guys, they’ve established themselves first in their careers, or if they’re the hetero couples, they’ve been through a long journey, like their own IVF journey, probably for 10 years before they get to surrogacy. So yeah, it is quite common to be mid thirties up. In terms of legal limits, there’s no legal law. IVF clinics, I believe at least one IP needs to be, like this is their internal rules, like.
53 or less, and it’s often a similar thing for surrogates. I know of one surrogate, and I say this in my surrogate webinar, I think she was 54 when she birthed. That was a lady in Tasmania who birthed her daughter’s child. So she was the grandma, and her daughter was born without a uterus. So it’s often those women that carry. So yeah, there’s an interesting question. I think IPs are often older than the surrogates. My IPs were younger than me, but just the way it rolls. And I’ve now met a number of IPs that are well in their 50s. It was my own internal, I think.
challenge whereas the more I got to know people I realised that there was actually many more out there that were the same age or much older. And Nathan how old are you? 35. Oh look at the gap! I was going to cut a lot like this bit where I did a housekeeping I’m just going to cut out a podcast part because people can’t see us.
I might not make the cut. In the YouTube version, I don’t cut anything, so that’ll be there. So. Let’s go back to more of your journey then. Cody’s asked the question, we’ll start with that one. What were the challenges, if any, I’m sure they were, along your journey that you had? You know, we were doing our egg and embryo stuff with Utah during COVID. They lost.
our first round of samples. With the whole process with overseas, the FDA requires you to send bloods over and then for us, the sperm goes over within five days after. They lost the blood sample. That was FedEx. Yeah, FedEx. They lost the blood sample, which meant that we had to go back to the clinic to re-donate, to do the whole thing. We had to do bloods and then sperm and then have it for ship. That was one. I think, Katrina Hell will always say this as well.
Every team goes through some sort of crisis and we were getting to the end and we were like, we all got along so well but that goes towards our relationship, all together including obviously Amy and family. And then it was maybe three weeks before and I got COVID. Roy relegated me to the front room, I was barely allowed to leave except to pee. And he stayed with a mask. Fed me under the door. Fed me under the door. Wore a mask. Wore a mask all day. Glen 20’d everything. So that was like a…
a time relevant challenge that we had. In terms of us with Amy, I don’t think there really was anything. And I think that, you know, regardless of the fact that we knew each other for so long, I think that kind of speaks to the fact that the relationship is so important before you start your transfers and you do your stuff. I imagine it would be harder to…
meet someone for the purposes of surrogacy and then jump in very quickly. I don’t know, different people work different ways. So I think investing that time is extremely important and talking about everything, everything down to before we went into it, we were like, yeah, yeah, of course, we’re gonna get you clothes as you get bigger and we’re gonna get you interim clothes after the baby comes because you’re gonna kind of be in between sizes. And because we had that good relationship, Amy.
was also comfortable to say, oh, I mean, I’ve never heard of a surrogate who is going to ask for something that she doesn’t need. Genuinely, if you’re surrogate, ask for something, like these are altruistic people, right? They’re not comfortable asking for things. So if anything, they’ll ask for not enough. Yeah, absolutely. Like, if Amy could message you all the amount of times I was like, go get more clothes, I’d just go over and cook like three weeks worth of meals just for one week.
You know, she’s doing this amazing thing for you. Generally speaking, surrogates have trouble asking for things. And so when they do just say yes, yeah, have the conversation about it. She’s not going to ask for a car. She’s not going to ask you to invest in her cryptocurrency, right? It’s all practical stuff. Obviously you had an established friendship and then Amy and Gareth and family offered. Do you remember roughly how long you took as a team to discuss all of those things about what that journey might look like? Was it a few weeks or a few months?
the night that Amy and Gareth was one that will always be remembered. And so we had to get up the next morning and make sure that she remembered the conversation. All I’m going to say is we were in Mudgee and Mudgee is known for its wine. That’s what was. Between that point until I think we all went off to gather more information. That’s when we joined SASS, you know, so there was a, you know, we started to prepare for what that process looked like.
and then we turned our attention to obviously trying to find an egg donor. But in terms of timeline, you know, March 2021 was when Amy Gareth offered. We did the transfer in September 2022. And even though we had like we had we’d had conversations at the start and we done did the legals almost as quickly as possible and stuff like that.
We were having conversations the entire time. Even we would repeat conversation. We would say, you know, this is what the hospital is going to look like. And we had many of these, they were completely unofficial meetings because we were going to visit anyway, or we’d be on the, like we’d meet virtually anyway. Like we’d go on, on, on, you know, messenger and stuff. It was that entire time. I would say take as much time as you can to do your planning and have your conversation. Yeah. The longer the better, but obviously, you know, you also want to get the process started as kind of as soon as possible after you have everything set up so that
a big thing is your surrogate and her family getting back to their normal lives even though you’re then a part of that because it’s an amazing thing obviously and everyone benefits but it is disruptive especially when they have kids you know it’s disruptive to their lives and their routines and stuff like that. Finding that balance. Yeah yeah yeah so yeah it was like a year and a half I guess is the short answer.
Another question asks, what was your best memory from the journey, perhaps other than the birth? Something that your team did really well, perhaps that you’re proud of? I think night of offer. Memorable. Transfer day, of course. I think one of the things that always I think about quite fondly is Amy had said quite early on that she was going to tests.
those kind of days immediately post transfer. The ones that they say not to do, but that’s okay. And wanted to know whether or not we wanted to know the result of those. So I think we got to, how many days was it? We got to transfer day three. Four, I think we got to four. Yeah, and then we had the conversation. For us, she held up two sticks and it was like it worked.
I think we were quite shocked. The other thing that was quite interesting for us was because we created embryos overseas, we were able to know first of all, the number of embryos that we had and the genders of those embryos. And they gave us embryo identification numbers. Now, when that information came back to Australia because you can’t do sexual selection in Australia, they just provided our fertility clinic with just the number of embryos and the embryo.
identification number. And so suddenly we had the original piece of paper and so we were like, do we want to know this early? Yeah, yeah, yeah. We all agreed. Um, and we’re obviously quite shocked to first of all know that it worked first time and second that it was a boy because it was heavily skewed to not being a boy. The only boy in the back of the hand. Yeah. Added quite a few embryos. And so obviously he wanted to come through. He was the winner. The winner. That’s right. I’ll ask a cheeky question. Would you do it again?
We’re one and done. He’s beautiful. He’s changed our lives completely. My IPs were the same. Yeah. Because we went into the process at the very start, but when we first started doing it, we were like, we can do two. We’ll do two. Totally, we’re going to have two. And then we created the embryos. So each of us kind of did all the stuff. Yeah, Amy just said, I’m also one and done. Yeah, absolutely. I think that was one of the first things that you said to us as well, Amy.
which was totally fine. We created the embryo so that we had the opportunity to have more, and then he came and then the first eight weeks happened and then we decided never again. I’m happy to elaborate on that, but I don’t want to scare anybody. I guess for the benefit of everyone here, we transferred all of our embryos back from Utah.
to our fertility clinic here in New South Wales and they’re stored here in New South Wales. But again we had to go through that FTA process to be able to buy to send samples out of Australia and then receive them back again. So it was an interesting process. And then actually another hurdle was for one night they we didn’t know where the transport duo was. Yeah because it had supposedly arrived in Sydney but didn’t make it onto the truck that was supposed to take it up to Newcastle fertility so we didn’t know where it was. It was sitting at the airport.
for the night. Eventually we found that out. So hopefully still frozen. Yes. Yes. Yes. They can survive for like what? 14 days or something. Yeah. So there’s lots of companies that will ship embryos and eggs. Some interesting facts. Originally we went looking for eggs overseas and we were going to freeze those and ship them back. And the advice that we received was that embryos freeze and thaw and transfer much better than eggs do, which is why we, we elected to create.
embryos overseas fresh so and then freeze those and then ship those back to our fertility clinic in Australia. That’s really helpful to know cool. I’m going to ask you my SASS question so as I’ve mentioned before to people that they they’re a SASS team you initially joined SASS to find a surrogate then your friend Amy offered but you decided to stay on as a SASS team for stage two why did you decide to do that? I think for us it was about the process looked from the beginning very complicated and
there was a lot of different options and processes and steps. And so first of all, connecting with SASS was useful because it gave us access to resources, webinars, and seminars in the early stages where we could get to see other IPs and other teams. So it gave us kind of a vision of what it could be. Then there was useful templating, like budgets, budget templating so that we could, you know, we had an idea, but having never been pregnant before, there’s a lot of things that need to go into supporting.
you know, as Sara gets so we wanted to make sure that we were thorough. The big benefit for us was the counseling piece. We did not only what was required, but I think we did far beyond that. And I think for us, it was another way for us as a team to get to know each other on a different on a different level, or a different layer. So I think the counseling was really, really beneficial. And the SASS mentor as well. Yeah, we connected with our with our mentor.
we met for coffee one day and then you know, friended on socials and we still kind of chat every once in a while, which is nice. Chatting to others who have done what you want to do and made it real. Yeah, absolutely. And it just makes it makes a lot less daunting as well. And that goes for both the mentor, having other people and SASS, having the resources and even just being able to tap in to your knowledge, Anna, really helped us understand what was next and what to do.
Yes, because we’ve kept in touch, you know, through messages over the years and just having those sharing little updates, but also quick little questions along the way. And also, I know, I don’t know how much you know, but how much I keep in touch with Amy. Yeah, right. Yep. Yep. Yep. I’ve mentioned a few times when you chat, which is nice. Yeah, we’ve developed a friendship too, but just knowing you’ve got somebody else to ask those questions to as a fellow surrogate, but also, hey, how would other teams go about such and such?
So there’s that subtle support for everybody behind the scenes there. Absolutely. Yeah, everyone’s journey is so different, right? So what we saw a lot of was IPs that were searching for a surrogate, and many of them had created embryos and had those frozen. So they were at a stage where should they match with someone and they had a specific timeline they could meet that timeline. Whereas our journey was different, it was reversed. And we were seeing more people in our immediate group.
going overseas than staying on shore for surrogates. So some had created embryos here and we’re trying to ship them overseas. Others created embryos overseas and used overseas surrogates. Some in the States, some in Columbia. Like there was such a diversity in what teams look like. Yeah, yeah, that’s great. And as I see in the chats from Cody there, and then you’ve helped pay it forward and then you help other IPs who are at their beginning because others helped you when you were at the beginning. And it’s just lovely.
connection there. Are there other things that you’d like to summarise from your journey, advice to give to people as we come towards the end here? I think what you always say, which is that it’s a marathon and not a sprint is so true. You know, if you’re doing this as a couple, just be cognisant of the fact that there’s always going to be one person that does more of the
organizing and sending the emails and stuff like that. And then, you know, the other person is in the supporting role. And that can actually take quite a toll on your mental health. I remember I had a couple of sessions myself with Katrina, because I’m like, oh my gosh, there’s just so much and, and everything just spirals around in your head. And then you’ve got the, you’ve got all of the stuff you’re trying to plan, but also all of the emotions and the thoughts that are coming that, oh my God, there’s a baby coming. And then also.
We’re trying to support our surrogate as much as possible, who in our case is amazing. So I feel like we had it easy. Be as kind to yourself as possible. 100% use the counseling. Do more than you need to do individual sessions, couple, group, because it all helps. You know, I had, I had maybe two or three sessions with Katrina and, and I got so many tools just to manage everything that was kind of going on up here.
stuff to do. And to clarify, this is counseling we’re talking that’s not official mandatory, you have to have. This is once pregnant as a team, this is you guys encouraging to have that ongoing counseling and I’m pretty sure IPs and sororities that agree. You never walk away from a counseling session going, oh wish I hadn’t had that. So wait off to just you know feel heard that yes what you’re going through is hard, it’s complex or some tips and tricks for how to help manage the upcoming steps. I think sorrow dating is really important.
can’t emphasize that enough. And if you don’t know someone, you know, that investment pays dividends at the other end in spades, right? So, sorry dating is really important. Do what you say you’re going to do. And if you can’t, then communicate. There’s going to be tough conversations. Utilize counseling. Probably have more than what you need.
I would say. And just be kind because at various points, you know, different team members will go through different challenges. The other end, you know, we’ve seen a couple of journeys not go well. And I would just say devastating when that happens. And it’s tricky because how do any of us know if we’re going to be that journey and how to avoid that? But I think some of those takeaways I’m taking here are sorry dating in the beginning, taking your time.
few months to talk through things. And I like what you said, Nathan, earlier, repeat some of those conversations. You’ve talked about them once, doesn’t mean you can’t come back to them because people’s minds might change. And ongoing counselling for all team members in all combinations. Even having it booked in. The pre-birth and the post-birth plans were really important and we spoke through them many times. Yeah, that helped us. Yeah, that helped us a lot. Just to keep our thoughts all together and on track.
You know, it’s it’s it was like a set of notes that we all kept which was you know This is what we spoke about this topic and that topic in that topic. I think we even got the templates from you I’m sure we did. Yeah, I’m sure we so yeah And it just helps that even even though you’re repeating those conversations you can still refer back that stuff at any time Yeah And I found for my team some of my thoughts on direct breastfeeding Changed as I got closer to birth and I wanted to do more than we’d initially planned But because we had that ability to come back and revisit those conversations
And sometimes midwives were there, it was okay for me to bring that up and people change, you know, to get closer to birth. And having a baby with like four adults is complicated. Having a baby with two adults is complicated. So even if you’ve got an established friendship there, you’ve never done this together before. Yeah. And so it’s complicated. Absolutely. Yeah. One other word of advice, something that we did before Noah arrived, is we went off to a parenting course. It was called Parenting for Life.
Yeah, the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney. Yeah, you told me about that, I remember. I think that it’s incredible. The first part of that course was really focused on how we’re going to work as a couple and as a team with a new child. So it was very much about making sure that you support one another and I think it was really, really valuable. The course was very good. Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think it’s a credit to you all. You had this beautiful friendship that came together and…
added Troy into the mix and then decided to grow life and brought little Noah into this world. I’m proud of you, if I’m allowed to be proud of you. Oh, I think you’re a shining example of surrogacy done well here in Australia. So well done everyone. Thank you. And thanks Amy. Thanks Amy. Yes. Surrogate extraordinaire. Absolutely. Wonderful. Thank you for sharing your time with me for this episode. If you’re finding these episodes helpful, please share them with friends.
If you’d like to see the images mentioned, head to our YouTube channel for all of the recordings. If you’re looking for more individualised support, consider joining SASS, Surrogacy Australia’s support service, so you can be connected with a mentor and also with me to help guide you on a journey. You might think of me as your Siri for surrogacy. Until next time, welcome to the village.
Looking to find a surrogate in Australia? Consider joining SASS.
Looking for an overview of surrogacy? Join us in a free, fortnightly Wednesday night webinar.
Looking to chat with other IPs and surrogates in a casual setting? Join us for a monthly Zoom catch up, one Friday of each month.