Each October scores of attendees come together in six different Australian capital cities – singles, couples, gay and heterosexual, some in their twenties, some in their fifties. They share a common goal – to create a family with the help of yet-unknown angels – donors and surrogates.
It’s these more complex journeys to parenthood that they need help navigating. Some have known for a long time that they would need help on this journey. Many others have endured years of failed IVF.
To help, Growing Families (formerly Families Through Surrogacy) hosts educational seminars a few times a year. In each city at least four or five of the speakers are parents via surrogacy or surrogates themselves. Many would never have the babies they hold so proudly, were it not for attending the same event a year or two earlier.
Lauryn Jordan in Melbourne, Hannah Smith in Adelaide and Kate Ranger in Perth had all known from a young age that they could never carry.
Each was born with MRKH, a condition invisible to outsiders, which means none was born with a uterus.
Both Lauryn and Kate met their surrogates at a Growing Families event. For these mums, an unexpected benefit was the lifelong friendships made – relationships grounded in honesty, respect and admiration.
For Hannah it was her cousin who offered to carry, though for this intended mum things were a little more complicated because she was single. South Australian clinics were not allowed to treat her. So began a cross-border journey that ultimately led to the birth of a daughter in late June 2019.
Barriers like this might put off some. But the hundreds of intended parents and surrogates I’ve met over the past decade share a determination and commitment to create family. Lauryn Jordon, her surrogate Sarah and their families juggled the logistics of an interstate arrangement as well as the grief of miscarriage. Kate and her surrogate Michelle supported each other through medical complications post-birth.
For every Australian who engages in domestic surrogacy, five engage offshore, given the far greater availability of surrogates and donors. Five of these proud mums will share their experiences of surrogacy in the US, Ukraine and Georgia.
They are among 28 parents, donors and surrogates who will share what they learned along the way and how to cope with the ups and downs at Growing Families’ seminar series in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney from October 20-27.
There will be talks from local and international experts and updates on Surrogacy Australia’s new Support Service.
Full details at www.growingfamilies.org/australian-seminars-oct-2019/