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 assist them to plan safe and reliable routes to building families through surrogacy. He has behind-the-scenes knowledge of providers in the US, Ukraine, Greece Georgia and Australia, as well as years of experience with South-east Asian surrogacy. 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.
Admitted to practice in the High Court and the Supreme Court of Victoria, Ben is a member of the Law Institute Of Victoria. He has advocated extensively in Family Law and has represented clients in relation to domestic altruistic surrogacy for over a decade. He has advised extensively on domestic and international Adoption and Surrogacy, and takes a personal interest in this unique and specialised area of law.
Ruth commenced her career in IVF nursing in 1988, she was instrumental in the establishment of the first regional IVF clinic in Australia. Ruth held the position of Director of Nursing at this clinic for twenty-one years. Her wealth of experience in IVF was also utilised to establish clinical services at three other IVF clinics in Australia and the subsequent ongoing management of these clinics. Ruth’s extensive experience in performing ultrasounds and embryo transfers for fertility patients for 28 years is a valuable asset to the patients of Life Fertility Clinic. Ruth has been the main point of contact for couples undertaking Surrogacy at Life Fertility
International Client Liaison, Fertility Center of Las Vegas
International Client Liaison, Fertility Center of Las Vegas
Ella supports Australians engaging in US IVF procedures with Dr Bruce Shapiro’s Fertility Center of Las Vegas. Ella is well-known to many as the past marketing manager of Families Through Surrogacy and a mother to two boys. She lives in Sydney and has a wide network of contacts in the Australian and international IVF communities. Her knowledge and contacts help to smooth the process for intended parents.
Nir lives in Toronto, Canada with his partner. Nir’s background is in business improvment and marketing however after seeing first hand the obstacles international IP’s endure, he felt that his mission and passion is to bring the awareness of the Canadian surrogacy option to IP’s seeking alternative options. He has now dedicated his life to support IP’s around the world to have a smooth and straight-forward journey in Canada. Alongside Dr. Librach and The CReATe Fertility Centre, he has now established ‘Babies Come True’, a concierge service for CReATe international Ip’s that will help and support their whole surrogacy journey. Nir and his husband are currently going through the process of surrogacy in Canada themselves and love to share their story.
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.
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 gave birth in October 2017
Charli’s journey started with local Intended Parents local with whom she had a long term relationship. That faltered after two failed transfers. Saddened, Charli attended FTS Brisbane conference in 2016. It was there she met a heterosexual couple who had also had a recent breakdown with their surrogate. They became friends and began supporting each other. Charli ultimately offered to carry for this couple. Theirs has been a loving journey, albeit with ups and downs due to Australian laws being so difficult and unsupportive of surrogates and unenforceable for IPs. Charli birthed Lucia in early December 2017.
Mandy and her partner have a blended family of 8 – her youngest is a 20 year-old. Her partners youngest is aged 13. Mandy was a surrogate for her girlfriend who was unable to carry due to a history of uterine cancer. Using donated embryos and enduring five failed transfers, Mandy was 51 when they started the process and 53 when she delivered following her sixth transfer. The delivery was very pre-term, a baby boy arriving at 29 weeks 5 days. But now aged two years, Mandy and her partner continue to play an active role in his life.
Admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Western Australia and the High Court of Australia, Kirsten has practised in the area of Family Law since 2007. Kirsten took a keen interest in Surrogacy Law in 2014, co-presenting to local fertility clinics and family lawyers in relation to local and international surrogacy. She has prepared WA altruistic Surrogacy Agreements for intended parents and independent legal advice to both intended parents and surrogates
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
Felicity’s autoimmune condition was always destined to make pregnancy difficult for her. She and her husband had 9 IVF transfers, 4 miscarriages and the stillbirth of their daughter in Australia before investigating surrogacy. Her son Jackson was born in Oklahoma in June 2017 after their first transfer in the US.
Steve & Jen live in Canberra. After a long history with severe endometriosis Jen had her ovaries removed and some eggs frozen. After a failed IVF cycle using the frozen eggs Jen had a total hysterectomy. Steve and Jen then needed help from an egg donor and a surrogate. With special help from an egg donor from NSW and a surrogate in VIC, they now have a beautiful daughter Holly. With a few good embryos left they hope to start a sibling journey one day.
Amey has 3 children of her own (19, 9 and 8) and a very patient husband. She met her Sydney-based IPs – a gay couple – through an Australian Facebook group in February 2016. Working with an egg donor they created and froze just one embryo. Their first transfer worked and Amey gave birth on 30 June 2017 in Canberra. Amey will discuss what motivated her to carry and her experience of this extraordinary journey.
Lauren carried for her best friend, lawyer Nicole Russell and they commenced their surrogacy journey in late 2016. Lauren became pregnant after the first transfer and the baby was born in December 2017
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.
Sarah Jefford is a family and surrogacy lawyer working from Melbourne. Sarah has personal experience of infertility and IVF, has since become an egg donor and has just carried as a surrogate using her own eggs. In 2017, Sarah published the Australian Surrogacy Handbook to assist people to understand the surrogacy laws in Australia. She will have just given birth to a surrogate baby in February 2018
Gabby Goldberg and her partner Harris welcomed a daughter via surrogacy in the USA in Dec 2016 using a surrogacy agency in Minnesota and a Fertility clinic in Nevada. After 2 failed attempts (one non-starter and one failed medical exam) to find a donor through donor agencies they enlisted the help of Donor Concierge who found the egg donor they ultimately used.
Nicole and her husband attempted to have a child for many years via IVF. Over four gruelling years, Nicole underwent countless procedures to achieve her dream of being a mother but unfortunately none were successful. Nicole’s best friend offered to carry a child for Nicole and her husband and as a result, they commenced their surrogacy journey in late 2016. Nicole’s surrogate became pregnant after the first transfer and the baby is due to be born in December 2017. Nicole is also a lawyer and has a special interest in reproductive law given her own personal story.
Christian & Juan both grew up in Spain. They have settled together in Sydney and their son Anxo was born in Mexico in 2016. Their video & photo diaries of their son’s first year have been a joy to follow. Keen for a sibling for Anxo, they found an Australian surrogate Cassie, after just hours on the ASC forum. Cassie is due to give birth late in 2017. They’l talk about their experience of surrogacy in Australia and how it compared to their Mexico experience.
Daniela & her husband attended an FTS seminar in November 2015 and after hearing from several speakers decided surrogacy with Lotus in Ukraine was a completely achievable route to realising a family. Pregnancy and using Daniela’s own eggs was not an option as Daniela has a history of breast cancer. Hence they knew little about the IVF process. But just two and a half months later they were in Kiev meeting their surrogate and it was all systems go ! Their surrogate become pregnant on the first transfer, and they welcomed a beautiful baby daughter with the help of Lotus Surrogacy in December 2016 in Kiev.
Megan is a 37 year old egg donor and surrogate from QLD. Megan started her journey in 2010 as an egg donor and has helped create 11 children from her eggs. She met her surrogacy Intended Parents in an online forum in 2014. Their relationship was long distance with Megan in Hervey Bay QLD and her recipients in Sydney NSW. After 6 unsuccessful transfers and a 2 different egg donors Megan gave birth on the Sunshine Coast in February 2017.
After 5 years of trying to conceive a baby through 8 unsuccessful rounds of IVF using her own eggs and donor eggs and with unexplained infertility and possible autoimmune problems, multiple surgeries and a million different medications, Ellenor and her husband decided to stop wasting time and money on things that weren’t working for them. They jumped into surrogacy in the Ukraine with Lotus and were extremely lucky to fall pregnant with their now 12 week old daughter on their second transfer. She was born 5 weeks early and spent 22 days in NICU. Ellenor has an ongoing relationship with her Ukraine surrogate.
Ben (33) and his partner Terry (34) live in Brisbane, Queensland and have been together nearly 6 years. Their daughter Ivy was born on 3 January 2018 in Geelong, Victoria via an altruistic surrogate after 3 years of planning. Ben and Terry looked at many different options, including commercial surrogacy, before deciding to pursue altruistic surrogacy in Australia. While the process wasn’t without its hiccups, it was all worth it the moment they finally got to meet their daughter and see their dream of a family become a reality.
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’.
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.
Amanda lost her second son in 2014 when her uterus ruptured at 36 weeks due to an undiagnosed condition of placenta increta, requiring an emergency hysterectomy. She and her husband travelled to the USA and were matched with a surrogate, but their IVF cycle didn’t produce any viable embryos to transfer. In 2015 they started IVF cycles here in Australia. A close friend offered to be their surrogate and after 10 IVF stimulation cycles and six embryo transfers they had a baby girl in September 2017.
Jess is now 30 years old and has been aware from a young age that having children was going to be a difficult journey. After an unsuccessful round of IVF, she and her partner agreed that due to her specific circumstances they would not try again. Jess and her partner required donor eggs as well as a surrogate. Fortunately a family friend offered to be their surrogate at the beginning of their journey and after finding an egg donor they have now completed all the legal and psychological counselling required and have 7 frozen embryos ready for a first transfer early in 2018.
Simon & his gay partner engaged in surrogacy with New Life Mexico which led to a successful birth in 2017. The Mexican state where they engaged has no laws regarding surrogacy. Their exit required three months in which to attain Australian citizenship, passports and other exit documents before they could come home. Simon will provide advice to those considering Mexico
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.
After a ten year IVF journey, involving 21 embryo transfers and one egg donor, Trina 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. Trina is now a proud mum to gorgeous twin girls, Bayli and Kendal, who were born in February 2017. She will share their story
Doug is a gay dad from Melbourne who now divides his time between Brisbane and Melbourne. Like many Australians, he and his partner used Growing Generations in California for gestational surrogacy. While it took many months to be matched, things then happened very quickly and seven months later their surrogate delivered twins. Doug’s children are now 10 year olds! Doug will discuss how US surrgoacy works, how they decided on an IVF clinic and how payments, insurance and the US hospital system work
Daniel and his partner engaged in surrogacy in the US and have recently welcomed a newborn. Daniel will discuss their experience of the US system, how they chose an agency, IVF clinic and how US surrogacy works from a parents perspective
Sydney doctor Shane Woods had always wanted to start a family but it was only when he met architect Scott Koopman, the idea began to take shape. The couple considered all their options before deciding to engage surrogacy agency Growing Generations in California where they welcomed their twins in 2015
Marian is an intended parent from Adelaide. Shortly after becoming married, Marian was diagnosed with 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 were successful in engaging with their (now) close friend and surrogate – Brisbane based Rachel Kunde. While they experienced tragedy when Baby Hugo was born with a rare, fatal neurological condition, they refused to give up. David and Marian are now looking forward to the birth of ‘Thumper’ in June 2018 again with the help of Rachel. In their spare time, Marian and David run Fertility Connections (a volunteer-run community for surrogates, intended parents, egg and sperm donors).
Cass is 28 years old and from Tinonee on the NSW mid North Coast near Taree. 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. On 5 December 2017, Cass had an extended 24 hour labour in Manning River hospital, losing three litres of blood. Nonetheless she delivered a baby boy Atlas for gay couple Juan & Christian. While she wanted to carry again for another couple, Doctors have advised Cass that another surrogacy would be to risky for her own health.
Hilary & her husband have a 10 year old boy that Hillary birthed naturally. Seven years ago at the age of 27,with a two year old son, Hillary she was diagnosed with cervical cancer that spread. After a hysterectomy, chemotherapy and radiation carrying another child was out of the question. The couple attempted surrogacy in Nepal, but attempts with their last remaining embryos were unsuccessful. Finally, Hillary’s cousin offered to donate her eggs and they signed with a Canadian agency in Feb 2016 who matched them with a surrogate in Edmonton Alberta within four weeks. A successful transfer occured in feb 2017 and little Leo was born in November 2017.
Robina and her husband searched for an Australian surrogate through the Australian Surrogacy Community Facebook group. Hayley Christidis offered to help them bring their baby to life and they became parents for the first time in March 2017
Caryn undertook 14 rounds of IVF in Australia resulting in seven transfers of which just one resulted in a pregnancy which miscarried at 7 weeks. Diagnosed with poor quality eggs & endometriosis, in May 2015 Caryn & her partner engaged in Canadian surrogacy. Further problems meant they were close to giving up in 2016, but decided to give it one last shot using a second surrogate and donated Canadian embryos. Caryn is now expecting a baby boy in March 2018. She will discuss the heart-breaking lows & highs of the process and how their agency supported them along the way.
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.
Communications Manager, Families Through Surrogacy (WA)
Communications Manager, Families Through Surrogacy (WA)
Olivia has been working with Families Through Surrogacy for over 18 months, liaising closely with IVF clinics, surrogacy agencies and law firms inn Australia and globally. As a result, she has developed a great understanding of IVF & surrogacy arrangements and how they vary in respect to cost and eligibility around the globe
After experiencing two wonderful pregnancies and labours, Michelle began to explore the idea of surrogacy. Motherhood came so easily to Michelle and she feels very passionate about giving back by helping another couple become a family and by spreading the word about surrogacy in Australia. Not knowing anyone personally in need of a surrogate, she turned to the online communities. Michelle connected with her IPs at a Families Through Surrogacy seminar in Perth in February 2017 and has recently finished counselling, psych assessments and legals. Michelle is nearly 26, and currently awaiting approval from the RTC before going on to create embryos and starting transfers this year.