Episode 58 – Menaka – straight mum

Menaka’s SASS team is the first that we have supported from their introduction (or match) with their surrogate through to birth and now beyond for a year. Menaka and her husband, Simon, from the Gold Coast became parents to their daughter Isabelle in October 2023. Isabelle was carried by surrogate Nikita, who lives outside of Brisbane, who was previously a stranger and now a lifelong friend. It was a very long journey to parenthood with 7 years of IVF, myomectomy surgery, joining SASS in 2019 and 2 years later being introduced to Nikita and her family. Definitely a marathon not a sprint! 

This episode was recorded in June 2024.

You can hear from her surrogate, Nikita, in episode 52.


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). 

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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. 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 June 2024, features Menaka. Menaka’s SASS team is the first that we have supported from their introduction or match with their surrogate through to birth and now beyond for a year. Menaka and her husband Simon from the Gold Coast became parents to their daughter Isabel in October 2023. Isabel was carried by surrogate Nikita who lives outside of Brisbane, who was previously a stranger and now a lifelong friend.

It was a very long journey to parenthood with seven years of IVF, myomectomy surgery, joining SASS in 2019 and two years later being introduced to Nikita and her family. Definitely a marathon, not a sprint. You can hear from her surrogate Nikita in episode 52. It was really special for me to record this episode with Menaka and also the previous episode with Nikita since they’re a SASS team. I run SAS.

essentially the first agency for surrogacy in Australia since 2019, and we support teams through surrogacy and focus on the friendships. Many IPs, intended parents, joined SASS in the hope of being connected with a surrogate. We do make some introductions, matches, and you can read more about that on our website under monthly reports. To support Menaka’s team from their introduction all the way to birth and to have them each on as webinar co-hosts is a full

Nikita is now a mentor within SAS, having had a mentor herself at the beginning of her journey. Menaka talks about having ongoing counseling after some failed embryo transfer attempts during pregnancy and post-birth. This is the model of ongoing counseling that we recommend with SASS and provide support for, especially so that the surrogate can access sessions without having to ask her IPs to pay. The counselor they saw is Narelle Dickinson in Brisbane at her practice, Lotus Health and Psychology.

You can hear Narelle speak about counselling in episode 55 and book in your own session with her wherever you are in Australia. I hope you enjoy this episode. Menaka, thank you for joining us. Take us back to the beginning then. Why did you need a surrogate in the first place? And how did you find Nikita? I mean, we kind of probably know that answer from how I’ve given the spiel in social media, but summarize your journey for us to get there. Oh, well, we had a very long fertility journey and unfortunately, I mean, we had a very long.

you don’t need prior to get to surrogacy. So initially we went to see a specialist and they did some tests apart from having a low AMH level which means I’ve had a lot of low egg reserve for my age. I also had these large uterine fibroids.

they were suspecting that that might impact on implantation. So anyway, we went through the process of, you know, a collection, creating embryos and do transfers. And, you know, there was obviously a lot of unsuccessful transfers, but then there will be transfers where I got pregnant and then was carried quite early, eight weeks. And so then it was suggested, look, you know, with the fibroids, you probably will have

success if we do a myomectomy, which is basically a removal of the fibroids. So we had that and you know, and these large fibroids were removed, but it ended up unfortunately with afterwards, the line in my uterus becoming very thin. So it wasn’t really viable for implantation of the embryos. We did attempt it and I got to the stage where I was like, no, this is enough. It’s not going to happen. So I did some embryo, what we call embryo banking. So we created embryos as I was getting to the age where it was not going to be an option.

and I was going to try and get my uterus sorted, but that never happened. It wasn’t gonna be. And then I was signed off by Fertility Specialist to the Gold Coast, but I went to one.

another one in Brisbane and she again after you know doing all the whole you know procedures and stuff she said look you know technically your uterus is not going to happen so she again signed me up for a surrogacy so I did attempt the second time to try and get it happening but it didn’t happen so so that’s where the surrogacy journey began. Was that an emotional journey to go from that step of going I can’t carry now and was that a process to get to? It was it’s because

there who go through IVF. It’s such a journey in itself, emotionally, physically, mentally, that you know when someone says okay well you need surrogacy now it’s just like you know another mammoth mountain to climb. You kind of have to will yourself into another big journey to go through. Yeah so it is you know something that we had to discuss as a couple. It was a huge next step from you know.

Yeah, you know, took its toll. So yeah, so it was a discussion. But thankfully, we’ve got, you know, some nice such a great team. And obviously, this is something that we really wanted, obviously, going to be a mammoth task. We don’t know how successful that it’s going to be, but we were going to try and pursue it and see how we

we went with it. Yeah. So then ultimately did join SAS. And so I’m pleased that, you know, this that option was there for you. Was that your main only option you pursued? Because I’m sure some people would ask, were there options among friends and family or just didn’t quite feel right to talk about it with them? Where was that at? As you know, we’re quite social media shy. So we’re not, you know, the type that would post we do. Actually, I had to create a Facebook account to join that Surrogacy ASC, the Surrogacy Community page.

And we’re very private and I mean, within our family, we didn’t have that option. And with friends, you know, there wasn’t anyone that we felt that, you know, it would be a viable option. So no. So we did consider that and it wasn’t a viable option for us. So we did join the Australian Surrogacy Community and the Queensland branch as well. But we’re not very good at social media at all.

It’s not us and we’re very private and it’s it was a bit of a you know prior to SASS it was a huge undertaking for us because it’s something that we would just not come up with it’s just not something that we’ve but having said that we we very much were into the face-to-face meetups we we tried to go as many because that we feel we you know we prefer that that’s that’s more our thing so we went to as many meetups. So I’m guessing you did that concurrently so you joined SASS probably towards the beginning when SASS started. Yes yeah yeah. It was ultimately

two years then until you were introduced to Nikita through SASS. And so in that time, you were trying to attend some of the in-person catch-ups and just continuing to keep your hopes up for two years. That could be hard, right? I think with a lot of people in the community, because as you’ve said, it’s a marathon of a sprint. There are many a times where you think, you know, will this, will I ever meet someone, will it ever happen?

We found the community in general, you know, IPs, P’s, surrogates, I mean, it’s such a lovely community. So going to the meetups were not hard. And I still try to go now because it’s such a lovely community to be part of. You know, you need it. Yeah. If you need that mental and emotional strength to continue, because it is a, it is a difficult journey. Even with joining SAS, I remember, you know, with emails and when you get those emails saying, oh, you look at that, you know, nothing’s happening this month or whatever, it kind of reinforces it.

is the way it is. And we luckily got there in the end with the most beautiful Sargon family. So look, in the end, it worked out beautifully and we could not be a better team. So yeah, we’re very lucky. Well, I suppose let’s just talk about that for a brief minute. So we did the SASS introduction. I remember I’m pretty sure I was in this room and I remember it and you never know if that could be the

the day that a team gets made and then a baby comes from it. And it would have been a bit like dating. I mean, even though I had sent emails saying what was gonna happen, do you remember doing that first meet? Because it wasn’t through Facebook posts and chatting, it was live and visual, wasn’t it? Was it nerve-racking for you, exciting and scary? Nerve-racking, exciting, yeah, just that I know. But I mean, Anna, can I just say, you make it so comfortable for these meetings. You did it so beautifully, but…

I remember we were sitting in this room with Simon and I and we just had our puppy, Foxy, who’s now three years old. And I remember Nikita was in her backyard and the kids were playing in the backyard.

And Chris styled him because he was trucking off somewhere. We kind of just knew straight away. We just loved them. We loved Nikita and Chris just cracked us up. He talked about trucks the whole time. It was just, yeah, we just knew straight away we would make it, you know, hopefully make a fantastic team. And we did. That was that instant connection. Yeah, I remember it too. Definitely an instant connection. And although you might be slightly different walks of life in where you’ve…

things that you’ve done. Sometimes something brings you together. So for those listening, Nikita has done an episode, a couple of episodes beforehand. So if people want to hear her journey, definitely go look that one up. I think for Nikita, it was helpful to have IPs where it was sort of put on a level playing field so that she could look at all the profiles and find somebody that she might click with. And then of course too, you get to read her profile on paper and then you get to go off and build the friendship together, don’t you?

a few months after quite a few months after that doing that I took off I took a first look which was really nice and it made such a big difference for the journey. Yes. Yeah. So then we might move to your photos and that sort of takes us through part of your journey so then as you say you’re building the friendship you’re going through the counseling and the legals and I think the first photo that we’ve got here now could be anywhere along your journey but it just shows of spending time with each other’s friends and family too doesn’t it so you get to share that journey so is this some Simon’s family in this photo with all of his friends

Yeah, so this is in the photo, there’s Simon there holding Sophie, which is who’s Nikki, just oldest daughter, and then Chris and Zach in the front.

So Chris is Nikita’s husband and Zach and Nikita’s on the far right with the red top on with Lucy next to her her middle child the rest is Simon’s family so they’ve come from Melbourne and Adelaide Simon’s mum and dad and his sister and And her daughter Alice in the back there. So yeah, it’s like you’re bringing Nikita and her family into your family and vice versa She’s bringing you into hers too. So it’s a blending that’s going on there, isn’t it? Yeah, for sure for sure

whenever we all get together, it’s not forced. And it’s a very easy, easy way to say. That’s good to hear. So you’ve got a bit of distance between you. So would you make time where you were spending some time just hanging out with friends and then other times where you’d make specific efforts to sit down and talk about what a surrogacy journey might look like, working through all of those big questions? Is that sort of how your team did it? Yeah, so exactly. So what we would do is we’d obviously hang out as a team.

with Nikita and Chris and the kids.

And then also, also Nikita and I would meet halfway as well. Or, you know, whenever she came here and we managed to get some time alone, because it was generally Nikita and I doing most of the discussions. I mean, Chris and Simon kind of, you know, came along for the ride. I mean, they’re all supported. They’re both very supportive of everything going on. But majority of the discussions were really Nikita and I doing that. Yeah, and we would have more specific discussion around timing or anything that needed to be addressed or to be considered, just hanging out time. And then obviously more specific.

care or you know we could have some time aside where we spoke more specifically around our journey as a team yeah. And so I suppose this photo of you just sort of you and Nikita could be an example of that with the two of you catching up sometimes. Yeah so that was probably after one of our many clinic appointments at Greenslopes near the hospital where we used to go a lot to. So Nikita and I had a few years of many appointments so yes and that might have been after transfer or it might have been just one of those appointments but yes.

So then once you did get to the point of pregnancy attempts, it took quite a while, my friend, didn’t it? How many embryo transfers across what span of time was it? The introduction with you was in January 2021. Isabel was born in October 2023. I think that by the time we did the psychology and legals, it was two years, approximately two years before Isabel was born. So from that to her birth was two years of.

every transfers. There was a lot of waiting with the clinic and you know, I mean, there was very pedantic protocols around the clinic. So that kind of delayed it and also with Dr. being on holidays and leave and it dragged on a bit more. We did have a successful and the first photo you showed with Simon’s family where we did have a positive pregnancy test but unfortunately that turned out out.

to be blood not over. So that was a non-viable pregnancy but yeah so it did take five transfers to get to where Isabel was born. How did you go with that knowing that it’s again that we have a surrogate but is this ever going to happen now? Do you start to have those sorts of worries and how do you share that with your team but not inflict that on Nikita too much? Is that a challenge to navigate? Well yeah because we have nine.

embryos. So we thought, oh, surely, and you know, four of those were tested, you know, we had genetic testing done on them, and they were actually came back as normal. Unfortunately, I think what happened is they were frozen, and then we thought them to test them out, test them and then they got frozen again, and then thought again for the transfer. So I think they did go through a bit of trauma. So in retrospect, that probably wasn’t ideal, but we did still thought they would work towards a fifth transfer.

Nikita, she brought up with me about potentially starting to see the donor eggs in case our embryos didn’t work. So and that was like, oh my gosh, like something else to consider. So I have to say there was a period where it was like it could be touch and go and we got to the last embryos which were untested, you know, like Isabelle’s embryo went all the way to day six, you know, so kind of she lived along.

her embryo lived along and it was not graded, you know, it was BB graded, so with those who know IVF it wasn’t the highest grade embryo and it was untested so we didn’t know if it was genetically normal or not. But anyway she turned out to be very healthy and robust. So many uncertainties in this journey aren’t they? So yeah, your team just keep swimming, you just kept going. Yes, yes, thank god.

And Nikita, I mean, and Nikita was just wonderful. I mean, you know, I’m sure many people would have run for the hill, but she was just, she was so fantastic and amazing and was happy to continue. I mean, as much as it was emotionally taxing for us and Nikita, you know, juggles a lot with three children and a family, a lot of demands on Nikita and she, she was amazing. And, you know, for her to just continue to, you know, to finally get us some success, it was, we’re so grateful for her. She was just amazing. Yeah. Sarah gets a stubborn, determined women.

And they want to give their IPs a baby. And so, but as you saying, like after a few transfers, a surrogate might say, do you know what, this is just too much on my family. I can’t do it anymore. And so you just never know with the IPs, although she says, yes, I want to keep going. You just never know when things might change for the IPs or the surrogate and want to stop. Oh, completely. And look, we would completely respect her if that’s what she wanted. I mean, it’s a hugely taxing journey. And we completely would have respected her if she found that she can continue with.

that you know we’re so grateful that what she did for us so yes. And then that takes us to the positive pregnancy and then this looks like a baby shower celebrating friends and family you finally got to have one hey? Yeah I know we don’t like to celebrate birthdays and stuff but it was so lovely my friends and girls from work put this together and actually in retrospect it was so lovely because I would not choose to do it because I don’t like to celebrate you know.

It’s just not me. I run away from celebrations. But it was so lovely and it was so nice to celebrate Nikita as well. Her kids were there, all three of them, and it was lovely. They all, everyone will touch a pink and we just had so much fun. It was actually a really nice day. It was something I would have not thought I’d like to do. But it was it was actually.

And as you say, yes, celebrating Nikita and have your work friends and other friends seeing her and to get to celebrate this team that you’ve created. I never told anyone until about 20 weeks. So what we went through, a lot of people, I mean, I told a few people, but not a lot of people didn’t know what I’ve gone through with IBF and then obviously pursuing Saree Zee because it was just too stressful for me. When I did announce to them, it just brought so many beautiful emotions from people and they were crying and it was just amazing. And I spoke about Nikita to all the cats.

home, everyone was dying to meet Nikita. They just met her, they just think she’s incredible. Nikita’s kind of

very much part of, you know, with Isabelle and everyone, you know, it’s all about Nikita and Isabelle and everyone asks how she has Nikita and so she’s here, she’s very much part of the journey as well. Beautiful, yes and that’s it because it’s not just your team that do surrogacy, well it is, but in terms of the ripple effect that it has now all of these people that you work with understand surrogacy and that’s how we spread the word, isn’t it? And then I’m recognising this pink dress of Nikita’s, I reckon this popped up in, you

birth? Yes, just prior to birth we had some some photos taken on the goal post here.

nice to sort of capture all of those photos with Nikita’s kids too. Because it’s very hard to capture Chris as well because he’s so busy on the road but yeah so it’s nice to get everyone together and just spend time together and take some lovely photos. And then that brings us to the day of birth by these photos. I know from Nikita’s podcast and webinar episode it was a fairly quick birth so how did you feel when you look at these photos of the day of birth? Does it

ever experienced. It was just amazing and it was just beautiful. It was on a Sunday morning, I remember it, getting the phone call from Nikita and us all driving into hospital. It was beautiful and the water birth, which is not that long because Nikita is well, decided to come out pretty quickly. And then afterwards we had a lovely bed suite where we could all just, we were all in the bed together and it was this lovely large bed. So it was just the most incredible. We were only

lovely and then we all went home together and introduced Isabel to Nikita’s family. Yes, it was beautiful. I’ve got some photos up here, I’ve got that bit in a minute but how do you feel when you see your husband holding you to the dowel right, many years in the making to get to that photo? Amazing, it’s so beautiful. It’s just incredible. I mean it’s that beautiful bond from you know that you get from just straight away. You’re just amazing, you don’t have to grow the baby to have that bond, it’s amazing. Yeah but that’s a good question isn’t it? Some

themselves going yeah did you bond with your baby even though you didn’t grow it? Absolutely without a doubt oh straight away she just and it grows more every day it’s just you think you don’t have any more love but it just grows and grows. That’s beautiful.

In this photo here, some of the midwives too, I think, must have been a very joyful day for them to be a part of too. You know, it’s obviously a pretty novel experience for a lot of people. Yes, it was for them and it was just the most amazing team that made our journey even more special. I mean, our birth experience even more special. And that’s the bed that we all lay in all post-birth. It was just beautiful. And so this woman, as you say, you’re sitting in a bed next to, who was initially a stranger two and a half years ago.

that you can just form this bond. Oh, yes, absolutely. Oh, just incredible, incredible. Obviously have, you know, a lot of, we have a lot of luck with the Gita, but it’s such an intimate experience as well. So you do need to have that love and the trust because it’s such an intimate experience. And it’s, but it’s the most beautiful experience when you have a great team and we were so lucky we had.

So yeah, it is intimate, isn’t it? For the surrogate to birth around you and to have that trust that you support her and her decisions and she trusts you to in your decisions as parents. Yeah, it’s a lot of trust both ways throughout the whole journey. I never had even an inkling that I was that there was going to be any issues with me not trusting Nikita. She just I knew that she get that she always had the most the best intentions. And it was never one moment that I felt that, you know, I didn’t have that trust

That’s the point everybody gets to and then life goes on and photos here of catch-ups and Nikita holding Isabelle. I was thinking about these photos and you know a new intended mum.

looking at a photo there of a surrogate holding a baby. Is there any jealousy or what sort of feelings do you feel when you see this woman holding your baby? No, I feel joy. Isabel had Nikita’s heartbeat and was, you know, they’re going to have this bond forever because Nikita carried Isabel. Isabel exists because of Nikita. So they will always have this incredible bond and I hope they do. It gives me joy for Nikita to be part of Isabel’s life because that’s Isabel’s

bad story, she wasn’t dropping my stalk. So I really enjoyed them having time together. And I just love it when I capture moments.

Because I always love to take photos with Nikita and Isabelle when they are together. And I love it when I do capture that lovely moments where, you know, that was around Christmas last year, the one on the left. And just Isabelle smiling at Nikita, it was just beautiful. This is more recently on the right and Isabelle looking up at Nikita. It’s lovely. Lovely for surrogates to hear you speak like that, the parents that we’ve carried for, not feeling jealousy or fear and to be valuing that connection that they’ve got.

lovely for us to continue to be a part of your child’s life. Oh, absolutely. Nikita’s three children and Chris, you know, they’re such an amazing family. So we were, you know, it’d be such an honor for them to be part of, of Isabel’s life. You know, I see the bond the children have with Isabel and you know, and Isabel’s becoming more interactive with others. It’d be nice to see her having more of a bond with them too. So it’d be nice to see that grow over the years with the children.

obviously Nikki Lincolns, yeah. Yes, lovely. And then I think this would be a parentage order day, y’all went to court together. Yeah, so that’s a pre-pour in Brisbane, yes. So that’s…

after parentage order. Yeah, so it was granted. Yeah, it was a lovely day. Yes. And as you say here, you know, continuing catch ups and a photo here of Nikita’s family with all the kids. Do the kids sort of see Isabelle a bit like a cousin? Is that the sort of type of connection? I think Sophie, Sophie did actually say, said cousin with a D at the end, which is so cute. I love that. I tell everyone that. It’s really nice because obviously I knew Sophie and Lucy.

be quite interested in Isabel because, but there’s Zach who you know is quite a boy’s boy and she’s quite, yeah he’s got quite a sweet bond with Isabel which I really love to see, it’s really nice and I didn’t think Zach would be as interested but he has quite a lovely bond with Isabel which is really sweet. Lovely. My son’s the same, he’s a very…

boisterous lad and he was my kids were four and six when Baker was born and seeing him be so sweet and gentle with Baker it was for me as a parent and this is probably the same in Nikita’s my son’s the youngest and so he doesn’t have a younger sibling and so the only time I ever get to see my son be a big brother is around the surrogate baby and it’s lovely that I get to see this side of my child thanks to the surrogacy baby if that makes sense. Yeah I’m sure

to your team that you’ve built up the bond with the children as well. It’s not just the adults who’ve done this project, you know, having this lovely photo of you there with Nikita’s eldest, you know, and they’re so comfortable around you. So yeah, actually, and that photo was taken by Lucy. There you go, kids taking the photos. Just to finish it off, a photo here of the family of the three of you, you know, this finally happened, Menaka, you’re a family.

We have had so much joy from this experience. I keep saying to Nikita, you know, we’ve had just so much joy. It’s been the most beautiful experience. I just love it. I love every minute of it. Yeah, I just love it. So worth this journey to get here. I’ll do it again just for what we’ve got. But on there, there must have been some challenging times. Yeah. Obviously the trying to get pregnant. But were there other particular times that were challenging?

as a team or in terms of the logistics that were a bit hard to navigate that’s worth mentioning to future teams? So I’m on the go because Nikita is in Brisbane, on the northern side of Brisbane. So there was a distance there but I was lucky because I’d moved to a clinic in Brisbane by the time so I went to see a doctor. There was an hour and a half at that time between us. You know, we made it work. We just compromised with either meet halfway or Nikita would come, you know, the family would come and stay with us for the weekend. I mean, the challenges

that we had the communication after scratch. So it was good to have that constant communication which we did. So we’d message quite a bit or we’d see each other face to face, you know, occasionally we’d call. We also did counseling sessions as well. And I think that was really helpful just to ensure not that we had any real issues. I think the realm probably thought that we were a team that was, you know, always, there was never really any significant stuff that we had to deal with but it was just good to touch base and make sure that from having that.

third party that if there were issues it could be addressed very quickly. Just to clarify that then when you said you had counseling this is during pregnancy ongoing is that what you mean? Yes obviously pre-pregnancy as well and also after a few failed cancers we had counseling as well just to touch base also during the pregnancy and post pregnancy as well. Yes so we did have ongoing counseling so even though things will seemingly

working very well. It was just still good to touch base with Narelle Dickinson and just make sure that there was, you know, if there’s any issues that was going to be ironed out. From the SASS perspective, it was really nice from our point of view, just, you know, the regular check-ins and providing that ongoing support and guidance to us, that really helped. If you haven’t been down that path before, there’s a lot of things to navigate with each part of your journey.

And just having that emails with things to consider, checking in to see if there’s anything, and then also knowing that Nikita could get independent support as well as SAS. So we found that not only were we being supported, but we really liked the fact that Nikita could get that support as well. So yeah, so. Thank you. That’s great feedback. Yeah, that peace of mind for your surrogate, with part of the reason SASS was created was from a research project with 30 surrogates about.

what did you need in your journey or could have been done better? And so to us, it was created partly to connect people and to provide a recipe, but also as support for the surrogate. You can’t pay her, but you can support her. And so how can we have her supported, not just by having a great team, but in the background, particularly that counseling that they can have and not have to ask for some of that structure. So yeah, I think your team did a really great job sort of following the recipe and helping us write the recipe along the way as well.

Obviously there was challenges with the transfers and all of those which were, and delays with transfers as well. I know Nikita, for both of us, it was hard when sometimes you just want to get the transfers going a lot quicker and there were delays with that. But once a pregnancy happened, it just seems to go so quickly, probably not so much for Nikita, but it did for us. And then it’s like, oh gosh, we’ve got a baby coming, are we ready?

Yes, yeah. We had all the plans in place and we communicated about ensuring that going to be, you know, in terms of our location close to Nikita pre-birth and our accommodation close to Nikita post-birth as well. So yeah, so having all of that needed obviously a lot of communication and, you know, negotiation to make sure that we got it, you know, we were obviously going to meet the needs of both parties. Yeah. Yeah, we’ll.

Is there anything then that you would do differently, Menaka, about your journey or any particular advice that you’d give people as they embark on their journey? When it comes to surrogacy, obviously that period of getting to know each other as a team is really important. It is a journey and it’s also, like I said, it’s a very intimate journey. So…

You kind of need to make sure that you are with the right team. If things go wrong, I’ve seen that it can go quite wrong. I mean, I’ve seen the stories in the community. And communication is key. So communication, ensuring that it’s effective communication is key as well. And compromise. And just, unfortunately, you do see a lot of promises made in the community that aren’t held up. But yeah, you just have to, I guess, be a decent person and just…

Hold up to your promises or don’t make the promise at all. So yeah. Yeah, that is good advice. Yeah, hold up or don’t make them at all. Yeah, words are easy. Words are very easy. You need to put your money where your mouth is, yeah. Yes. And do what you say you intend to do, yeah. Yes, and it’s okay to know your limits as the intent appears. If you can’t do something, that’s okay too, but communicate that. That’s much better to do it ahead of time, isn’t it, than to back out on something you said you could do. Completely, completely, yeah.

Absolutely. Yeah, because I mean sometimes, you know, circumstances change. So you can’t always uphold what you, yeah, what you said you would do. Yeah. And of course, once you become parents, then you’ve got a child to navigate with and lack of sleep and all of the parenting things that go with it. And so it is a hard gig to navigate surrogacy as an intended parent who then becomes a parent. It’s most normal couples don’t have to deal with a surrogate, you know, post birth. But it is quite a tough gig sometimes for intended parents to navigate that.

particularly challenging then or it was kind of what you’d set yourself up for so you were ready for it? It was working out really well until you know we had this lovely plan off.

spending two weeks with Nikita post-birth. And then unfortunately there was a little hiccup where Isabel got admitted to hospital. So then that changed the plan. But having said that, we navigated that, it was challenging for both parties and it was very hard for Nikita, especially with not having us so close in that. And even for us, it was a very, very challenging time. But we went through it. We knew it was a tough time, but we worked through it and we got past it. Post-birth, Nikita was a very kindly express for us as well.

every two weeks with Isabel in the car, because Simon was back at work, and I’d meet Nikita halfway, and we would say probably an hour or so drive from home and collect the best. So no, we made it work. You know, we were lucky that, you know, she was fine with traveling, but yeah, we managed to make it work. But I mean, it is obviously for a new mum who has no idea about.

you know, he’s thrown into the deep end with Farentine. It was challenging, obviously, to… You make it work. We made it work, and yeah, yeah. And let me tell you, surrogates and like someone like Nikita, who’s been then done that, is a wealth of knowledge around motherhood. So it was very helpful.

well. So I think that’s that’s a good message that in some ways it’s good to get to that point as a team where you feel comfortable to ask and to share parenting knowledge. That’s probably a good sign of that you’ve actually made a good friendship. Oh completely I can tell you now Nikita I am quick to say I was muddling around you know not knowing what I was doing so yes I have no issues with saying I because it is it’s a new experience even though you think you’re prepared for it you’re not.

Yes, I admit though that that’s probably sometimes tricky for surrogates to navigate how much to ship. No exactly. Yeah because we don’t want to tread on your toes as new parents but then we’ve also as you say we’ve had kids ourselves so we would share with our friends but it’s a funny dynamic isn’t it when it’s the baby we’ve birthed but it’s for our friends yeah it’s a tricky fascinating world is surrogacy. Yeah you’re right because you don’t want to seem like you you stiffen up people’s toes but yes yeah but let them know I have no issues asking.

Nikita was happy to give so you know I loved you know going and handing Isabel to Nikita so she could get her cuddles it’s just lovely yeah I knew how important was for Nikita and it’s important for Isabel as well and I enjoy seeing that bond as well yeah. Well you’ve done it you’re a mum Manaka you’ve done it as a team you’ve navigated this together we’re proud of you as a community and for being our first SASS introduced team that we’ve supported from that moment through to birth so what a journey a pleasure to ride it with you.

Thanks, Anna. Thank you. It’s been fantastic. We’re so appreciative of everything done. It’s been such a, yeah, such a pleasure. But yeah, no, so thank you. Thank you. Really appreciate it.

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 surr 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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