#13

After many years of wanting to be a surrogate, I decided to do it during a pandemic

Stylised graphic of a hand marking a cross over a date on a calendar
Stylised graphic of a hand marking a cross over a date on a calendar
Image from PxHere

The middle of a pandemic seems like a strange time to start any activity that involves meeting people, so why did I choose March 2020 as the time to join Surrogacy UK?

When I first started seriously researching surrogacy, I was using the implant as my contraception, which lasts for 3 years. I decided that its expiry date at the start of 2021 would be a good time to aim for starting to try to conceive — it’s a very arbitrary date but it seemed as sensible as any.

Using this date, I worked out when I needed to have…


My long journey to reclaim my voice was finally nearly over

Black-and-white photo of the lower half of a woman’s face only showing her mouth, which is smiling
Black-and-white photo of the lower half of a woman’s face only showing her mouth, which is smiling
Image from pixy

I took a wide berth around an elderly woman that was sitting on a set of steps leading up from the sidewalk. She was wrapped in several layers of scraggly shawls and bent forward to peer at me. Her mouth opened in a wide, toothless grin. I staggered backwards in shock and she cackled loudly.

These streets were unfamiliar to me and, despite the scribbled instructions I held in my hand, I felt quite lost. The buildings were tall and dark, from their brickwork to the lighting. The next corner was marked with a flashing neon sign advertising the dive…


#12

Having my hormonal implant removed during a pandemic

Content warning: Description of a medical procedure

Image from Pixy

At the start of January, I tried to arrange to have my hormonal implant removed because it was about to expire — but appointments weren’t being offered due to COVID. A month later, and a week after the implant had expired, I got a phone-call from the sexual health clinic offering me an appointment two days later for its removal.

As soon as I booked the appointment, I felt very stressed about it. If I’m honest, I’ve been feeling minorly stressed about having my implant removed since I first had it fitted three…


My three break-ups taught me a lot about friendship

A man and a woman look at each other in front of a large body of water
A man and a woman look at each other in front of a large body of water
Image from Piqsels

During my life, I’ve broken up with three people. Those three relationships were all very different and each ended very differently. Through experiencing the transition of these relationships from romantic to platonic (or not), I’ve learnt a lot about friendship.

The first relationship I ended was with my first boyfriend. He lived with me & some friends in a shared house at university. When we broke up, he accused me of not crying enough after the other people we lived with made me laugh. Then he dropped out of university and moved out. He phoned me for weeks afterwards asking…


#11

Removing my genetic link to the child that I plan to carry

Microscopic image of an egg being fertilised through IVF
Microscopic image of an egg being fertilised through IVF
Image by Elena Έλενα Kontogianni Κοντογιάννη from Pixabay

When I first started researching surrogacy I was overwhelmed by all the new vocabulary I had to learn. The most important terms that I had to understand were those for the two types of surrogacy that are available: gestational surrogacy (or GS), also known as host or full surrogacy; and traditional surrogacy (or TS), also known as straight or partial surrogacy. Not only did I need to understand what these meant but I also had to decide which of them was right for me.

Traditional surrogacy

Traditional surrogacy is similar to the conventional method of becoming pregnant. The surrogate monitors their ovulation…


#10

A surrogate’s ponderings on childbirth before my first pregnancy

A new-born child’s hand grips an adult’s finger.
A new-born child’s hand grips an adult’s finger.
© Jason Pratt (cc-by/2.0)

So far in my surrogacy journey, I haven’t allowed myself to look ahead too far. Although I’m really excited about being pregnant (I often turn to my partner and exclaim, “Won’t it be weird when I’m pregnant!” while overexaggerating my stomach with my arms), there’s part of me that refuses to accept that it will ever happen.

I’ve never been pregnant; I don’t know that I can physically become pregnant. (This fear is compounded by the number of infertile women I’ve met through the surrogacy community. Telling people that I plan to carry a baby for someone else also encourages…


#9

The importance of life insurance and wills for surrogacy

Image from pxhere

When I joined Surrogacy UK as a surrogate in the summer of 2020, I didn’t expect to meet my intended parents, Louise and Brian(*), so quickly — and they didn’t expect to meet a surrogate so quickly either! But before we could sign a surrogacy agreement together, as well as having a lot to discuss, there were also some things we needed to organise.

Life insurance

Every pregnancy carries some risk to life so the UK government advises surrogates to take out life insurance. …


#8

When I had my hormonal implant fitted 3 years ago, I didn’t expect to be having it removed in the middle of a pandemic.

Stylised drawing of various methods of contraception with the words “safe”, “family”, “planning” and “contraception”.
Stylised drawing of various methods of contraception with the words “safe”, “family”, “planning” and “contraception”.
Image from Pixy

I have had a Nexplanon implant, a form of long-acting reversible contraception, since 2018. A lot has changed in that time, including the start of a global pandemic. To everyone’s surprise, I also have some plans in the near future to become pregnant (albeit as a surrogate rather than for my own child). As the hormonal implant only lasts for 3 years, I now need it removed.

My original intention was to replace my implant when it ran out but, because of my plans to be a surrogate, I would now prefer a more temporary form of contraception.

I really…


#7

Looking forward to 2021: the excitement and the trepidations

Two people hold a present wrapped with a bow
Two people hold a present wrapped with a bow
Image by Bob Dmyt from Pixabay

This year I plan to do something very special. A couple who are unable to carry their own child will try to create a life, borrowing a body part that I would otherwise have no use for.

In the new year, I will officially form a surrogacy team with Louise & Brian(*), the intended parents that I want to help. We will begin the process of transferring one of their embryos into my uterus, which will hopefully cause me to become pregnant.

It feels weird to be excited about something I’ve carefully avoided for many years but I know this…


#6

How do you get to know someone well enough to have a baby for them under COVID-19 restrictions?

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

The last thing I did before the UK was ordered to stay at home in March was attend a surrogacy information day. Shortly afterwards, I sent off my application form and, in June, I was accepted as a full member of the surrogacy organisation, Surrogacy UK. This means the early days of my surrogacy journey have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

I met Louise & Brian(*), the couple that I’d like to be a surrogate for, at one of the virtual socials that Surrogacy UK is running to replace their usual in-person ones. I hadn’t met them in…

Kim Barrett

Freelancer writer and software developer based in Oxford, UK. https://kbarrett.github.io/

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