Australia

Becoming a surrogate: NZ Mum shares the misconceptions and questions asked

Mom Of Three Lacey, 36, Decided To Become A Surrogate And Carry Her Friend'S Baby (Pictured: Lacey And Baby Niko She Carried As A Surrogate)

Mom of three Lacey, 36, decided to become a surrogate and carry her friend’s baby (Pictured: Lacey and baby Niko she carried as a surrogate)

Lacey Owen realizes that some women just aren’t cut out to be a surrogate and can’t imagine giving up a baby they’ve carried for nine months.

But for 36-year-old mother-of-three Lacey, the joy of gifting parenthood trumps the effort of giving the baby away — and she learned that the hard way.

Her first pregnancy in 2011 ended in miscarriage, and she feared never to become a mother.

But after giving birth three times, she remembered the vow she made when she lost her first child.

“If I ever get the chance to be a mom, I’ll pay it forward,” Lacey had promised herself and her husband Nick.

So when a gay friend and his partner approached her about being a surrogate for their child, she was delighted to say yes.

Lacey told FEMAIL about the challenges she faced back then, including the challenges she never expected, the misconceptions about surrogacy, and what every woman should know before taking that step.

Lacey Told Femail About The Challenges She Faced As A Surrogate, What She Never Expected, The Misconceptions, And What Every Woman Should Know When Considering Becoming A Surrogate (Photo: Lacey And Her Own Three Kids)

Lacey Told Femail About The Challenges She Faced As A Surrogate, What She Never Expected, The Misconceptions, And What Every Woman Should Know When Considering Becoming A Surrogate (Photo: Lacey And Her Own Three Kids)

Lacey told FEMAIL about the challenges she faced as a surrogate, what she never expected, the misconceptions, and what every woman should know when considering becoming a surrogate (Photo: Lacey and her own three kids)

1670102568 471 Becoming A Surrogate Nz Mum Shares The Misconceptions And Questions

1670102568 471 Becoming A Surrogate Nz Mum Shares The Misconceptions And Questions

Shortly after Lacey and her husband Nick agreed they were “done” with starting their own family, out of the blue her boyfriend Arrun Soma messaged to ask about surrogacy. “It was a coincidence,” she said (pictured: Lacey, center, holding baby Niko, Arrun Soma, left, and his partner Jake Vollebregt, right)

“Once we knew we were done with our family, out of the blue my friend Arrun Soma messaged me about his surrogacy plans — it was quite a coincidence and perfectly timed,” she recalls.

Lacey texted him back saying, “I’d love to be your surrogate if I qualify,” and Arrun was thrilled with the life-changing decision.

Lacey, Arrun and his partner Jake Vollebregt have all known each other for 10 years and Lacey felt comfortable helping them have a child of their own.

‘I’ve always been a very maternal person and loved babies; I loved being pregnant and giving birth, there were never any problems,” she said.

What followed was ongoing research, testing, meetings with lawyers, couples and group therapy, and lingering emotions.

Lacey, Arrun and Jake had group therapy and Lacey and Nick also to discuss surrogacy and “what if” scenarios.

“During counseling, we discussed questions to make sure we were all on the same page,” she said.

“We were asked all these hypothetical scenarios like ‘what if we found out the baby has Down syndrome, or some other chromosome abnormality, would you be happy to terminate the pregnancy?’, ‘what if I found out would come that I had cancer six months in?”, “what if Jake and Arrun died in a car accident, who would take care of the baby?”, Lacey said.

The Process Of Getting The Go-Ahead For Surrogacy Was Full Of Counseling, Considering Hypothetical Scenarios, And Speaking With Pre-Pregnancy Attorneys (Photo: Lacey With Ultrasound)

The Process Of Getting The Go-Ahead For Surrogacy Was Full Of Counseling, Considering Hypothetical Scenarios, And Speaking With Pre-Pregnancy Attorneys (Photo: Lacey With Ultrasound)

1670102569 437 Becoming A Surrogate Nz Mum Shares The Misconceptions And Questions

1670102569 437 Becoming A Surrogate Nz Mum Shares The Misconceptions And Questions

The process of getting the go-ahead for surrogacy was full of counseling, considering hypothetical scenarios, and speaking with lawyers before pregnancy (left, Lacey with ultrasound, right, Lacey pregnant)

From there they had to go to a lawyer, because in Australia and New Zealand it is illegal to pay surrogates or receive gifts. then the adoption process was discussed.

Under New Zealand law, Lacey was listed on the baby’s birth certificate as the “biological mother” and Nick as the “biological father” simply because they are married.

The surrogacy also had to be reviewed by New Zealand’s Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology.

“Another thing that shocked me the most is that my husband had to sign permission for me to have an embryo transfer – even if it was my body. This was done purely because we’re married,” Lacey said.

During Pregnancy She Lived A Normal Life As Much As Possible, Did Not Change Her Diet And Eats Healthy (Photo: Lacey With Ultrasound)

During Pregnancy She Lived A Normal Life As Much As Possible, Did Not Change Her Diet And Eats Healthy (Photo: Lacey With Ultrasound)

During pregnancy she lived a normal life as much as possible, did not change her diet and eats healthy (photo: Lacey with ultrasound)

From there, Lacey got pregnant during the second round of IVF, but unfortunately she miscarried five weeks later.

“I felt so bad for them, I felt pretty guilty, but there was nothing I could do,” she said, adding, “It was so hard to tell Jake and Arrun the terrible news.”

A few months passed, then Lacey had a third and final round of IVF and was worried she would lose the embryo.

Four days later, Lacey took a home pregnancy test that came back positive, then a blood test confirmed she was pregnant.

“It was so amazing to see his heartbeat on the ultrasound and we all burst into tears,” she said.

As with her previous pregnancies with her own children, Lacey experienced no problems or difficulties, and no morning sickness.

She kept in regular contact with Jake and Arrun who lived 10 hours away which was difficult during Covid.

During the pregnancy she lived ‘normally’ as much as possible, did not change her eating pattern and eats healthy.

Nick also found it funny to say to others “my wife is pregnant with another man’s baby.”

Shocking Aspects About Surrogacy You Might Not Know:

Prior to IVF Lacey, Arrun and Jake had group counseling to make sure they were ‘all on the same page’

They were given a series of “what if scenarios” beforehand, such as “what if they find out the baby has Down syndrome, would you want to terminate the pregnancy?”

Lacey said: ‘One aspect that shocked me the most was that my husband had to give permission for me to have an embryo transfer – even if it was my body. This was done purely because we are married. That was absolutely crazy.’

Under New Zealand law Lacey was listed on the baby’s birth certificate as the ‘biological mother’ with Nick as the ‘biological father’ as they are married

Then it took seven months of finalizing everything through court until Arrun and Jake were able to adopt Lacey’s baby. Lacey was also shocked that the process took so long, and now Arrun and Jake have a new birth certificate as Niko’s parents.

In Australia and New Zealand it is illegal to pay someone to be a surrogate

It can cost thousands of dollars in legal fees, IVF and court fees to undergo surrogacy

Lacey said the biggest misconception about surrogacy is that the woman changes her mind and wants to keep the baby for herself.

“There are a lot of people who just can’t comprehend that you can carry a baby and just don’t want to — which may be why some women can become surrogate mothers and others can’t,” she said.

“I went into pregnancy knowing the baby wasn’t mine, and even when it was born it didn’t look like my baby at all.

“To help someone else have the kids she wants so badly is just incredible.”

At 39 weeks pregnant, Lacey gave birth to little baby Niko in November last year.

She didn’t cry at first, but 36 hours later, when the hormones kicked in, she couldn’t stop crying.

At 39 Weeks, Lacey Gave Birth To Little Baby Niko In November Last Year (Pictured After The Birth In November 2021

At 39 Weeks, Lacey Gave Birth To Little Baby Niko In November Last Year (Pictured After The Birth In November 2021

At 39 weeks, Lacey gave birth to little baby Niko in November last year (pictured after the birth in November 2021

These Days, Lacey Occasionally Catches Up With Arrun, Jake, And Niko And She'S Known As Aunty Lacey (Photo: Lacey And Niko)

These Days, Lacey Occasionally Catches Up With Arrun, Jake, And Niko And She'S Known As Aunty Lacey (Photo: Lacey And Niko)

These days, Lacey occasionally catches up with Arrun, Jake, and Niko and she’s known as Aunty Lacey (Photo: Lacey and Niko)

Lacey took medication to keep her breast milk from kicking in, although it “didn’t work.”

A week after the birth, Lacey, Arrun and Jake were with Niko every day for a week.

“It sounds cliche, but it was a total rollercoaster of emotions because my body and mind wanted a baby, but I didn’t,” she said.

“A few months later I started to feel like myself again.”

Nowadays Lacey occasionally catches up with Arrun, Jake and Niko and she is known as Aunty Lacey.

What are the Surrogacy Laws in Australia?

In Australia, the regulation of surrogacy is a matter for the states and territories

In New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and Victoria, anyone, regardless of gender, relationship status or sexual orientation, can be an Intended Parent

In the other states and the ACT, only heterosexual married or de facto couples, or single women are eligible

You can expect surrogacy in Australia to cost anywhere from $15,000 to over $100,000

When the baby is born, the birth is registered in the state where the baby was born, with the surrogate mother and her partner listed as the baby’s parents on the birth certificate

After the birth, the intended parents can apply to the court for a parental order in the state where they live

sources: Surrogacy Australia and Center for Human Rights Law

Show More

Jacky

The author of what'snew2day.com is dedicated to keeping you up-to-date on the latest news and information.

Related Articles

Back to top button