An Irish couple have revealed how a Boston surrogacy clinic helped them and many other Irish realize their dream of a baby – thanks to a surrogate mum in Indiana.
James and his wife Kate have told their heart warming story to the Irish Times newspaper in a bid to inform more couples of the American option when it comes to surrogacy.
The Circle Surrogacy agency in Boston was established by lawyer John Weltman, himself a father by surrogacy, and has helped 20 Irish couples link up with American surrogate mothers over the last decade.
Weltman’s organization offers a viable alternative to surrogacy services in India and the Ukraine for Irish couples as James and Kate explained to the Irish Times but the service does come at a cost.
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They turned to Weltman after Kate had developed medical problems during the birth of their daughter which resulted in a hysterectomy. Now, thanks to the Circle Surrogacy service, they are the proud parents of a second child, a little boy.
“We didn’t even look at the Ukraine or India - instead we looked at what was available in the US. We literally started Googling surrogacy clinics and then came across Circle Surrogacy in Boston, which we liked the sound of,” James told the Irish Times.
Having raised almost $120,000 via a loan for "house improvements," James and Kate undertook a series of interviews with the Boston agency before they were linked up with a surrogate mother, a 36-year-old married woman based in Indiana.
“We went to meet her and her husband at the Pizza Hut in their home town,” James told the paper. “Their kids played around in the play area and we talked.
“She explained that she was doing it because she lost one of her five children during birth. She said she wanted to give birth once more for closure, that she was doing it for her own reasons.”
Once the legal paperwork was complete, James’ sperm was fertilized with his wife’s eggs in the U.S. and the resulting embryos were then transferred to the surrogate mother.
Regular contact was maintained between the couple and the surrogate mother before James and Kate went back to the States for the birth.
“There was no awkwardness,” said James. “We were all in the hospital together. The nurse asked who should cut the cord, and the carrier’s husband did. Then, the baby was handed to us and I put the first nappy on.
“My wife held him, and then asked the carrier if she wanted to hold the baby. It was all fine. She was happy about it all; she was in a good place. She wasn’t clingy or anything, because this was something that she wanted to do.”
Surrogacy laws in Indiana allowed for a pre-birth order which ensured that James and Kate appeared on the birth cert of their son as soon as his birth was registered.
Their son, a U.S. citizen, was awarded an Irish passport on his return home with the couple.
“It was a very happy outcome. We were very lucky and very fortunate, as we’ve heard stories where the carrier lost the baby,” said James.
“I wouldn’t criticize anyone for heading to the Ukraine or elsewhere. But we were lucky enough to have had the money to go the U.S.
“At home, no one batted an eyelid. The only downside was we didn’t qualify for paternity leave or adoptive leave. Because there’s no law, you just fall through the cracks.”
The couple are now campaigning to raise awareness of surrogacy in Ireland and to improve the rights of all involved.
James concluded: “Ours is a very positive story. We’re so happy to have our son. We always wanted a companion and a friend for our daughter. We didn’t want her growing up as an only child. And now we have that.”
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