Since we started to talk openly about our fertility journey back in 2015, the feedback has been generally very positive and public support has been better than we hoped. We set out originally with a couple of basic missions, they were to help raise awareness of UK Surrogacy and to normalize Same Sex Parenting by sharing pictures of our family. Sounds simple?
Little did we know that four years later I’d be leaving a successful Recruitment career of 15 years behind me, to focus full time managing what was originally a TwoDads Instagram and Facebook page. A mid-life crisis? Probably!
Now in the Summer of 2019 we are working with a number of brands, collaborating on exciting projects with a view to help address some of the original missions we established. We have since expanded the original two to eight and they range from; Increasing Baby Changing in Male Bathrooms, Educating Healthcare Professionals about UK Surrogacy and Two Dads families, Raising more awareness about UK Fertility Treatment and Male Factor Infertility to the more political topic of working with the Department of Education to ensure schools hold adequate reading material about same sex families, as clearly education is the key to inclusion, as we’ve seen in Birmingham over the summer. On that topic we’ve even spoke passionately about this on BBC News addressing the Anderton Park School protests, giving our views on the subject – again it was positively received, but it also felt like it was our duty to our community to represent other families in the area and nationally, stating that the protests are not OK – and ultimately damaging.
Life continues to take different turns, opening new doors of opportunity. We have recently shot an online campaign for Vodafone which went live in August, and ran for 8-10 weeks, so you may have seen it? It was a fun day, one of our favourite collaborations so far, mainly because it actually boldly lifts the lid of our own modern family, and even shines a light on our most recent pregnancy which like our first pregnancy was a UK surrogacy journey, our second child was born in August. This particular project was great because it will hopefully demonstrate to a large UK audience that modern Britain has families in all shapes and sizes, and guess what? Gays have kids too. Destigmatizing Same Sex Parenting will continue to be up there with one of the main missions, hopefully over time it will be less of a visible promotion, and more of just another family on Social Media.
The one area of TwoDads.U.K which is most exciting is the brand new Fertility Clinic Support programme. This was born out of the lack of available materials for Intended Fathers that are interested in creating a family through UK Surrogacy. Wes and I spent almost four years researching surrogacy, both in the UK and Internationally and we wanted to share our knowledge with Intended Fathers, but to do this we wanted to ensure that we were only recommending clinics that meet our ‘TwoDads Charter’. This was so important as over the next 12 months UK surrogacy will continue to grow, especially treatment for Same Sex male Intended Parents.
More and more clinics will develop their services but it’s crucial that they understand the needs of Gay men undergoing treatment, as the emotional support varies and lasts well into their pregnancy unlike heterosexual support tends to.
After all the NHS still isn’t quite ready for Two Men having babies, as we’ve personally discovered, so we’ll help with topics such as Birthing Plans and ways to navigate the NHS system too. We have helped develop innovative treatment Pathways for TwoDads, tailored emotional and wellbeing support programmes for intended fathers and also exciting patient referral schemes by way of a Social Media Influencer programme.
By combining all of these areas, (and more) we can be confident that any Intended Father who approaches us will receive accurate advice and have access to leading UK clinics, supported by UK Surrogacy and Fertility experts. Working with a partnered clinic means we have personally assessed the suitability to ensure their treatment not only runs smoothly, with dedicated points of named contacts, but meets our TwoDads Diversity and Inclusion promise. If a clinic needs our support to improve, we simply help guide them to ensure they are compliant.
We are so proud that our first clinic we partnered with on the 1st July was The Centre for Reproductive and Genetic Health (CRGH) in Great Portland Street in London. This clinic is holds a lot of importance to us and we have a real emotional attachment to the team there, as its where our son was conceived back in December 2018 – so we’re already aware of the talented team that grace the five floors of this impressive, leading UK clinic. Their Surrogacy treatment offering is already one of the leading programmes in the London, possibly the UK.
Jonathon Fagg the COO said this about our new partnership “CRGH is determined to be the leading clinic in London for surrogacy. We’re excited about our new partnership with TwoDadsUK and its potential to make a huge difference for Intended Fathers. The joint introductory events will help people understand how surrogacy works and give them the confidence to begin treatment. Their expertise and advice is already helping us to develop and improve the service we provide. The support they offer free of charge to every patient that enters treatment with us will make surrogacy more manageable and ultimately more successful.”
One of the immensely successful projects we manage for clinics and for Intended fathers are our ‘Surrogacy Information Events’ which we plan once a quarter, the first one was held at the iconic and beautiful Somerset House in central London and was a total sell out.
We had intended parents wanting to buy tickets on the day but we were already sold out. This is mainly due to the format, agenda and feel for the overall day, feedback is very positive and we’re delighted to see couples firmly on their fertility journey as a result of these events. Our next one is scheduled for the 5th October, also in London due to the demand from our previous event.
For ticket information go to Eventbright.co.uk and search Your Route to Fatherhood. CRGH have sponsored the event for a second time running based on its success and the number of referrals it generated. Their Head of Nursing and the incredibly talented surrogacy expert Francesca Steyn is the driving force behind our partnership. Francesca has been an inspiration since we officially launched TwoDads.U.K – her support has been overwhelming, and I’m super proud to call her a friend. Not only is she an amazing Fertility Nurse but she’s a real advocate for the LGBTQ community.
The next few months continue to keep us busy, both positive and enjoyable (with a sprinkling of sleep deprivation). Watching our son grow and the affection Talulah demonstrates towards her baby brother is one of the most beautiful things I’ve witnessed. We genuinely feel bless and owe everything to the team at CRGH, our Egg Donor and our incredible selfless Surrogate. Our world spins madly on, work with TwoDads continues to keep us on our toes too.
We’re on the panel for the Law Commission’s London Surrogacy Symposium event on 12 September 2019 which is an honour – the consultation for their proposal has now been extended to the Friday 11 October 2019. (More to follow next edition)
Please see https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/surrogacy/ and https://www.scotlawcom.gov.uk/law-reform/law-reform-projects/joint-projects/surrogacy/ for information about the project and links to the consultation paper and summary.