I have read a few negative articles in the press recently regarding surrogacy. Allow me to tell you my story, in the hope of leaving you with a fuller heart. Infertility is still a fairly taboo topic. Yet the reality is that many people need help to have a baby. It is a serious issue, and it was for me too.
It can also, dare I say, be quite frustrating for the woman in the relationship to do all the talking. Yes, it's our bodies going through most of the testing, poking and prodding, but it takes two to make a baby. Men aren't just there to provide the goods! As a woman, I need my other half to talk to me, communicate his feelings to me.
Couples can wait up to two years if they qualify for a free round of IVF with their local NHS Trust, but the qualifying criteria varies, and usually excludes couples if one of the partners has a child already, can be age dependent for the female and is basically down to funding, which can run out at anytime regardless of where you are on the waiting list.
Maybe fertility medicine will transform to such a rapid degree in the next 30 years that we will be living in a world previously only imagined by sci-fi writers, where pregnancy is hyper-managed, as Djerassi describes. I think it's far more likely that we will continue to want to have our babies the old fashioned way
I have secondary infertility, in other words I had fertility issues after my first child was born. She is now six. After five and a half years of numerous procedures, operations, four rounds of IVF, a miscarriage and ending up with a fairy godmother surrogate, I got my happy ending, my complete family.
Every year I see hundreds of couples going through IVF. They are looking for acupuncture to support them as well as recipes and nutritional advice. Social media is making us more finely tuned and I have been becoming increasingly worried about the recipe books and restrictive diets women are turning to when trying for baby.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner, all to contain some protein to help balance blood sugar throughout the day, plenty of leafy green veg, not too much sugar etc etc - you know the drill. You don't have to deny yourself the treats you love but eat more of the good stuff and the rubbish will be crowded out.
One of the problems with treating infertility in Britain is that infertile couples are often sent straight to IVF clinics. They come to expect the need for IVF. Instead, we need to get them thinking in a different, much more positive way rather than scheduling them in for three rounds of expensive treatment as soon as they've walked through the door. It is not all about IVF.
Said parents have just had a baby girl. The mother is 12 and still in primary school (she was 11 when the baby was conceived and is five months younger than Britain's previous youngest mum). The father is 13. The couple are said to be 'totally in love' and have the lowest combined age of any British parents on record. So if 50 is too old to have a baby, is 12 too young?
In what can often feel like a mummy-centric world, it can be very hard for women who don't have children and particularly those who want them and are childless by circumstance. Maybe they haven't met the right person. Maybe, like me, they've struggled to conceive. But statistics suggest that up to 25% of women currently in their thirties and forties won't have children.
Whether you deem it as a social family building trend or simply the scientific ability to navigate around Mother Nature, "traditional" surrogacy is not a new concept. As a matter of fact, it is the only form of assisted reproduction that dates back to biblical times. The story of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis chapter 16, is the most notable example.
When you look at the facts, perhaps it's not such an odd concept for women in their 20's to think about freezing their eggs now and having a much better chance of conceiving with these younger fresher eggs in later life. It's something that wasn't available 10 years ago and women who are struggling with infertility now would do anything to turn back the clock to their more fertile years.