#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 don’t want to get pregnant before we begin fertility treatment for surrogacy so I still want to use a hormonal form of contraception, as these are more reliable. This type of contraception also helps to regulate my mood. …


#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 pregnancy definitely won’t result in me becoming a parent. Instead, I get to experience something I’ve wondered about for years and help my friends have a child. …


#6

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

Image for post
Image for post
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 person before I offered a “GTK”, which is Surrogacy UK’s term for the time during which a surrogate and intended parents get to know each other better and see if they are a good fit for one another. …


I miss the feeling of the breeze on my face, the sun on my skin.

A woman sits on a bench with her back to the camera, she is surrounded by green grass strewn with fallen leaves.
A woman sits on a bench with her back to the camera, she is surrounded by green grass strewn with fallen leaves.
Image from pxfuel

The sun is shining through the trees. The leaves are blowing in the wind and casting an ever-changing shadow on the muddy grass below. I can see it through the window from the harshly-lit office. My cursor blinks angrily from the bright white screen in front of me. The fluorescent lights buzz overhead. I’m squashed between the pressure of what’s expected of me and my desperate desire to dance in the dappled sunlight.

I watch a brown leaf gently flutter to the ground. I wished to be that leaf, just let go to float on the breeze to whatever came next for me. I could escape this place and do anything, be anything. Except these leaves always end up as mulch under the feet of the commuters traipsing to and fro. A pile of broken dreams, wet from the rain. …


#5

What if the intended parents I like don’t like me back?

Woman with long brown hair looks pensively into the distance
Woman with long brown hair looks pensively into the distance
Image from pxfuel

It was a sunny Monday morning. My partner, Thomas, and I were sitting on a picnic rug in the garden with our laptops. I was supposed to be doing some work but, instead, I was drafting and redrafting an email. It was important — but I knew that the wording itself didn’t matter.

“You think I should just send it?” I asked Thomas, not for the first time, and he nodded enthusiastically. I finally clicked ‘send’ and pushed my laptop aside. I knew that it could take until the following day to get an answer to my offer.

To an outsider, the email might seem innocuous — I’d offered to get to know a couple that I’d met online. However, I’m a surrogate and we’d be getting to know each other to find out if I was the right surrogate for them. It’s such an important stage that Surrogacy UK, the surrogacy organisation I’m part of, has given it its own acronym: GTK (‘get to know’). …


#4

Finding the right people to help as a surrogate

Image for post
Image for post
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

It took a long time to get to this point. I spent many years deciding that I wanted to be a surrogate, then a few months going through the application process. After being accepted into the surrogacy organisation Surrogacy UK, I was given access to the profiles of intended parents (“IPs”), people who want to have a child through surrogacy.

Thomas (my partner) & I began reading these profiles and trying to choose someone. Every evening for a couple of weeks, I read a few out to him as he cooked us dinner. …


#3

The things I considered when looking for intended parents

Woman stands in front of a grey ocean with her back to the camera
Woman stands in front of a grey ocean with her back to the camera
Photo from PxHere

Meeting someone who wants to be a surrogate is an important first step to having a child through surrogacy, but that person might not be the right surrogate for you. There needs to be a trusting friendship between the surrogate and the intended parents, but even the closest friendship might not make a good surrogacy team. There are lots of practical and principle aspects of surrogacy that need to be considered first.

Reasons that IPs wouldn’t be right for me

From a utilitarian position, I want my IPs to live reasonably close to me. This doesn’t matter to all surrogates but it’s important to me. I think that living within a few hours of one another will make it easier to become and stay friends, as well as reducing the IPs’ travel time for clinic appointments, scans and the birth. …


This Hallowe’en season, what can we learn from witches about how to combat climate change?

Stylised graphic of a purple witch on a broom flying across a moon above a green forest
Stylised graphic of a purple witch on a broom flying across a moon above a green forest
Image by Hugo Hercer from Pixabay

Anyone who’s watched David Attenborough’s latest documentary, A Life on Our Planet, knows that climate change is scary. It will cause crops to die, animals to lose their habitats and millions of people will have to leave their homes. To beat it we need something scarier than climate change: witches. Witches are unarguably spooky: they are the number one adult Hallowe’en costume. Luckily they also do some pretty environmentally friendly things.

1. Pointed hats and cloaks

About

Kim Barrett

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

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