Sam is dad to two girls Zoe & Ruby via surrogacy and has become one of the globe’s foremost commentators and researchers on surrogacy trends. He convenes conferences and seminars for intended parents in Ireland, UK, Australia and Scandinavia. Sam consults with singles and couples from around the globe to assit them to plan safe and reliable routes to building families through surrogacy. He has visited providers in the US, Ukraine, India, Cambodia and Australia and works remotely with providers in Greece & South east Asia. He has seen the best and worst that surrogacy can deliver. He continues to promote best practice through conferences and online resources. He runs a healthcare research consultancy and is the author of three books.
Liz is an experienced clinical embryologist with a Ph.D. in developmental biology. She has set up and run fertility treatment laboratories internationally, providing high specification facilities focused on the perpetuation of excellent technical skills and procedures. Liz was delighted to be invited to join the team at Life Fertility Clinic. She maintains a global dialogue with the fertility treatment community to continually improve Life Fertility Clinic’s scientific services.
Megan founded Surro Connections after seeing first-hand the need for this unique company both Domestic and Internationally. Megan is directly involved with every Intended Parent and Surrogate Mother who becomes a part of Surro Connections. Megan is the mother of 3 beautiful children, 1 born through IVF and has been a Gestational Surrogate for other three families as well. Her experience in deeply rooted careers after graduating with her MBA in both Business Administration and Accounting were not nearly as fulfilling as the work she does today with each individual involved in Surro Connections. She has also met all qualifications to be a Mediator within the State of Oregon.
Stacie is a parent with her husband to three children. Having completed building her own family, she decided to help others that needed the assistance of a gestational surrogate to become parents. She proceeded to help two couples become parents by being their gestational surrogate. Her first set of intended parents were a heterosexual couple for whom she carried twins. Her second set of intended parents were a same-sex male couple for whom she carried a singleton. She now works with Oregon Reproductive Medicine sharing her experiences as a gestational surrogate and what this meant for her and her family; advising intended parents on some of the key elements of a successful surrogacy journey and how to build a trusted relationship with their gestational surrogate; and answering the numerous questions and addressing the common fears that many intended parents have when getting started on their own surrogacy journey.
Erez Baron is a parent to two twin girls via egg donor surrogacy. His journey took him and his partner to the USA to pursue their lifelong dream of becoming parents. He knows first-hand the multiple difficult and incredibly important decisions that intended parents need to make – surrogacy agency, egg donor and IVF clinic selection; budgeting and insurance; genetic screening; the number of embryos to transfer; and many more. At Oregon Reproductive Medicine, Erez educates international intended parents and coordinates new families’ surrogacy and egg donation journeys. He works to tailor the parenthood journey to the needs of each couple or single parent. To date he has guided more than 250 couples and single parents in their processes. Before becoming a dad and joining ORM, Erez worked as a product manager and project leader in the global hi-tech sector.
Dana is an Israeli lawyer practising since 2003, who specializes in surrogacy and assisted reproductive technology. She is the founder and legal adviser of Lotus Surrogacy as well as a partner in Israeli law firm Panek-Magdassi. Dana has handled the legal and logistical aspects of over 200 surrogacy cases in India, Nepal and Ukraine over the last 12 years. She has vast experience in solving the legal issues that may arise during surrogacy abroad.
Greg is the father of 4 children via US surrogacy– Eliana who is nearly 6 and Saraya who will be 4 this year as 10 week old twins!!. With his partner of 10 years, Mark, they undertook surrogacy in Oregon, USA. The couple used a USA agency to engage a carrier, egg donor and IVF clinic t. Having been through the process three times, spoken to many couples over the years to provide guidance and insight, Greg is well placed to speak on surrogacy in America. Greg is the former Chair of Gays Dad Australia (WA Chapter) – a support group that brings together gays dads to connect, interact and building lifelong relationships for the parents and children.
Angela , along with her Husband Tim, are parents who had a life changing experience 3 years ago, when their miracle daughter was born via their surrogate. Angela’s cousin Lisa put her hand up to be the bearer of this amazing, wonderful, words don’t really do it justice, gift! Angela has Cystic Fibrosis and in 2008 needed to have a double lung transplant due to chronic lung failure. Since then, Angela has gone from strength to strength. However due to taking anti-rejection medications, it would have been highly dangerous and probably fatal for her to carry her own child. Surrogacy has enabled Tim and Angela to have the family they always dreamed of.
Andy Brough & Simon Curtis have determinedly worked their way through a broad range of surrogacy arrangements – international, domestic, gestational and traditional, to arrive at parenthood. They started their journey about 5 years ago in India but had a stillborn at 21 weeks. They tried again but then India closed to gay couples. Andy’s sister-in-law offered to be their surrogate and they joined Egg Donation Australia to find a donor. After a few unsuccessful attempts with Andy’s sister-in-law, they took up their egg donor Carla Pincombe’s offer to carry for them, using her own eggs ( traditional surrogacy). Their perseverance paid off when they became dads in late March 2017.
After a ten year IVF journey, involving 21 embryo transfers and one egg donor, Trevor and his wife thought having children was out of the question. That was until they discovered overseas surrogacy. After many months of due diligence they entrusted Lotus Surrogacy to achieve their parenting goal. Trevor is now a proud dad to gorgeous twin girls, Bayli and Kendal, who were born in February 2017. As a result, Trevor became a parent pioneer for surrogacy in the Ukraine and is well acquainted with the Australian and Ukrainian government processes.
Melissa Holman is one of those wonderful women who loves to give. Gold Coast-based, she is the founder of Egg Donation Australia, a nurse and mother of two who gave birth as a surrogate in 2015 as well as in 2017 for a second couple.
Amelia is a 27 year old traditional surrogate, whose journey along with fiance Shane and intended parents Cyrus and Ameera culminated in the birth of Baby Shireen in December 2015. Together their team weathered many highs and lows including 3 IVF cycles and 4 transfers over a 3 year journey. Amelia remains a passionate supporter of Australian surrogacy and hopes that many others can experience the positive journey she has.
Cass is 28 years old and from Tinonee on the NSW mid North Coast. She has three children of her own aged 10, 8 and 6. Becoming a surrogate is something she has always wanted to do. Cass is passionate about helping others achieve their dreams and goals. She has donated her eggs twice to couples to help them achieve their dreams, so surrogacy was the next step to giving the greatest gift of a family. She is carrying for gay couple Juan & Christian and the baby is due in December 2017
Carla became an egg donor early in 2013 after finishing breast feeding her youngest child. Since then she has donated to more than nine recipients – four have had babies and three are currently pregnant. Two of her recipient couples have required a surrogate. Carla is passionate about known donation, and all of her recipients know each other. Like other Australian donors, Carla also became a surrogate, completing a Traditional arrangement in Victoria in March 2017. She is a moderator with Egg Donation Australia
Charmaine is 33 years old and moved to Brisbane from Nz 10 years ago. She has four children of her own and one son who’s no longer with us. Charmaine has wanted to be a surrogate from the age of 15 and when she lost her son it made the urge to help others even stronger. She has been on this adventure for 4 years now and in that time experienced 8 transfers and three miscarriages. The 8th transfer was the magic one and Charmaine is now 19 and half weeks pregnant with surro bubs
A Queenslander, Rachel first became interested in being an egg donor in 2005. Frustrated at the absence of information available, she was directed to Aussie Egg Donors. After her first egg donation Rachel took over administration of this popular forum. Between 2005 and 2008, Rachel donated her eggs 4 times to 3 couples, resulting in the birth of three girls. Rachel describes her progression to surrogacy as: ‘the next natural step in helping infertile couples’, however Queensland law then banned altruistic surrogacy. Rachel has submitted evidence for the parliamentary hearing into decriminalization of altruistic surrogacy and has seen some of her recommendations adopted. Rachel has used her own eggs and the intended fathers sperm (traditional surrogacy) to help both heterosexual and gay Queensland couples have a family. Rachel is a very busy mother to her own three daughters and a midwife. She admits she could not have helped infertile couples ‘without the amazing support of my family and a very understanding husband’.
Renee Golland is a 34 year old Victorian surrogate and mother of three kids- a 6 year old and 4.5 year old twins. She works part time, studies at Uni and shares parenting duties with her wonderful, hands-on husband, Matthew.
Renee birthed a son for her first IP’s in November 2014 which she describes as an amazing experience. She is currently on her second surrogacy journey in VIC with another set of IP’s. Renee coordinates successful surrogacy dinners in Melbourne and her blog www.tummymummy11.wordpress.com chronicles her journey.
Rhiannon is based in Melbourne and has three children of her own, aged 11, 9 and 7 years. Her gay brother Clinton and his partner are based in Sydney. But she didn’t hesitate in offering to assist them to achieve their dream of becoming parents. As their gestational surrogate she was able to help make their dream a reality, delivering Zara in December 2014 and Aiden in November 2016 with the assistance of IVF Australia in Sydney.
Bec gave birth to a baby girl on 21st Match 2016. Her journey was mostly smooth sailing with a misdiagnosis of gestational diabetes being the only major hiccup. Bec (in Melbourne) carried for intended parents in the ACT who she hadn’t known before and she felt more comfortable with such an arrangement. She will talk about developing supportive connections with Intended Parents and tips for those keen to locate a surrogate.
Hayley is a working mother of 2 children from Perth. She was always interested in surrogacy and seriously considered becoming a surrogate after the birth of her last child in 2014. She didn’t know anyone personally needing a surrogate so she searched for intending parents through the Australian Surrogacy Community Facebook group. After finding the IPs she wanted to help & spending time getting to know each other, she offered to help them bring their baby to life. She gave birth in March 2017 with her husband and intending parents by her side. Hayley remains passionate about surrogacy and wants to share her story to raise awareness and insight into surrogacy in Australia.
David Sandberg & his wife Marian are parents from Adelaide. Shortly after becoming married, Marian was diagnosed with a series of complicated auto-immune diseases which would put her and her baby’s health at serious risk should she attempt a pregnancy. It became their quest to find a surrogate through the online community. They have experienced tragedy with the loss of Baby Hugo several days post birth, but David and Marian both continue to give much to the Australian surrogacy comunity. In their spare time, Marian and David run Fertility Connections (a volunteer-run community for surrogates, intended parents, egg and sperm donors).
Shannon Garner is a mother of two living in New South Wales. She always knew she wanted to give the gift of surrogacy and set about to find a couple to help. Shannon found a same sex NSW couple and started the process of surrogacy so they could realize their dream of becoming fathers. She gave birth to their daughter in November 2014 and in 2017 gave birth to a sibling for the same couple to complete their family. Shannon has been interviewed extensively in the media, including a podcast with Mia Freedman. Shannon’s book ‘Labour of Love’ details her extraordinary journey
Michael & his partner Brendon attended their first Family Thru Surrogacy Seminar around Nov/Dec 2015 and on 25th July 2017 their baby boy was born via Surrogacy in Canada. Michael thought being a Dad would never happen but the weeks since Logan’s birth have been the best ever. Michael hopes to stay active in the WA and Aussie Surrogacy communities to help guide people on their journeys. They will share their amazing journey and provide advice to others considering Canada
Shavone is a 28 year old mother of two young children and whilst she had no trouble conceiving or carrying, by being involved in parenting forums had her eyes opened up to other’s infertility struggles and wished she could help somehow. Joining the Australian Surrogacy Community in 2015 she met with an interstate lady through the community and proceeded to make an offer to carry for her as a gestational surrogate in January 2016. As a result of the fourth transfer she is currently carrying her intended mothers child, due in March 2018.
Janet & Lee Giddings have pursued their dream of parenthood since 2012, attempting surrogacy in not only Australia but three other nations. In October 2014 they applied for a visa for surrogacy in India and Lotus Surrogacy assisted them in selecting an Indian egg donor in Mumbai. When India closed, they refocused efforts on Nepal and then ultimately in Ukraine. With the help of Lotus their son Lewis was finally born in Kiev in May 2017.
At age 25 Jillian was diagnosed with severe endometriosis. Prior to a hystectomy at 34, she had her first child. A decade later, folowing a divorce, she met Alex . – he wanted a family and Jillian could not give him a child of his own. In early 2012 – aged 39 Jillian began to research surrogacy and IVF. Discovering Egg Donation Australia, she and Alex posted their story. Through EDA they met a donor. They connected with a surrogate and had their first transfer in 2013 which resulted in a miscarriage at 9 weeks. They transferred again unsuccessfully but their surrogate was unable to continue. Devastated they went back to the drawing board when out of the blue, a friend from work offered to carry. On the 7th May 2015 after a stressful pregnancy and birth they had a daughter . Jillian has appeared on Nine news and the Today Show to try and push for new legislation . She & her husband have a strong bond with their surrogate and her family.
Peter & Kevin engaged in surrogacy with Oregon Reproductive Medicine & NorthWest Surrogacy in Portland USA after attending an FTS seminar a few years ago. Today they are dads to a 5 month old boy William, conceived with the help of an ORM egg Donor and after three embryo transfers. They will discuss their journey
Elisha is from Coffs Harbour and has two children aged 4 and 6. She was interested in helping another couple become parents and after completing her family she joined the Australian Surrogacy Community Facebook page in 2015. Through the page she met a couple from Sydney, and after getting to know them offered to carry for them. In October 2016 Elisha gave birth to their beautiful baby boy, with the assistance of Genea Sydney.
Andy and his partner, Sam, began their surrogacy journey in 2013, beginning the process with a Thai agency and clinic. Two failed split cycles later with no embryos suitable for freezing and none making the first transfer, they began the whole process again in Australia, this time using Andy’s sister’s eggs and Sam’s sperm. Unlucky in Australia, they received an offer to carry from a friend, Jenn, in Canada Andy had met years earlier on an online forum. Jenn had carried twins for a Canadian couple and was considering doing it again. Successful on the first transfer, Orlando was born in May 2017
After 8 years of trying to conceive here in Australia (10 fresh cycles, 2 miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy) Kyla’s doctors decided that given severe adenomyosis coupled with a multitude of other added complications (100% blocked tubes – both sides), low iron, low blood pressure and negative blood to name a few) she was never going to carry a successful pregnancy.
So Kyla and her husband turned to surrogacy. After exhausting all local surrogacy options they looked offshore. In 2012, after countless hours of research, investigation and email communication they engaged in Thailand. Their first fresh cycle resulted in Sabai Brook (now 4.5 years old) being born in January 2013. They began trying for a sibling but it took another 3 fresh cycles, 2 frozen cycles and a miscarriage (all in Thailand) before their second daughter, Isara Lake (nearly 3) was born in October 2014.
Kyla & her husband are still active members of the Surrogacy Community both here in Australia and in Thailand (they return annually to visit the girl’s Tummy Mummies). Kyla is also the Admin of the Surrogacy in SA FB page and part of the admin team of the Australian Surrogacy Community FB page. Kyla and her family attend catch-ups in SA regularly and have done a number of newspaper, magazine and TV segments highlighting the positive outcomes of surrogacy.
Diagnosed with heart failure age 21, Miranda first visited an IVF clinic in 2013 aged 30, having avoided friends’ baby showers for years. Problems with her own eggs and the need for genetic screening meant she turned to Egg Donation Australia for a donor. Finally, she took up the offer of her best friend and sister in law Megan to carry, with the help of IVF Australia in Sydney. Two IVF cycles with her donor in 2013 & 2014 produced no viable embryos. Then, switching to a new donor, her surrogate fell pregnant in May 2014. Harrison was born 2 weeks early in February 2015. Miranda will talk about bonding with her child without a genetic connection and the the importance of trust and openness.
Anna is a school teacher and is closely involved in admining the Australian surrogate facebook group. Anna surveyed 150 members of this online surrogate support group. Every past, current & potential altruistic surrogate responded, shedding light on just how domestic surrogacy is evolving. Anna is currently looking to match with a South Australian couple
Stephen & his partner Andrew each have Australian/Uk Citizesnhip. They engaged in surrogacy in Texas, USA and did their IVF with Fertility Centre of Las Vegas. Their first attempt resulted in a miscarriage at 9 weeks but their second embryo transfer resulted in the birth of boy/girl twins Reilly & Phoenix just 5 weeks ago on 1 Sept 2017. Stephen will share the ups and downs of their journey