Ahead of Growing Families London & Dublin seminars on 2/3 October on international Donor IVF and Surrogacy options, Sam Everingham interviews one recent couple who created family across borders during the Covid pandemic
For UK nationals unable to locate an egg donor locally, countries like Greece, Spain and Czech Republic have been popular options. However Ukraine is also becoming a more popular destination not just for egg donor IVF but surrogacy given the availability of surrogates and affordable high quality IVF.
Surrogacy made Michelle & Kevin Bedingfield’s dream of a family possible. When they commenced, Covid didn’t exist. They engaged in Ukraine given Michelle met the medical requirements and the prices were within reach for a middle class couple approaching fifty years of age. Then quite unexpectedly, the world became a very different place. Their agency ran into financial trouble and they had to locate a new agency to support their pregnant surrogate.
How did you decide to progress?
‘It was important to make an informed decision. Growing Families played a key role in laying out all the options. They were there to give us background and up-to-date information on the how-to parts
Q: Did you form a relationship with your surrogate?
‘We made a friend for life, and we will follow her children as they grow up, just as she will see our son grow. It was rewarding to know that we helped our surrogate to achieve her dreams just as she was doing for us’.
What gave you the strength to keep going when things became tough?
Each other and a good dose of humour! We both wanted to have a child and we had to be there for each other when things didn’t go to plan. There are a lot of ups and downs along the way. This journey does not happen quickly.
When you needed to switch agencies, what did your new agency emphaise?
‘It was important that our surrogate was included in the decision-making process. She wanted to try for a natural birth, and she also chose a public hospital for the birth that had a very good reputation’.
Were you able to be at the birth?
We arrived just the day before our baby was born. We had our own apartment-style rooms within the hospital and the care we received was outstanding. I was just outside the operating theatre when Harrison was born. With the easing of restrictions, Kevin was allowed to room in also.
What is Kiev like to stay in for an English speaker?
Wonderful! We met many people. …. we would just chat and be interested in their lives and soon we had new friends from a different culture. Many Ukrainians know some English and we began to learn Ukrainian!
But what was it like being in Ukraine during Covid 19?
When we arrived in Kyiv, we were in lockdown but soon enough, restrictions were lifted. We were just mindful of taking care when out and about.
What would you advise other couples considering Ukraine as a destination?
it is imperative that you have a team that can assist at all stages. Louise from Nest and Co was an absolute saviour. We are not sure if we would have stuck it out if not for her exceptional knowledge, advocacy and accessibility. She is just a lovely, genuine person who was there for us when we didn’t have the strength. Louise’s team in Kiev were amazing – we never felt like we were alone in a foreign country.
What was the hardest part?
The biggest hurdle was returning home. But we made it – all three of us.
In early October, Growing Families London & Dublin Events will feature multiple parents discussing their family building journeys. These seminars provide insight into the processes, hurdles, costs, latest developments and ultimate joys. In this series, expert speakers focus on options in the USA, Ukraine, Canada & Georgia.
Growing Families is an information and referral hub for singles and couples hoping to build their family with the help of donor IVF and/or surrogacy.