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  • Writer's pictureJessica Taylor Yates

Conversations at brunch: Did you hear? They're going overseas | Part 17


Jess with wings

A new personal blog series exploring the highs and lows that epitomise the conversations you have at brunch.

This is Part 17 of a series. For a recap of Part 1, click here.


We had met and matched with an Australian surrogate. Just as I started the IVF treatment for egg collection, she bailed on us.


We were at a complete loss, ending 2022 with hope, only for 2023 to begin with a round of IVF injectables in our freezer, roughly 10K out of pocket on a surrogate that was not going to continue.


Our meet-ups had gone well, and all seemed positive, she was so self-assured and on board that we all felt really happy for the year ahead.


After we signed and started egg collection back in Melbourne, after months of psychological evaluations, mandatory legal appointments, blood tests, health consultations,

Zooms, messages and a whole trip to Perth, she ended up saying that it was too much with her own daughter's pregnancy and bowed out.


While it made sense, this was after going dark on us with communication - which when you're starting egg collection injections, put me in a panic - demanding we pay for her to get individual counselling, bailing on shared appointments, and acting what I felt was passive-aggressively online. It wasn't the reason, but the way she went about it.


Why have us fly out to Perth? Why tell me to go ahead with the egg collection? Why sign all the documents when you knew? It was difficult - here you have a stranger that feels like an angel on Earth, willing to do such a thankless thing that will change your life, and then it is taken away. It's hard to be mad at them, after all, they were doing YOU the favour - but I had to then cut off all communications. It was too painful. To be honest, it felt like miscarrying all over again, to have the hope and then have it taken away. Again.


We decided to do the egg collection and embryo freezing anyway. I was 34, we would need them at some point. I was lucky in that my egg collection was uneventful - I wasn't sick this time, and we ended up with two embryos for freezing. But if someone even gently asked how it was all going, I would just start crying uncontrollably.


I was a mess. I was crying all the time. I cried when I woke up and I cried when I went to bed. I cried in the shower, at work, in the car. I dyed my hair blue.


We were both depressed, and were just so over it with the year already starting on such a downer.


On top of this, I just felt so, so, incredibly stupid. I HATED telling people what had happened, like I was some f*cking idiot who truly believed some stranger from the internet was going to carry my baby. I felt like such a moron talking about it with friends, with family, external relatives. I felt like everyone thought I was making things overcomplicated, too dramatic, too stressful, too weird. I'd see posts online that if you need a surrogate that's disgusting, and 'some people just aren't meant to be parents.' I have come to think that this is only something either people with kids, or people who don't want kids, could say.


I felt done with the idea of altruistic surrogacy, where the 'power,' for lack of a better word, was all in their hands to change their mind at a moment's notice. I just wanted to pay someone, properly, above board, with a reputable clinic where the woman was in control of her body and decisions, and do it well. Like, LET'S GO.


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Convincing my partner wasn't easy. He wanted to look at all the other options, and said no matter what, it was about us being together. The last bit was beautiful, but I just wasn't ready to give up. I needed to know I had thrown everything I could before admitting defeat, knowing my life just felt empty now without being a parent. And the thought of making my partner childless just felt unimaginable to me. He HAD to be a dad. And I HAD to be a mum. It just might have to be done a different way.


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I dusted off the overseas spreadsheet. Though the decision making process was tumultuous, we both finally got on board and explored options, which actually took months. Just like with adoption, there are many forms, companies, and legalities. Countries where it is legal, countries where it 'isn't illegal,' and countries where it's full-blown human trafficking. Then in these countries - do they accept couples who are unmarried? Gay? How do your embryos get there? How do they find these women? Do the women consent, are they taken care of? How long does it take? How much does it cost? How do we know it's legit?


In terms of the last question, I mean, I still don't really know. Proof from people you meet with babies, I guess?


We met many agency reps online - some English first language, others not. A lot was very transactional - you get x many goes for y much money, you pay a if this happens, b if this happens. I won't lie - it's all very weird.


We decided together that we didn't want any agencies that didn't allow contact with the surrogate, as we wanted to be able to check in and know she was okay.


After hearing horror stories, we didn't want war torn countries, so that cut out Ukraine and the fear in nearby Georgia, which were the cheapest options.


We couldn't afford Greece, Cyprus, Argentina or the USA.


We wanted Mexico (Cancun! Spring break!) but they said embryos can take a year to get in.


So that left us with Colombia.


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