How surrogacy is changing lives
Just over 5 years ago we were told that my wife had cancer, and that we should scrap any plans of having any more children.
So here's a short personal update of some incredible women in my life, and how I'm now on paternity leave after some amazing support...
Somehow, specialist surgery has kept my wife in remission, and even opened up the possibility to try IVF, but all the complications from those surgeries mounted over the years. She persisted like no other.
IVF commenced at the start of the COVID pandemic. We had multiple pregnancy losses and rounds of IVF, as well as losing both my in-laws to cancer. Work was hard, but also a distraction from the reality of everything.
The only option left open to us was surrogacy, an altruistic approach in the UK where an amazing woman can offer to carry your child for you (we'd been lucky enough to make our own embryos during our IVF attempts). Surrogacy in the UK cannot be done for financial gain, it can only be offered through friendship.
An incredible friend of ours, met through the surrogacy community, offered to be our surrogate last year. And after a successful IVF transfer, a lot of growing time, our little boy Toby was born over the weekend!
I don't think our friend will ever realise the sheer scale of a miracle she has given us. Whatever you consider as selfless, this is the epitome. I've realised that even in our darkest moments, there are those who can bring back some light into our lives.
Alongside that incredible human, I've also been extremely lucky to find myself working for Nationwide Building Society during this time, and benefitting from the generous paternity leave and Surrogacy policy it has in place.
A few asks if you are reading this.
1. Please go and read up on the amazing world that is surrogacy in the UK.
2. If your employer doesn't have a surrogacy policy in place (they might default to adoption policy), then get them to add one. It's different. And difference is important.
3. Remember that you don't always know what your work colleagues are going through (I definitely haven't always got this right myself), so always give others the space to talk. You don't know what else they're facing into.