There is a saying ‘It takes a village to raise a family’, but for many singles and couples it takes a village to create a family.
Natasha Dalziell is a lesbian mum in Hamilton, New Zealand. She birthed her first child five years ago – with the help of an anonymous sperm donor her fertility clinic provided. At the time she was 26 years old. She now has three kids through that single donation – “gifts” she calls them. So as she sees it, she owes three gifts in the name of paying that donor’s generosity forward.
She told her fertility clinic she was willing to donate her eggs. They had a heterosexual couple to match her with. Her recipients called the baby that resulted ‘Trinity’ to reflect the three elements of her creation.
Next she decided to lend her womb as a gestational surrogate and let it be known to her networks. Soon enough a friend introduced her to a gay New Zealand couple. She birthed their child in July 2019.
Natasha is still contemplating what her last gift will be.
Natasha’s altruism is not unique. Each year hundreds of Australians and New Zealanders give back to the infertility community by way of sperm, eggs or carrying as a surrogate.
Juan and Christian are a Sydney-based gay couple with children via egg donor surrogacy – one in Mexico and the other in Australia. As their way of giving back, they chose four recipient couples in Australia who needed sperm to make their dream of children a reality.
Carla Pincombe has 16 children in Australia created with her eggs – just three of them are her own. Carla lives in Melbourne and became an egg donor early in 2013 after finishing breastfeeding her youngest child. Since then she has donated to more than eight families. Carla is passionate about known donation and all her recipients know each other. Like many other Australian donors, Carla also became a surrogate, completing a traditional arrangement in Victoria in March 2017.
Not all are lucky enough to find both an egg donor and/or surrogate locally. For Lynette Cartisano, after 24 years of unexplained infertility, miscarriages, failed IVF cycles and using an overseas donor in Australia, it was time to try something different.
Lynette attended the Growing Families (formerly Families Through Surrogacy) Conference in June 2017. It soon became apparent that an egg donor and surrogate would be her answer in creating family. Two months later she and her husband were in Kyiv, Ukraine creating embryos and meeting their surrogate.
While the first transfer ended in miscarriage, the second was successful. They returned to Ukraine one year later to welcome their daughter.
Many of these parents, donors and surrogates will share their extraordinary journeys in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Greece, Ukraine and Georgia at Growing Families February 2020 conferences in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland.
These events put real stories front and centre, along with talks from local and international experts.
–Sam Everingham is a dad via surrogacy and a global expert in family building options
Full details at www.growingfamilies.org/2020-conference-and-event-schedule.