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, Asia 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 of egg donation and surrogacy around the globe. He has seen the best and worst that surrogacy can deliver. He continues to promote best practice through conferences, one-on-one consultation and online resources. He runs a healthcare research consultancy and is the author of three books and is a non-executive director of the charity Surrogacy Australia.
Craig Reisser is a parent through egg donor surrogacy in the USA. He and his partner Massimo have two boys (4 years and 2 yrs). Their two journeys have taken them to both US coasts and they have personally experienced many of the different options that intended parents are faced with deciding between: fresh vs. frozen transfers; transferring 1 vs. 2 embryos; with or without PGS; working with a first time vs. experienced egg donor and/or surrogates; working with a surrogate with vs. without her own health insurance. Before becoming a dad Craig was an international investment banker for nearly 20 years. He now leads Oregon Reproductive Medicine’s international programs, and Craig helps intended parents understand their various options when it comes to egg donor surrogacy so that they can make the informed decisions that are right for them.
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.
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Kate Pippia is the Director of Identilab, a Brisbane-based laboratory specialising in DNA testing for parentage and kinship. Kate has 14 years experience as a human identification specialist, including 9 years as a forensic DNA analyst. She and her team are highly experienced in providing evidence of claimed family relationships, both locally and abroad. Kate has a special interest in surrogacy cases and understands the emotions experienced by intended parents, having been on that journey herself. Identilab is proud to be the preferred provider of DNA testing for Families Through Surrogacy and considers it a privilege to be able to assist with this part of the process.
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.
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 matched with a South Australian couple and works for Surrogacy Australia as their Surrogacy Support Manager
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 12 month old boy William, conceived with the help of an ORM egg Donor and after three embryo transfers. Peter will discuss their journey
Jesse (45) & his gay partner Rob Brunker (50) are Gympie farmers. They engaged with a Gold coast surrogate Jane Miller and an egg donor from Coffs Harbour. Their son Lachlan was born in May 2017 and they are expecting a daughter on 4th December. They cant believe the incredible gift their surrogate has given them.
Glenn and Mike’s surrogacy journey saw them look at options around the world before finding a surrogate and egg donor locally. Their daughter Annabelle was born in May. Glenn and Mike actively support the surrogacy community running their own Facebook page for gay intended parents.
Emmy is a Melbourne mum of three children aged 7, 5 and 2. She is also a secondary teacher and part time tutor. In 2017 she met a couple online and offered to be their surrogate. Their first transfer worked and they welcomed baby Harry into the world on 13th August 2018.
Following a cancer diagnosis in 2013, Renee & Clinton turned to IVF as their only chance of falling pregnant. After 8 failed attempts, their doctor recommended surrogacy as their only option. So in June 2017 Renee and her husband attended the Melbourne FTS conference. After lots of research, talking to other couples who had completed their families through Lotus Surrogacy, Renee and her partner took a leap of faith and made the decision to proceed. On 1 June 2018 they welcomed beautiful twins Finley and Eliza. Renee will share their journey
John Thompson and his wife started IVF back in 2011 in Melbourne and had their 1st pregnancy in 2012. Unfortunately, the pregnancy was not successful, but they continued with IVF and in October 2014 gave birth to their daughter Maisie. With two embryos’ left they tried and failed with IVF in 2015 and 2016 including one failed natural pregnancy, before trying IVF with Donor eggs in Greece. They travelled to Greece twice with no result and were on the brink of giving up until by chance they came across a Families Through Surrogacy seminar. After the seminar, John and his wife decided to pursue surrogacy in the Ukraine and travelled to Kiev in December 2017 to plan arrangements. In May this year they discovered they were pregnant and will travel to the Ukraine in December to pick up their baby girl.
Brett & Stuart are a Sydney couple who have been together for 8 years, married for 3, with UK and New Zealand citizenship at the time they embarked on surrogacy. They engaged with Create IVF in Toronto for the transfer. Their donor came from a US Egg Donation agency and they worked with ANU Fertility in Canada as their surrogacy agency. Their son, Findlay, was born very premature at 24 weeks and 490gms and is now a healthy and very happy one year old. Brett will discuss their Canadian experience and surviving the pitfalls of when things don’t quite go to plan.
Susan is a mum to three grown children who wanted to help a family who couldn’t carry their own children. Two years ago she joined the Aust Surrogacy Community Facebook group and put herself out there as a Surrogate looking for IPs. Fourteen months later, after one transfer, a baby boy was born and a new family was created. Apart from having and raising her own children, this was by far the biggest and toughest thing Susan has ever done , but despite that, it’s a journey she looks forward to taking again in 2019 with her new friends and IP’s.
David and his husband Benjamin went though surrogacy in Oregon in the US with their daughter born in August 2016. They used an anonymous egg donor and were fortunate enough to have an experienced surrogate carry for them. Their journey had one unsuccessful transfer and a few unforeseen delays but resulted in a healthy, happy baby girl.
James & Shane’s journey to parenthood has been ongoing for several years – first investigating adoption, then looking into fostering, and only in the last two years considering Surrogacy. Initially they commenced their Surrogacy journey in India, but without success and India having closed to foreigners, they switched to Canada and are part way through this process. Being such a complex, multi-faceted and emotional process, they have learnt the importance of being aligned with trusted, experienced and genuinely caring professionals along with the importance of having really positive relationships with an egg-donor and Surrogate.
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.
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
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.
With multiple clotting disorders, Kate had known she couldn’t carry a pregnancy since the age of 16 years, given the risks to her and the unborn baby. Her eldest sister in the ACT, out of the blue offered to be their surrogate. Commencing a cycle they created 6 frozen day 3 embryos. After 6 months they thawed and none survived. A second cycle created more Day 5 blastocysts and a fresh transfer this time led to the birth of daughter Ruby.
Rachel & Craig Mustoe met in 2011 and were engaged in 2014. They decided that surrogacy was their best option due to medical issues Rachel experienced at age 30. After extensive research and attendance at both Melbourne and Brisbane FTS conferences in 2016 they met a lovely group from CFC and Create IVF. They signed up and the journey was just magical after that. Within 15 months their 4 precious embryos were flown over and on their last try they were blessed with a beautiful baby boy Logan born in London, Ontario on 30th January, 2018.
Marnie is a gestational surrogate living with her husband and two young children in North-West Sydney. Before engaging IPs, She and her husband sought counselling from a well regarded surrogacy counsellor. In February 2017 she met her Canberra based IPs through the Australian Surrogacy Community Facebook page. She birthed her first surrogate baby in August 2018.
Kristy had a kidney transplant in 2009 due to a hereditary condition. Her doctor advised carrying a pregnancy would be too risky. Kristy researched surrogacy for the next few years until she found Fertility Connections in 2016 and then the ASC Facebook group – she realised there was a lot more to learn. Kristy met her surrogate on the ASC group in early 2017. After some ‘dating’ she offered in August. They transferred later that year and the first transfer worked. Sienna was born in August 2018.
After coming to what they thought was the end of the road in their own fertility journey, Olivia & James changed course and set off for the Ukraine to make their baby dreams come true. Two years later on 9 October 2018, they arrived back in Australia with a healthy baby boy.
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. They hit it off straight away and spent the next year ticking off all counseling, psychology assessments, legalities and RTC approval boxes. In April 2018 they started the IVF process and after two egg retrieval’s and three embryo transfers are currently 14 weeks pregnant, due in April 2019. Being able to share all the highs and lows with her IPs has made this whole process incredible. Michelle will talk about her experience and what she looked for in IPs
Frances and her partner are a Sydney couple who initially engaged in India for surrogacy, but lost their investment there when India closed. They instead located an Egg donor in LA, created embryos there and were getting ready to refinance their home to do US surrogacy. Then close friends from Victoria were visiting, and asked why they were refinancing. A few days later they called to offer to help via altruistic surrogacy. The embryo transfer took place in LA. Their second attempt led to their birth of twins!
Jenny offered to carry for her good friends, Amanda and Duncan after Amanda needed a hysterectomy after losing a son.It was a long considered decision to offer, but one which Jenny and her partner never regretted. However they required eight seprate IVF transfers until they had success. Jenny birthed a baby girl Macy in September 2017. Jenny will discuss how positive and fulfilling the journey was, despite the long road to get there.
Lauren and her partner Ben turned to surrogacy after two IVF attempts and having attended an FTS event in 2016. They engaged with Create IVF, creating 8 embryos there with the help of a Canadian egg donor in June 2017. Their first embryo transfer was successful and Rosie was born in July 2018. Within just two weeks they were able to return home to Brisbane. They will discuss the process and what she learnt along the way.
Rachell gave birth to a healthy little girl on October 18th, Harper Grace. Rachelle has known Harper’s mum (Jess) since she was born. When Rachell found out about Jess and her husband Justin’s struggles to conceive naturally she offered with the support of her husband Peter and daughters Victoria (16) and Amelia (11) to help them through surrogacy. After one failed attempt Rachell was lucky enough to fall pregnant with Harper in February 2018. It was a difficult pregnancy with morning sickness, Gestational diabetes and high blood pressure . Jess and Justin were extremely supportive. Its only weeks since the birth but Rachell sees Jess and Harper a couple of times a week. Rachell will talk about the emotional, medical and friendship aspects of altruistic surrogacy