Episode 46 – Angela – surrogate

Angela birthed as a surrogate in Tamworth in December 2019 for a couple who were friends of a friend and they connected through a facebook post. The parents, Casey and Andrew, live nearby with their first son Nate and surro bub Darcy. She is a single mum to four children of her own.

This episode was recorded in February 2024.


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). 

Follow Surrogacy Australia on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube

Are you an Intended Parent (IP) who is looking to find a surrogate, or a surrogate looking for Intended Parents? Consider joining SASS.


Welcome to our podcast 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 February 2024, features Angela. Angela birthed as a surrogate in Tamworth in December 2019 for a couple who were friends of a friend and they connected through a Facebook post. The parents, Casey and Andrew, live nearby with their first son Nate and surrogate Bub Darcy. She is a single mum to four children of her own.

We talked about how Angela felt called to be a surrogate and just knew it was something she could do after reading that Facebook post. When talking about the birth, you can hear Angela’s pride and emotion reliving that day. This episode is valuable because they’re four years post-birth. So we had a discussion about what their friendship looks like now and how Darcy understands his story and can explain it himself. On a personal note, I was particularly looking forward to this session because three years ago, when I started the free webinar series, April, 2021,

I asked a few surrogates if they would share some of their birth photos with me to present in the webinars that I run each fortnight. In the webinars, when I get to the section talking about what to expect for a surrogate birth, both for the IPs, intended parents, and the surrogate webinars, I share images because I believe they’re so powerful and it allows people to imagine what that could be like for them in the future.

So Angela’s photo is the first in that set, so I’m describing her birth fortnightly. It was such a joyful moment for me to have Angela on so she could see and hear how her story has been inspiring hundreds of people for the last three years. I hope you enjoy this episode.

Thank you Angela for joining us tonight. We’re gonna work our way through the lovely photos that you’ve shared with us to summarize your surrogacy journey. So who have we got here in this photo? Yeah, so in that one is obviously myself, my four children, and then we’ve got Casey, Andrew, and their firstborn Nate there as well. Lovely. And obviously your children have grown up over the years. This was, I guess, as you were all getting to know each other, some of the catch-ups that were involved. Yes, yes. So this one was right at the very beginning. I believe this was right after they had the,

collection and the successful embryo. Yeah. Right. So they didn’t need a leg collection IVF to have their first son, is that correct? No, that’s right. Yeah. And so then you found your IPs through a Facebook post essentially, sort of a friend of a friend, is that how it all started? Yes, yes. So what happened was Casey had made a post on Facebook explaining what had happened and you know she couldn’t no longer have children. Yeah, I came across it because it had been shared, I think it had been shared about 250 times or something. So

all over Australia. I think she said she had about 50 inboxes or something. A lot of people were interested. I read the post from a friend and I can’t explain it other than I just knew it was what I had to do. So I got in contact with them and then we met up and yeah.

fantastic since the first night. Wonderful. Yeah. How many questions I could ask. Out of the 850 inboxes, were any, was they sometimes just support or were there other offers that were sort of offers but weren’t genuine? Yeah, there was, yeah, there were some offers. A lot of people asking how much they’d get paid to do it. I’m just naive. I can’t believe that actually happens. Yes, yes. And there was support and all of that as well. You know, people were offering but just

feeling when they read my message as well. Yeah, when we met they just went.

We love you and I’m like, I love you guys. So yeah, it was, it was a very easy meeting. And you’re fairly close to each other in distance. What’s the travel time? So we’re only about 15 minutes. Yeah. From one side of town to the other. Yeah. And in the same town. So as you said, if they got messages from across Australia, it could have been anywhere, but ended up local. Yes. Yeah. And so then you sort of, did you go into dating phase? So you met them in person. That was a bit nervous and exciting meeting in person for the first time. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So I think, I think our dating was around seven.

seven months I think before we had our you know first and only IVF so yeah. That’s great so you’re spending the couple of months chatting not only getting to know each other as friends but chatting about

what do we want this journey to look like, those sorts of conversations. Do you remember how you did it? Did you sort of have date nights where you’d sit down with a list of questions and all that sort of thing? Yeah, we did that. We definitely used the Facebook page where they had, there was a list of questions and stuff on there. So we had those questions, we went through, we answered them all, we were on the same page with everything. Yeah, we talked about the birth, absolutely everything. How it would be for my children, how it would be throughout the whole process. And yeah, it was, yeah.

through the photos because as you said you know you then you chat and then I’m guessing you did the I’ve the legals and the counseling and then that took you to doing IVF which I’m guessing you didn’t need have your own kids? No I didn’t no no I’m all natural yeah. And so for the people that are not familiar with IVF, there’s one photo here if you like, your legs in the air can you tell us about that?

That was about an hour after we had had the embryo put in and we’d got back. Yeah, they said, oh, you better sit down or lie down. And as a joke, I stuck my legs in the air and said, just so it won’t fall out. That photo was snapped. I’m sensing there was quite a bit of humor and joy in your team. Is that a fairly common thing? Yeah.

in your journey? Absolutely, yeah. Full of laughs, full of fun the whole time. Yeah. That’s a good way to be because it can be a joyful thing having a baby with multiple adults involved, can’t it? Yeah. And so then this is the pregnancy list, people have many times.

Yes, I think I did my first one, I think it was about day four and it showed up and it was funny because even on the trip home the day after we had the embryo inserted, I said to them on the trip home, I said, I’m pregnant. And they’re like, what? And I went, I’m telling you it’s worked. And they’re like, get out of here. I was like, nah, it has. And yeah, I don’t know, I just knew. And then yeah, so that was the four sticks on four days before they did the blood tests. And so obviously I knew and then I went out there for their phone call.

call to say that it was definitely a pregnancy positive. That’s when I handed over the sticks and they were very excited. And that’s you holding their first son, Nate? Yes, little Nate. Yes. Do you remember how old he was or therefore what the age was? Yeah, he was about two and a half. Yes, lovely. So a toddler himself. And then we moved through the photos and you did some maternity photos? We did, which was absolutely beautiful. So I think that was only, I think that was about

14th of December and I had him on New Year’s Eve. So this is only a few or a couple of weeks before. So we had also my kids were there so we did get a whole heap of photos. So it was.

myself and my children, my kids, and then all of us as a whole group. And then so it was, it was lovely. A really good keepsake. Definitely. And for their, their first son there to, you know, see his brother growing in your tummy, that’s a pretty good one too. Yeah, definitely. Did you guys know you were having a boy? Uh, I did. Only because, um, I did have a little bit of waters had given away at about 26 weeks, the doctor accidentally said, oh, it’s clearly a boy. And I went, oh no.

So I had to keep that a secret the whole time which was very difficult. Okay yeah so it’s not like you wanted to know and they didn’t. Yeah yeah and she did she did say to me you know what it is don’t you and I’m like yes. She worked out that you knew. Yeah yes so but it was a surprise for them still at the end which was lovely. Good stuff and then that leads us to the day of birth so yes talking before how it was a few weeks early and

But what was the day of birthing like for you? Because I’d had some health problems, so I had low platelets and I had some heart troubles. They decided that I was at a point four weeks before that they needed to induce me for my own health and the safety of myself. We got that message at about three o’clock in the afternoon. We had enough time to race home, grab some clothes, and then we had to go back up to the hospital. And then they put the tape in, and then it was not long after that that I started contracting. And then it just, it worked too good on me.

had to end up, I was in a lot of pain. So then they had to take the tape out. I think it was about midnight, they contractions all stopped. So then they said, look, go back to bed, go back to your rooms, we’ll see you tomorrow, we’ll introduce you tomorrow. So then they came and saw me in the morning, they said, oh look.

it’s probably not going to be today because we’ve had somebody else coming in an emergency. So we were just like a little bit bummed and we’re just ready for it. And then they came in about half an hour later and they went, no, sorry, change of plans. We’re taking you now. It was a very long day. They said mainly because it was that four weeks early. So it did take quite a while to get me into the active labor. But once I got into the active labor, it was about an hour. So yeah, they said it probably would have been very quick if it had have been normal.

natural going into labour. What do you remember what to do? Oh yes, it was textbook. It was so much fun. It was, we were laughing in between contractions. It was constant jokes. I did a medication free labour as I had with my previous four pregnancies or labours. Yeah, it was absolutely fantastic to have them and be able to talk to them with that as well. Yeah, as it was getting to the pushing stage, that’s when Casey sat up with me

That’s when Andrew had come up as well. As I was getting ready to push, I said to Casey, I said, Oh, you need to go down and watch, you know, watch the baby come out. And she said, no way in hell said I’m staying here with you. And it was absolutely beautiful. Your support made me a little bit teary now. Yeah, so it was the support from them both was absolutely amazing. Then baby came out in one and a half pushes.

And yep, they put him straight up onto me. Then I think the doctor came over after probably about 10 minutes. They, oh no, it was about five minutes actually. Then they checked him all over, took him away. Then they brought him back over to me. And it was at that point where I just felt it was time for mom and dad to have a hold. And I just said, oh, would you like to hold the baby? And they would, of course, decide themselves. And that’s when I got to pass over little Darcy

and yeah, sat there on the bed in Aurum watching, you know, the amazing thing of them getting to know Bub and spending that time with them. And I sat on the bed having a laugh and drawing out some colostrum and whatnot for Bub as well at the same time. And yeah, it was absolutely wonderful. That’s fantastic. There are so many wonderful things I would love to comment on. But you know, I guess for some people at the beginning of their journey, seeing and hearing what birth can look like and how hands-on the IPs are in your journey might seem like, wow, you’re going to

get that close to people, but you do. And then, and hearing the support that Casey gave you. And I love even four years post-birth, hearing the emotion, you know, in your voice when you talk about that day and the team that you had become, it’s a beautiful, joyful way. And I’m sure everybody else in the room too, is a rare thing for them to witness a surrogacy birth. And then I can understand exactly what you mean that watching your IP, so now parents again, meet their child, hold their child, that the vision that we go for is surrogates, isn’t it? It’s the baby over there in their arms.

here in our arms. And so then you could sit back and watch your vision, watch what you had set out to achieve. It was done. Yeah definitely. I’m pleased that the birth went well, you know, despite some of the health complications leading up to birth there. And as you say, you know, having laughs on the day too because in between contractions it’s not as the pain.

Good work. And life goes on. So then some classic question is often, you know, how did the hospital work? Did you stay, I mean, separate rooms for a night or something like that? Yeah, so we both had a private room each and then we would hop in and see each other. And I was expressing, so I had the machine and I was expressing every two to three hours. Yeah, so I did that for, I think it was about a month, which gave them three and a half months of supply of

you. Yes, yeah. A great start to life Darcy had. Yeah, great start. So yeah and I think Nate was in the special care for I think about two or three days as well just with a few little complications with him at the start a bit of jaundice and stuff but yeah he was come come yeah come good and um yeah then we got to go home. Beautiful and then life goes on so then the photos that we’ve got here are do the uh photos of you know the mum and dad Casey and Andrew holding him what do you see when you see see these photos I mean I find it interesting because you

chose to send me the set of photos that you chose to send me and so each of them must mean something to you I’d imagine. Absolutely just seeing them with their baby and just Nate with his doll and you know feeding his little doll as well and yeah that’s what it’s about that’s yeah I can’t even explain it but at no point do you think that you’re going to have the emotions that you do it’s yeah it’s good. And as a fellow surrogate it’s something only once you’ve been through it

finding it hard to find the words. Yes, that’s love. Yes and and not only did you make a mum and dad you made a brother. Yes. So you helped him become a big brother and so that’s an extra special thing. So again this is a great example for IPs and surrogates that surrogates sometimes carry for IPs who already have one child and and so that clearly didn’t matter to you way back at the beginning did it that they already had one child you didn’t say oh if I’m only going to be a surrogate once I’m only doing it for people who have no children that didn’t enter into it for you? Not at all. Not at all. And in some ways you already got a chance to see them being parents

parents that they would be. That’s right. I find that helpful too. Definitely. And then he starts to grow up doesn’t he? Yes he does. Way too quick. Yeah. And then photos here of um first birthday and other family things that they get up to. And so as a family you were at the first birthday I’m assuming? I was yes. Yes and we were talking about that before about how sometimes things might ease off as time goes by. They do. But then this photo here so…

I was asking Angela for some photos to share on social media. She happened to be dropping around to them to borrow clothes, I think you said. Yes.

And so she took some photos just last week. And so is this with Darcy on your lap and then pretending baby again? Yes, he was pretending to be a baby. And like they’re very open and honest with him. They have told him from the start that, you know, mommy’s tummy was broken and you grew in Ang’s tummy. And you know, there’s been no, no, no, you know, I wanted to be in your tummy, mommy. But then the other day he’s like, oh, I wanted to be in your tummy, Ang, you know? And it was just, yeah, he knows the whole story behind it all. And, and, you know, which,

lovely. Nate had a little bit of a laugh and said, oh can’t you take him home he’s too naughty. I was like no I don’t think he’ll fit back in me I’m sorry. I’m not putting him back but I had a child so I could give it away not keep it. Yeah it’s lovely. Are you Auntie Ange or just Ange to the family? Um Auntie Ange, Ange, yeah either one. Yeah. And so that’s something I look forward to when you know the surrogate baby can use language in their own way to explain their story. I think

therefore been telling the story regularly over time there. Yes, absolutely. And they show them the photos and yeah, even when I was there, many times, showing them different photos throughout the whole sorrow journey. They also made me a beautiful book, which I’ve shared many times with many different people right from the start through to the labor, which is amazing. Beautiful. I think I’ll continue on with another question then. When I said, you went around to their house and you did happen to borrow clothes, but how often in reality

seeing each other? It did start out in the beginning frequently I guess. What’s frequently? And then it was probably once a week for the first, yeah the first sort of month or two I guess and then it just sort of we just slowly you know you’d be there for important sort of things right up until I guess the first birthday and you know they’d made the post and stuff on Facebook and including me and that and that’s when I had said to them, I said look you don’t have to include me anymore. I said I didn’t do this for recognition from anyone but you guys you know like

like seeing you guys as a family is why I did it. I didn’t want them to keep putting it out there, which I think is still a lovely thing that they did want to do that. But to me, that’s not why I did it. So I said to them, you know, like live as a normal family as though you birthed this baby. But yeah, I didn’t do it for recognition though. So you did it to see them expand their family. Absolutely, it was all about them and giving them the gift of life, which throughout the pregnancy and afterwards, it’s always been the tree of life.

my tattoo of the tree of life, which I did get on the day that Darcy was due to be born. And then along the way, I’ve got earrings and a necklace with the tree of life and then a jewelry box. So it’s just sort of been a thing between us, a symbol. Yeah, so it’s always about the gift of life. Beautiful. Did you enjoy being pregnant and giving birth with your own kids so that there was that element of that went okay for me, so I’m happy to do that part again as well? Yeah, yeah, I guess so. Yeah, yeah. Was it more than that it’s in your capacity to do,

who would like to have another child and you’re in a capacity to do it and would like to help, therefore you just felt called to offer? Yeah, I can’t even explain it. I just read their story. I just knew I had to do it. Yeah, I don’t know. I just knew that was our journey. Had you ever considered surrogacy before for any other friends who were struggling to have kids or family members? Had it made you? No, it’s something that I had always said, family, I’m one of seven girls. So I did sort of say, if any of my sisters ever ran into that, I would do it.

there hasn’t, we haven’t had that in our family. It wasn’t something that I was actively looking for.

at all. It was just the random post and I just knew that was what I had to do. And I think for any IPs listening that’s a great way to say just share your story. Just share it absolutely. You never know who’s going to read it. That’s right and ask other people to share it. Yes definitely. That’s how we get the word because it’s often friends of friends that find it. Wonderful. Was there anything particularly challenging in your journey or elements that you’re particularly proud of that your team did well Ange? Look I think the entire thing was just so positive. There

that was challenging at all. If there was ever a problem, we would talk about it. But even then, I can’t even think of any actual problems that we had. If I needed anything, if my kids needed anything, they would bring food, they would offer massages. I was a cleaner at the time, so I had a very physical job. So Casey would show up with food or…

cooked meals that she’d done for me. She had ordered HelloFresh so that my kids could do some cooking as well just to make it that bit easier. Yeah, everything was just, it was so easy. Yeah. That’s really helpful to hear some of the types of support. Did you have to stop work a little bit earlier due to the demands on your body and were there loss of wages then?

Not really, because I wasn’t expecting to be going four weeks early. I finished up, I think it was the 22nd of December and I had him on the 31st. And then I was back at work on the 7th of January, which would have been my normal closure period anyway. So yeah, I didn’t take much time off. In hindsight, would you do that the same or would you do it differently? No, I think I was ready. I think it was just, it was just life back to normal.

I did have to stop to express, you know, I just did that. I was still getting up through the night. Like I was expressing every three hours because I was just, I just had that much milk. So yeah, yeah. Was it a reduced load at all with your cleaning work or you just went back to what was planned?

Yeah, I just kept going. And so I’m sensing you didn’t really have any of the, you know, the pull to the baby, feeling like lost in your body, where’s the baby? Absolutely not, no, no. And there are a lot of people that have asked that same question. I didn’t feel any of those maternal instinct feelings of, oh my gosh, he’s mine, or absolutely not. It was the oven. I just, I had the bits to cook what needed to be cooked and when it was ready, I handed him over. Yeah, lovely.

And that’s often an easy way to explain it to someone. Yes. And my kids were fantastic. And they knew right throughout that, you know, I was just cooking this baby for them. You know, he was just growing in me. I had to have clexane needles and my kids were giving me the needles. They were loving it. You roughly remember how old your kids would have been at the time then of the journey or at birth? Yes. So there would have been five years ago. So they’re 13, 12, 10 and nine. Yeah, right. They would have been then. Yeah.

aware of the whole situation of what was going on. Were they involved with the IPs and spending some time with them at all? Absolutely, yes. Plenty of catch-ups, plenty of time together. There was dinners, there was time out at their place. And same after Bub was born. Yeah, even up until like we’d go and visit at Christmas and Easter and all sorts of stuff, so yeah. And I suppose something that’s interesting here having you on as co-host is you’re a few years post-birth. I’m not having somebody on a few months post-birth. Four years, yeah. Four years. So in terms of what does it look like now as a team?

in terms of that frequency, is it just now they’re like another set of friends that you see from time to time like once a week? Yes. Months? That’s exactly how it is, yeah. We still talk, you know, it could be once a week, once a fortnight. I always get, you know, little Snapchat videos and stuff of the kids and yeah, she is always, you know, sending me, you know, just random little thank yous. I can’t thank you enough messages and it’s lovely. We have a really lovely friendship. So it sounds like your emotional cup is full. You were paid in full emotionally. Absolutely.

Yeah, great to hear. Just in terms of your kids now, the project is done, so they were seeing the IPs quite a bit during the project. Now, when you catch up with them, do your kids necessarily come along or are they that bothered or they’re interested to hear little updates but they’re your friends? Yeah, they do see little updates and I’ll show them videos and that sort of thing. The boys haven’t seen them for a little while, probably last year, but my girls, they did come out end of the year last year. So yeah, we do catch up just not anywhere near as often

often. They’re friends with kids and you know, if I go on my own, that’s fine too. Yeah, it’s yeah, once the big project elements done, then yeah. Have you ever heard your own kids telling other people about your journey? And is that a proud moment for you to hear them? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Because it’s a part of their story now too. They now know of what surrogacy is. So in case they might consider it in the future, or they might need help, they know that this can be done in Australia.

of people regarding, you know, surrogacy and different people that have had different problems and going through the IVF and other people that have asked me about surrogacy and yeah, which is really good. Wonderful. Yeah. Have you got any advice then that you’d like to pass on for people at the beginning of their journey? Things that try and make sure you do people? I think the biggest thing is communication. That’s what

the relationship and make sure you talk about everything. Don’t have anything that’s off limits. Talk about everything from what’s gonna happen with pregnancy, if there happen to be any problems in the labor, who’s gonna be where, what, you know, I think that was maybe a little question for, you know, dad, you know, he was like, oh, am I allowed to look? And I was like, absolutely you are. Like…

I want you to look, I want you to witness this. So yeah. It’s a sign of how ultimately we’re strangers, but friends are friends. You know, to this point that you get to, I want you to watch your child come into this world. Yeah. And see, even with Nate, he was an emergency Caesar. So that was, it was all new again. So. So you got to help them experience what, you know, I can really calm, you know, drug-free vaginal birth is like. Yes. Okay. Well, I think we’re.

We’re through. If you can, unless there’s any last thing that you can think of that you wanna add. No, no, no. If you’re thinking about it, just do it. It’s the best thing ever. Give the gift of life. And if your IP is listening to you, just do that as well. Exactly. Yes, share your story. Share your story, just never know. And try and find community. Maybe I’ll ask just the one last question. Did yourself and the parents like Casey, did you find community and support that other surrogates to talk to for you and other intended parents, did she find to talk to in the journey? Not particularly.

we were in the Facebook group but I don’t think we necessarily put too much in there. We just, we relied heavily on each other and then obviously we had you know our counselling sessions and all of that sort of thing as well. Yes. Do you remember if you had any ongoing counselling during pregnancy or not? No, no we didn’t. No and we just did the the ones after birth. Yes because you have to in your state. Yes. Yeah. Wonderful. Excellent. Well I think it’s a job well done. Thank you for sharing your journey with me four years even you know down the track but it’s a perpetual journey and the

changes over time but it’s it does hopefully it’s been nice for you even busy lives just pause and you know reminisce about about that time in your life absolutely yeah it’s lovely thank you for having me oh pleasure honor is mine thank you for listening to this episode to see the beautiful images mentioned head to our YouTube channel to watch the webinar recording

If you’re looking for more support and potentially connecting with a surrogate or intended parents, head to our website surrogacyaustralia.org to check out the resources and to learn more about SASS. Please subscribe to this podcast if you’ve found it valuable and share it with someone so they too can benefit from this conversation. Until next time, welcome to the village.

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