“You two would make great parents”, our host Anita said, “have you ever considered surrogacy?”
Despite her long and flourishing career in the fertility sector, even our closest friends knew nothing of our initial attempts to achieve surrogacy using UK networks. This journey had been a short one, we felt thwarted by an obscure screening process that lacked formality and a contractual arrangement that did not appear to safeguard the interests of intended parents.
“You need to go to the States – I have just the specialist for you – he’s based in New York City, his name is Dr. Joel Batzofin”. Our journey began.
We quickly learned some key differences between a USA and UK based surrogacy. The contract between all parties is enforceable, you can choose your donor more selectively and surrogates are easier to locate. It was so liberating to see the somewhat mysterious process of surrogacy stepping out of the shadows and into the daylight.
Dr. Batzofin and his team are fabulous. We were thrilled to learn of other same-sex parenting achieved through surrogacy at his practice. We valued the openness of communication and how each stage of the process was described in a digestible dialogs. We quickly came to rely on Dr. Batzofin’s network of professionals both within and outside his immediate team – all working in our interests.
We were screening surrogate profiles and were in regular contact with egg donor agencies. On recollection, it felt like building a very special team. We learned dependent on which state in America where a surrogacy birth occurs, both names of the intended parents can feature on the birth certificate. We thought this was terrific news and in our case, elected to work only with a surrogate who resided in one of those states.
Once our team was in place, Dr. Batzofin and his team really impressed. Through a process of calendar coordination and stimulation medications for both donor and surrogate, we were suddenly in the waiting room with all hopes elevated. “Is this the day we become fathers?”, was whizzing through my mind! I felt confident – today is the day.
Sadly – that was not the day, our attempt was unsuccessful – a crushing blow. The journey isn’t seamless and there isn’t a guaranteed outcome. It’s very important to understand this at the outset – albeit impossible to prepare. We grieved and we recovered. I feel I can look anyone in the eye who has struggled with fertility or conception and understand their disappointment. This had never been part of ‘our’ process – with health and vitality on our side, how could it not have worked?
We found making a little space, leaving time to reflect and relax, was a significant help. We reconnected with Dr. Batzofin and following a sensitive, sympathetic review with him, we tried again. We still felt confident the various strands tothesurrogacy process could be brought together to form a perfect bow. We felt the same as any other couple, same-sex or otherwise – all united by their want to overcome a fertility or conception difficulty. To become parents. Our perseverance has been rewarded.
We have a child! We are parents! Our joy is limitless and our heartfelt thanks go out to Dr. Batzofin and his amazing team.
As a same sex couple, we never thought we’d say these words – “our child”. Without Dr. Batzofin in our lives, perhaps we never would have been able to. What a long way we have come from those birthday drinks!
Liam and Oliver, London. May 2011.