Rachel is based in the UK and has been both a traditional and gestational carrier. She is co-owner of Nappy Endings, a surrogacy agency based in the UK.
Q: How have your traditional journeys been different from your gestational ones?
A: The traditional journeys were much easier in terms of getting pregnant. No medications or clinic appointments were needed and even with the first journey resulting in twins it still was an unbelievably easy process. Handing over the babies born conceived either way made no difference to how I felt and still feel. I’m in contact with all my surro babes and I feel the same about them all which is just pure happiness seeing them with their families. I still find it hard to put my surrogacy experience into words. Other than having my son, it is by far the best thing I have ever done.
Q: In your gestational surrogacy journey, you had some bad experiences. You lost a fallopian tube in your first embryo transfer and you had a septic ulcer after delivery. Could you describe the different emotions you felt? What was helpful in your recovery?
A: It was definitely a roller coaster of a journey and emotions with some amazing highs and some very scary lows and all very different from my previous journeys but never once did I think about not continuing, I had amazing support from the intended parents and from close friends who all helped hugely in my recovery from both the ectopic and the sepsis. I have no regrets and seeing the happy family today makes everything worth it.
Q: You have your own surrogacy agency, Nappy Endings, based in the UK. Compensated surrogacy in the UK is illegal, right? How is it running an agency in the UK? Please tell us a bit about your agency.
A: I run Nappy Endings with my friend of 20 years. Given my experience as both a traditional and gestational surrogate, I feel I can offer unmatched empathy and understanding to both IPs and surrogates. I’m very proud of Nappy Endings and will continue to offer help where and whenever I can.
Surrogates in the U.K. claim reasonable expenses to cover loss of earnings, childcare, travel, food, clothes, time and recovery etc.
Q: In your opinion, what’s the most important personality trait of a surrogate?
A: I feel a surrogate needs to have an understanding and caring personality and also be quite open minded. I also feel a friendly bubbly nature is a must. It is also important to be mindful of the reasons that led someone to surrogacy so you are all on the journey together. Sometimes IPs find it quite hard to believe this is happening so patience and empathy is really important as most people have been through so much that they find it hard to believe it’s real until the day they have the baby in there arms.
Rachel’s Advice to IPs
“It’s important IPs are fully informed of the whole process and also have the correct support and guidance from not only professionals but also each other or family and friends. If using an agency choose carefully and pick one with experience. Also make sure financial boundaries are in place before the journey begins.”