Michael and Wes Johnson-Ellis of TwoDads UK and Francesca Steyn, Fertility Nurse, Surrogacy Expert and Known Egg Donor, are excited and proud to be launching My Surrogacy Journey, a non-for profit Surrogacy organisation.
My Surrogacy Journey will offer emotional, practical and logistical support at every stage of the parenting journey. Our inclusive and innovative platform will guide and support all members equally when building a family through surrogacy, at home and abroad. Membership is for in-tended parents, surrogates and known egg donors and every member of My Surrogacy Journey is equal. We believe that a successful surrogacy journey relies on everyone involved being emotion-ally, legally and medically informed thus ensuring that every relationship is built on honesty and transparency.
For this reason, My Surrogacy Journey will offer unparalleled support for everyone starting at conception, to pregnancy, birth and beyond. From practical guidance through the process, to specialist counselling, building patient pathways from fertility clinics to NHS hospitals. Offering a UK first including pre-conception screening to newborn genetic testing and much more. My Surrogacy Journey has partnered with a number of innovative companies to also provide access to leading fertility technology: Igenomix (genetic testing), FenoMatch (facial recognition donor matching) ExSeed (home sperm testing) and EngagedMD (UK regulatory consent platform) ensuring clinics are released to focus more on clinical care.
In addition to the large team of experts providing individual, whether virtual or in-person, support for each journey, My Surrogacy Journey has built an extensive library of educational content for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Known Egg Donors. This library covers every single step of the process, including the IVF, understanding the medication for surrogates, birth planning for intend-ed parents and surrogates, intended mother breast feeding vs bottle feeding, the parental order process, to name just a few in a list of hundreds of educational pieces. We have thought of every single step in the process so that both surrogates and intended parents can educate and prepare themselves. Everyone involved needs to know what questions to ask of themselves and what to ask of each other.
My Surrogacy Journey has been designed from lived experience. Founders Michael and Wes have two children through UK surrogacy and while they are forever grateful for their two children, it was a complex process during which they had to fight to be involved in steps of their pregnancy. Francesca Steyn was the lead nurse and head of surrogacy and compliance at one of the UK’s leading fertility clinics. She is also a Known Egg Donor herself. Francesca has witnessed first hand the level of support both intended parents and surrogates require and also the challenges faced by clinics with limited surrogacy experience, and in her career to date has campaigned for UK Government policy change, been involved in the UK Surrogacy Law Reform and supported hundreds of intended parents, including the first UK single intended parent. Joining them is Anna Buxton, mother to three via international surrogacy. Anna came to surrogacy after a long and painful fertility history and then navigated the complexities of international surrogacy alone because there is no one place that can support people at every stage of the process. With My Surrogacy Journey, this is going to change.
At the heart of My Surrogacy Journey is a group of professionals and parents dedicated to making this change happen. Michael, Wes and Francesca have put together an Advisory Board unlike any-thing seen before in the world of assisted fertility. Specialists from medical, clinical, legal, counselling, surrogate support and donor conception fields have all come together to be a part of My Surrogacy Journey. The size and depth of experience of the Advisory Board reflects both the complexity of surrogacy and the level of support we believe is necessary to ensure that every surrogate and all intended parents are protected and supported throughout their journey.
We also want to empower more woman to be surrogates if it is the right decision for them. Be-ing a surrogate is an unbelievable gift and sacrifice that can be forever life enhancing. For those women for whom surrogacy is their choice, we want to ensure that they have a home at My Surrogacy Journey that supports them and their families to make their experience reflect the incredible gift they are giving.
My Surrogacy Journey will launch in January 2021. We hope that it provides both the professional resources and access to a community to help nurture trusted, transparent and loving relationships to build more modern families.