Calie Fletcher, 45, from Australia, and her best friend of 20 years, Jeni Mitchell, 41, embarked on the surrogacy journey after Fletcher was told she wouldn’t be able to fall pregnant for the second time.
Fully aware of Fletcher’s heartbreak and frustration, Mitchell said she wanted to help out a friend and so offered to be her surrogate.
“I was quietly optimistic and hopeful that taking this path would fulfill our hopes of having another baby,” Fletcher told The Huffington Post UK
“I did however have to be realistic that it may not happen either. Luck was on our side and Jeni was successfully pregnant on the first attempt.”
Fletcher and her husband Michael, had five frozen embryos left from previous IVF attempts they’d undertaken before their first son was born.
When Kai was born, Fletcher haemorrhaged and lost a lot of blood, which she described as the “final nail in the coffin” for her fertility.
“We wanted to have another child and just leaving the embryos wasn’t an option for us,” she said. “We had to at least keep trying.
“I had one more transfer, which again failed and that’s when the doctor told me that my uterus was too damaged to support another pregnancy.
“When Michael and I asked about our options surrogacy was mentioned.”
Fletcher explained she and Mitchell went into the process with “very clear roles”, with Mitchell having the job to grow a baby and Fletcher supporting her physically and emotionally to make the process as easy as possible.
The pregnancy went well and the friends decided to get photographer Kris Baum to document their birth story.
In January 2017, Mitchell gave birth to Fletcher’s daughter Annika.
“Jeni and I are hoping that by sharing our story we can start the conversation that surrogacy in Australia can be an option,” said Fletcher.
“There is a process, but it’s not as hard or scary as people might think. And for us, we are both very honest and open with our communication.
“My husband and I are eternally grateful to Jeni and her family for completing our family.
“We will always have a special bond and Annika will always know her incredible story.”