Donor Conception

Egg Donation & Surrogacy – Say Hello to Two Dads.U.K.

Eloise Edington  |   2 Feb 2020


As anyone reading this fertility blog may know, fertility comes in all shapes and sizes, no matter what your sex or sexual preference is – every situation and need is unique. Here at The Ribbon Box, we talk a lot about using an egg / sperm donor or needing a surrogate for medial reasons, but what about those within the LGBTQ community who need a helping hand too?

We’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Two Dads UK and want to introduce to you the inspirational things they’re doing. Hearing from ambassadors who have walked the walk and know the intricacies of egg donation and surrogacy (even surrogacy laws), is invaluable. Let’s hear what they’ve been up to and why.

We’re Michael and Wes, and together we’re the founders of TwoDads UK, an organisation supporting Intended Parents to understand and explore surrogacy in the UK. We offer our help from a unique perspective you see, we’ve also been on our own fertility journey, spanning two fertility clinics in the UK and creating a total of twelve blastocysts from three sets of egg retrievals (via an egg donor) over five years. We then had three separate single embryo transfers, one successful transfer in 2016, one failed transfer in June 2019 and a successful transfer in December 2019. All in all, our fertility treatment was effective, resulting in two children – Talulah who is 3, and Duke who is now 5 months old.

Whilst our egg donation and surrogacy journey has blessed us with having two healthy babies, we’re all too aware that for many this isn’t always the case. With infertility affecting 186 million globally those struggling to conceive are sometimes right under our noses, yet they do so in silence – which breaks my heart. This is part of the reason I walked away from my successful career where I held a mundane board of directors role in the City in London, and decided to dedicate my time and effort to the fertility world, something far more rewarding – TwoDads UK was born in 2016.

Two Dads UK

How It All Started

It started its life as an Instagram and Facebook page. A fun blog tracking our egg donation, surrogacy and IVF journey; helping to normalise same sex parenting and destigmatising surrogacy, whilst sharing our personal account of fertility treatment. The aim being to create a community of people in fertility treatment or exploring treatment, talking openly about their experiences.

Prior to our journey, we spent almost four years researching surrogacy and exploring the country and fertility clinic options available to us. My mind was blown, the options were just as vast as the fertility costs. The frustrating bit? There wasn’t a single place for all this information: I had spreadsheets, emails, brochures, Skype meeting requests, notes, scribbled bits of paper, face-to-face meetings and even trips overseas to understand what our route to fatherhood looked like and what this may end up costing us. This varied massively. After what felt the most draining couple of years, we started exploring UK surrogacy, and the more we understood it, the more it felt right for us. We’re not anti-international treatment, far from it. But for us, completing a journey in the UK where we could see our baby growing, whilst developing a relationship with our surrogate, felt the right thing to do. We set out to understand more about UK surrogacy.

We quickly discovered one of the main differences was that the UK operates altruistic surrogacy – surrogates are reimbursed reasonable expenses only and cannot profit from surrogacy. Whereas, in the USA for example, commercial surrogacy is allowed in some states, and this naturally drives the cost up. Surrogacy in the USA can cost up to $120,000 – $200,000+, whereas in the UK our first pregnancy was £35k which included: donor eggs, our IVF, the surrogate’s expenses, all our blood and semen analysis and some surrogacy legal costs. Depending on your fertility treatment, surrogacy in the UK varies in cost from £10k – £35k. The lower end being traditional surrogacy, (usually involving home insemination) and the higher end being gestational or host surrogacy, using a fertility clinic and an egg donor.

surrogacy laws for gay couples building their familiy

Surrogacy Laws

The other important difference, is the law and the annoying outdated Surrogacy Arrangements Act of 1985. Thankfully, this is being reformed and the consultation period ended on the 11th October 2019 (which we played a role in – more on that in a later article). Currently UK surrogacy law states that upon birth, the surrogate is the legal parent, regardless if she’s biologically linked to the child, and if married then her husband is considered the legal father.

This means that you have to apply for a parental order once the child is six weeks and one day old. Your application is submitted to the Family Courts, where you are assigned a CAFCAS officer. You’re invited to court and also have a home inspection to carry out any safeguarding checks. The Parental Order switches the parental responsibility from the surrogate to the parents, in this case me and my husband. It removes their names from the birth certificate and replaces them with the parents. It’s a very straightforward process, and is usually finalised within four months. The child always remains with its parents from the minute they are born, the parental order doesn’t impact that.

Gaining Our Social Following

So, as TwoDads gathered more followers, I found myself getting busier and busier. Posting, sharing, blogging, vlogging, and also doing my best at being a decent husband and dependable dad, whilst managing a demanding job commuting from Birmingham to London every day (up at 4am, home at 9pm) – something had to give. It was exhausting. We began to receive emails on a weekly basis from intended fathers, initially wanting to explore surrogacy. But, again like us, they didn’t know how. I was taking between six to ten Skype calls per week, some as late as 11pm. It was clear there was a desperate need, and I loved helping people realise their dreams of parenthood, so the rat race was no more.

Soon came media requests, channel 4 documentaries, Christmas TV adverts, magazine articles, radio interviews and podcast requests, brands were listening and they wanted to collaborate. We were doing something different in the face of adversity and brands liked it. All of which complemented our main mission – to help normalise same sex parenting and to destigmatise surrogacy. We were a modern family, showing everyone that underneath it all, we’re simply parents, parenting. Then came the website and a more structured way to support those needing our advice – totally free of charge. Fertility Clinics then heard about us, and soon came our partnerships – supporting those clinics which had a surrogacy programme, where we could offer our emotional support to those IP’s (Intended Parents).

We then designed a Surrogacy Information Event programme, which were six hour sessions, educating people on surrogacy and helping path their route to parenthood. The events were an instant success, selling out each time. Everyone was keen to hear the amazing fertility and surrogacy experts speak. Giving everyone in the room hope that this was possible. Whilst the event was geared to gay men initially, we’ve begun helping straight couples and single intended parents understand surrogacy too. We’re even delighted that one of our straight couples are now pregnant, due in July, after eight unsuccessful rounds of IVF. This is why we do what we do.

Two Dads UK Event

So, if you want to learn more about the egg donor and or surrogacy process and surrogacy costs in the UK, (or surrogacy abroad), then feel free to contact us.

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