My guest Lois Langton is Head of Family Law at Howard Kennedy and she specialises in all aspects of Family Law including divorce, financial remedy, civil partnerships, pre-/post-nuptial agreements, cohabitation, separation and child related work (including adoption and surrogacy).
In this episode Lois and I discuss the different scenarios that you could be considering for your family, including co-parenting, using a donor, a surrogate or adopting and what you need to think about.
Lois talks about why it’s worth looking to work with a surrogate who is single so that the biological sperm donor will then be the second legal parent. When relying on trust – you need the biological and legal connection
Going Abroad for Surrogacy
If you go abroad for surrogacy to a country where jurisdiction is different there is a lot of issues to consider as there are no international laws on surrogacy. Some permit commercial surrogacy, however, there are other countries where it is completely outlawed,England doesn’t permit commercial surrogacy but altruistic and that means you can go from one country to the next without any uniformity of what the process is which can create problems. There could be issues of bringing your baby home.
Because Surrogacy is altruistic in the UK, it means there is no obligation if the surrogate has changed her mind. The surrogate is the legal birth mother and without the consent, there can be no parental orderWhen commissioning parents go abroad and money will be paid, it’s worth realising that the agreements made are at odds with English law, then part of the process you have to get retrospective sanctions from the English court.
We also talked about the importance of ‘Writing Intentions’ which can be very different from the parties involved. For example in a same-sex couple, the biological mother may view the biological father as no more than a sperm donor and he may view himself as having an active role in the child’s life and nobody seems to iron these issues out early on. This can cause years of conflict. This is where a ‘Conception Agreement’ is needed.
Hear from the show organisers about what is in store for this year’s fertility show in Manchester. You’ll hear from Laura Biggs, the show’s director about why she feels so passionate about the show is uniqueness, in what information it can offer you. Plus how, having worked there for a few years she took the decision to have further fertility treatment and is now expecting her second child, through using an egg donor at 48.
You’ll also hear from Sara Marshall Page of IVF Babble about the ‘Babble Lounge’ which is a lovely space for you to go and have a coffee and a chat.
Plus Jessica Hepburn and Gabby Vautier tell you what’s in store as they bring Fertility Fest to the show for the first time
And The Fertility Show is all about giving you access to amazing experts with a wide range of seminars. I spoke to Raj Mathur who is a Consultant Gynocologist about the talk he will be giving about how to get the best out of your IVF treatment and why he thinks the show is so helpful for you to find out more about issues affecting your fertility.
To find out more about the show and book tickets click here
As this year has been such an Instagram fest for me, making new friends and finding more fascinating stories to share, it seems an opportune time to finish the year with the 12 Pods of Insta. They aren’t done in order of preference, just showcasing my highlights.!!
When I found out we needed treatment, my best friend who had been through three rounds of IVF treatment before falling pregnant with twins, told me to avoid the online forums as they were depressing, so I did.
I never looked online, I just asked my pal about everything. I mean it was ideal, she was amazing and I was able to play the same role for two more of my close friends who sadly had to ensure treatment.
I was lucky I had my friend but if I didn’t I would have gone online more. Like many more people are doing today. There are a wealth of online communities where people #TTC support each other but the Instagram ones seems, for me, to be the one I spend most of time in.
What has been quite remarkable for me is to be able to speak to someone I’ve met on Instagram about their journey and then continue to watch it unfold as they continue to share it. In the past when I’ve met people on other social platforms, of course I’ve been able to keep in touch and even meet in person as I get more involved in various events within the fertility industry yet Instagram invites people to share even more it seems.
So first up, I want to introduce Sheema,
Who is @one_in_seven who is an incredible lady, with extremely stylish eyewear and all round fabulous style. Sheema caught my attention on insta after she’d shared a post about pregnancy loss and also how she was working through how it felt to use an egg donor. Sheema shares her story below, and I’m delighted to say that the treatment she talked about in this episode was successful and Sheema and her partner have just welcomed little Fari into the world. Sheema had such a tricky pregnancy and was so open and honest about her fears, and I know she will have had such an impact on those who follow her and probably encourage others to share more. Thank you Sheema xx
The 11th Pod of Insta is Christine
aka @InfertilityIllustrated who spoke to me in February this year ( 2018) she’d been celebrating, as she had just passed the 1k followers mark. As I type this she is past 8k, which shows how amazing her work is and how it’s getting more and more recognised within the Insta community. Christine has the amazing knack of drawing what we are thinking, all to often I’ve seen one of her posts and thought, YES, I’ve been there! I know you feel the same.
The 10th Pod of Insta
whilst we’re talking about putting the humour into infertility, then Karen @hilariouslyinfertile has aced this as so well. A school teacher by day Karen’s posts are spit your drink out funny, or is that just me? We chatted in June this year, ahead of Karen’s book release which was in August. Karen had approached publishers only to be told there was no market for what she was proposing. Her 40k Insta following says otherwise and she has since self published.
On the 9th Pod of Insta…
it can only be… RELAXGATE where three Insta lovelies spoke on national TV about their infertility experience to be told to ‘Relax’ by a TV GP. I think this conversation was a real turning point for how we speak out about infertility on social media and within the press as the hashtag #relaxgate quickly became a thing by the end of that very day. A switch was quite rightly flicked within the TTC community, it was like the straw that broke the camels back.. can I fit any more analogies in.
If you’re not already following Cat Strawbridge, Keely Dwight and Kate Meaks then a quick visit to any of these ladies profiles will show they are very involved within the #TTC community, Cat holds regular Insta lives, and this year has had successful IVF treatment and is expecting her first child. Keely has been putting on stunning looking events, selling wonderful natural makeup products as well as sharing her journey through treatment and Kate has been speaking out about secondary infertility which I spoke with her separately about, as well as being incredibly brave and has recently shared the devastating news that her husband Phil has had to have brain surgery. I also got a male perspective on this whole debacle from Tonky Dad – the other half to Julie aka Tonky Mum on Insta who and has been sharing her journey. The pair are and is at the time writing this post within their 2WW. We have everything crossed xx
I am blown away by this community and the women within it. Every single person is doing something to help someone else, you maybe. I think Instagram has become this reassuring friend for many of us, a lifeline that we didn’t know we needed but all have welcomed.
Being able to follow each other and learn and support – this connection is priceless.
The 8th Pod of Insta
is more of conversation with Kate Meaks who I mentioned in the last post. I wanted to talk more with Kate about her feelings about belonging and her journey and after reading one of her blog posts I ‘Where do I belong’ Having had fertility treatment and suffered several miscarriages Kate talked about feeling guilty when she shared pictures of her son Austin on Instagram and having started sharing her life as a ‘mummy blogger’ she now has found herself still finding solace within the #TTC community yet is unsure of which part of it she belongs to. As I mentioned above, Kate and her husband Phil have been working through finding out Phil had a brain tumour and has since undergone surgery. Kate shared their decision to freeze his sperm, ahead of any radiotherapy and is continuing to share Phil’s recovery within the community.
On the 7th Pod of Insta,
It has to be the one and only Alice Rose, who has taken the TTC community by storm, with her dedication to Insta stories, her ‘Think What Not to Say’ #TWNTS campaign educating people on what to say when talking about infertility, her public speaking, her TTC Liferaft podcast and her latest Christmas single! Alice has a little girl after several years of failed fertility treatment and is working on a book, as well as putting on mindfulness and wellbeing events and Alice also has some really exciting plans for 2019.
The 6th Pod of Insta is Jules Furness,
Who I met on here after seeing her sharing a negative story about being trolled for sharing her IVF failure on her YouTube channel. I guess I was naive about this, as I’ve not had any negativity about my work and I assumed we were in quite a safe space unless we were writing in certain tabloid newspapers, so I was keen to hear Jule’s experience. She works hard to educate people about her journey, having adopted her first son and has had to use a donor for her ongoing treatment. All the content Jules shares along with any profits she makes from her channel and her IVF milestone cards is donated to Fertility Network and IVF Babble Giving.
On the 5th Pod of Insta
Is Katy Lindemann talking about her book which she is writing, to document people’s experiences whilst going through infertility. We spoke about Katy’s own experiences of online forums, most significantly Mumsnet, all of which has lead her to create the Uber Barrens Club. This is a community for couples whose journeys can be longer, more challenging, and more unsuccessful than others. Katy talks about her community as being not just infertile but really, really infertile. ‘We’re barren.’ Katy has been pretty outspoken about her experiences, speaking and writing in the national press and gives a refreshingly honest perspective on difficult topics.
It’s PCOS for the 4th Pod of Insta
I’d been following Kym Campbell for some time and learning more and more about the PCOS community which affects so many of us and in such a variety of ways, that it was fascinating to find out Kym’s story and how much she has done to help more and more of us get our heads around the lifestyle changes we can make to help deal with PCOS. I also find it amazing that the medical professionals are so behind this movement, but hopefully we are seeing a changeKym’s fertility treatment involved six rounds of clomid, an ovulation induction cycle and she had to deal with several miscarriages and she explained how after such a long difficult time she decided to stop and look at a different route to parenthood. Kym went on a very specific mission to work on herself from the inside out and as she described it as a ” very slow journey to take it out of your diet”
On the 3rd Pod of Insta
it has to be the brilliant book worm Amber aka The Preggars Kitchen who had to start giving away her epic book collection on Insta after her husband insisted she had way to many and that is how we met as I invited Amber to come and chat with me about the books she had already been writing reviews for on her blogs. Amber is a keen cook and shares recipes she has found have really helped her manage her PCOS. After three years of infertility, Amber managed to self diagnosed her condition, as she was told by medical professionals she wasn’t fat or hairy enough to have PCOS. Helpful!. I’m delighted to say that after all their struggles, Amber and her husband had successful fertility treatment and in 2018 became parents for the first time. Amber shares the steps she took to improve her Gut as well as her day to day life whilst trying to conceive and we have spoken a few times, so do have a listen if you want to know more about useful books as they’re not all just fertility related, they’re lifestyle improving books!
On the 2nd Pod of Insta
I’m resharing a resent episode here as my 2nd Pod of Insta, my chat with Zara Dawson @littlezee123 as an example of the immense power of this community. Zara had been speaking out about her infertility and on her @littlenorfolkcottages feed where I was tagged. I wondered whether I’d won a stay in a gorgeous pad when I first saw it, as Zara squares are filled with her impeccable taste in interior design. However, she had shared the news of her pregnancy and how she and her husband had reached the agonising decision of having to terminate the pregnancy due to their baby having an extremely rare and fatal condition. I couldn’t believe the stress the pair had to go through during all of this and to be able to help a tiny bit, by sharing it will hopefully help you.
On the 1st Pod of insta
I’m sharing a chat I had about fertility education as this is going to be a big focus on my plans for this podcast, this year. If I knew then what I knew now is a cliche yet it’s so frustrating how little I knew about my fertility. The more I speak to you, the more I realise how we’re all now in this place of lifelong learning about our fertile health When I first read about Afton Vechery and Carly Leahy in an article in Linked In I was instantly impressed with their mission for Modern Fertility to get us testing our fertility at home, early. To get us talking about fertility health, early as commonplace as talking about our dress size. Imagine that.
Being in this TTC space means we know more about our egg reserve or lack of … NOW and we get the important of undetstanding our fertility health but the harsh reality is most women don’t.
Thank you to my latest guest Jules Furness for sharing her story in my latest chat. We talked about how she dealt with a diagnosis as a teenager of Premature Ovarian reserve and then her decision to adopt. Jules started vlogging as a result of her Hubby being in the army and she wanted to share with him and once she overcame the fear of posting online she realised how much support was out there. That said Jules recently had some nasty comments on a post she shared about failed IVF and considered taking her content down. But she slept on it and read through the amazing comments from you, telling how she had helped you feel less alone and came back fighting!
This is what I wanted to talk to her about. Jules and I also talked about the shame associated with failed IVF cycles and her experience of treatment abroad, which wasn’t good, in fact the clinic chose not to tell her about a polyp that had shown up, on a scan. Instead, they told her they thought she might be pregnant, which considering the diagnosis Jules had been living with since she was 15, was completely overwhelming.
Check out all of Jules blog and products here and to follow her online here is her Instagram, Facebook and YouTube
She gave me a copy of her book ‘Dreaming of a life Unlived’ which I read in almost a single sitting and tears were shed. This is what we talked about in this episode. Yvonne is 44 years and 9 months old and on her journey of finding her plan B.
12 months ago, Yvonne learnt that she would not become a mother which took her by surprise as it was something that she was not prepared for. Yvonne explains
‘Becoming a mother…
is a natural and expected part of being a women, for as long as I could remember people were asking when will I have children. Well I got married and 5 years on that time never came and my hopes and expectations were rapidly replaced with grief, a grief that I found hard to comprehend.
That was the start of my journey, the start of me discovering a life without the children I hoped for. So welcome to my story and thank you for being part of my journey, complete with the tears and joy. Thank you for joining me on my road to finding my plan B…’
Meet Dr. Aimee Eyvazzadeh, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and host of the Egg Whisperer Show.
Dr Aimee has heard story after story from women and couples from all over the world about their struggles in trying to conceive. In her attempt to prevent more of these heartbreaking stories, she has gone on a mission to promote fertility awareness. Her hope is to empower women, making them more aware of their personal fertility levels and allowing them to be better educated about their options. Never again does she want to hear “If I had known 10 years ago that my egg reserves were running low, I would have done things differently.”
Egg Freezing Parties
In 2014, she launched her mission by hosting Egg Freezing Parties. These parties offer women a chance to learn more about their fertility and ask their questions in a comfortable, safe environment with like-minded women.
Shortly after hosting the first party, Egg freezing soon became a top buzzword. Local and international magazines, television programs and social media have submitted requests for interviews and opportunities to cover the parties.
Now, people across the country (and world!) are asking Dr. Aimee to host an Egg Freezing Party in their city. Another part of Dr. Aimees fertility awareness mission is to provide an easily accessible Egg Whisperer Fertility Awareness Panel to any woman who is curious about her current fertility status.
This panel offers women information about their egg reserves now not 10 years from now when it could be too late and their options limited. Dr. Aimee also teaches about the TUSHY Method for providing holistic personalized fertility medicine.
An easy to remember mnemonic, it reminds medical professionals and patients of the basics of the Egg Whisperer way:
to check fallopian Tubes,
do an Ultrasound of the Uterus,
do a Semen Analysis,
check Hormones, and
do Your genetic testing.
To find out more about Dr Aimme visit her website Her Egg Whisperer site is here her egg freezing parties are here and her Freeze and Share programme can be found here
Have you been told you need to consider an egg donor in order to get pregnant?
I met Sarah Esdaile at Fertility Fest 2018 when she took part in Fertility Fight club sharing her story and this is the video we shared via facebook live for you to check out. You can hear Sarah at approx 36 minutes.
Talking about egg donation
Sarah and I met in at Sarah’s hotel in Manchester (where I live and she had visited for work ) and found quite a lot of comedy in the decor which you will hear us chatting about and Sarah shared her fertility journey, from having failed fertility treatment to being told that she would have to use a donor. Sarah’s first attempt was with her sister’s egg and she describes the complexities of this decision and then the impact when it didn’t work. Sarah also spoke really honestly and frankly about how she had counseling from the first IVF appointment and how integral it was to her being able to deal with the emotional turmoil of what she was going through.
Sarah Esdaile and, I and the giant deckchair
Shady Grove Fertility
Sarah had her treatment with Shady Grove Fertility and now works as a patient liaison, speaking to hundreds of women going through exactly what she did and helping them along the way. I think it’s fair to say that when you are trying to navigate your way through something like egg donation or sperm donation you really need to have access to people who really understand what it feels like which is why I was so keen for Sarah to share her story.
I loved Katy’s description of The Notebook of Doom, even though it is tinged with sadness….
Meet latest guest Katy has created a community called The Uber Barrens ClubKaty is working on a book, which you’ll hear all about to document the struggles we go through during our infertility investigations and is looking for stories. We spoke in detail about Katy’s complicated infertility struggle.
Despite being aware something might be up with her fertility, due to irregular periods and having a fertility MOT at 28 – what happened to next to Katy flummoxed leading fertility experts.
When Katy was diagnosed with PCOS she was told her ovarian reserve was great, so whilst there was an issue it was one that couple potentially be managed. By 33, on a visit to a gynaecologist it Katy then discovered her PCOS had gone as had all her eggs.
Katy was told she was ‘hurtling towards premature ovarian failure’. We talked about how Katy found incredible support in a wide range of online forums, some of which we’ve listed below:
There are lots of groups that we’ve not included in here and Katy is happy for you to contact her . For example there are groups for surrogacy, donor conception, male factor, endometriosis, PCOS and these were just some of the ones Katy had found. You can contact Katy on twitter here and Insta here and you can read her fab blogs here
If you want to know more about the questionnaire for Katy’s book project it’shere (anonymous questionnaires for both the female and male perspectives) Katy also wanted to share her consultant’s information which you can acces here
Patients who need IVF due to being diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve or premature ovarian insufficiency are being denied access to IVF specifically BECAUSE of the medical issue that’s why they need IVF in the first place!! Madness! #Scream4IVFhttps://t.co/JfqeIkrfSk
Now in its tenth year, The Fertility Show is a two day live event where you can meet with top fertility experts, clinics, doctors and patients alike. It probably sounds pretty overwhelming and it can be, if you don’t make a plan, which is what I advise you to do.
I didn’t go to this when we were trying to conceive, to be honest I didn’t know about it, but having been since I can honestly say it is a really great way to get a complete overview of your options.
In this episode you’ll hear from Aileen Feeney, CEO of Fertility Network UK about their involvement with the show, as well as Dr Allan Pacey, a specialist in Male Fertility issues and Nina Barnsley, Director of Donor Conception Network.
It’s taking place at Olympia London, entry tickets to the Show cost £12 per day, or buy a weekend ticket for £20. All seminars cost just £3 each – click below for more info on ticket pricing.
This year the awesome IVF Babble are involved with the show, which will be ace and we’ve made a Q&A stage to be more insightful, relaxed and interactive.
My guest today is Sarah Norcross, Director of the Progress Educational Trust (PET), Commissioning Editor of its flagship publication BioNews
The Progress Educational Trust (PET) advances public understanding of science, law and ethics in the fields of human genetics, assisted reproduction, embryology and stem cell research. Its vision is to improve the choices for people affected by infertility or genetic conditions. Its mission is to educate and debate the responsible application of reproductive and genetic science.
Since PET was founded in 1992 (evolving from a precursor organisation founded in 1985), it has earned a reputation for leading the debate on new developments in fertility, genetics and embryo/stem cell research. It does this through its public events, its flagship publication BioNews, and its consistent and authoritative media presence. It shines a light on cutting-edge biomedical issues, and enhances debate around sensitive, controversial and important points of science, ethics and law.
PET is known for seizing the initiative when issues arise (producing high-calibre events at short notice) while staying with issues over time (contributing to growing public awareness and understanding). PET organised the UK’s first public conferences on genome editing (in 2015, with the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser) and on extending the 14-Day Rule for embryo research (in 2016, resulting in widespread media coverage including two half-hour documentaries on BBC Radio 4).
Only a week to go to PET’s #surrogacy event in Scotland on 27/9 – we still have a few places left so book now to attend ‘Modern Surrogacy Needs a Modern Law: How Should We Regulate Surrogacy in the 21st Century?’ see https://t.co/Tm4GyY0Cda