A single father’s international surrogacy journey
As a single man, Josep always dreamed of becoming a father. Having a baby using a gestational carrier is illegal in his home country of Spain, so he started exploring international surrogacy. Recommendations from friends led him to our Las Vegas fertility center. At FCLV, he found answers and a supportive team ready to help make his dream of parenthood come true.
“On January 4, 2017, I had my first visit with Dr. Shapiro,” Josep recalls. “I was pleasantly surprised when, upon arriving at the clinic, Veronica welcomed me, speaking Spanish. One of my biggest concerns had been being able to communicate correctly, but I didn’t have any difficulty, thanks to Veronica and Raquel, my case manager, who also spoke Spanish. I felt very welcomed by everyone. Dr. Shapiro, who also speaks some Spanish, explained the whole process to me.”
Josep decided to move forward with an IVF cycle and create embryos with his sperm and an egg donor. Working with an international surrogacy agency, he had already matched with a gestational carrier who could carry and deliver his child. His gestational carrier, Kara works as a birth doula in Chilliwack, British Columbia. As an advocate for international surrogacy, she decided to share her journey through video blogs on Facebook.
“I’ve always wanted to be a gestational carrier,” she says. “I’ve had my own children, but I still feel like I have a really great uterus, and I want to use it. I want to help someone. This is a personal thing for me to be able to provide such an amazing gift for somebody else. It really is a beautiful gift that I can give.”
While his visit to the United States was an emotional experience, our Las Vegas fertility center team provided much-needed support and a shoulder to lean on.
“The treatment was excellent,” he recalls. “Raquel did not hesitate to give me a big hug in a moment that I felt weakness and vulnerability. It was normal, since I was alone in Las Vegas, away from my family right around Christmas time. And a few days before, I had met my gestational carrier, Kara, one of the best women on this planet.”
The international surrogacy process
After providing a semen sample for sperm freezing, Josep returned to Spain, eagerly awaiting updates from our Las Vegas fertility center team. While the FCLV team managed the egg donor’s IVF cycle, Kara worked hard to lose weight to qualify as a gestational carrier, then started taking birth control pills to regulate her menstrual cycle. At the right time, she began taking the fertility medications to prepare her body to receive one of Josep’s embryos.
“Once I was back in Spain, everything was coordinated with an unblemished professionalism,” Josep says. “The staff at the clinic seemed like my family, and we exchanged emails almost daily to manage the egg donation, Kara’s medication and the transfer of the embryo.”
The donor egg IVF cycle created five embryos, four of which would remain frozen for later use. When it was time for the embryo transfer, Kara traveled from Canada to our Las Vegas fertility center. Still in Spain, Josep was able to participate during the 10-minute procedure through a Skype video connection.
Kara documented every step of her international surrogacy journey on the Yellow Bird Birth Doulas Facebook page, detailing the embryo transfer, the medications she took for about 10 weeks after the transfer, and the exciting news that the transfer had been successful and that she was pregnant with Josep’s baby girl.
“I am really, really excited for this baby’s family,” Kara says. “I am so blessed and honored to be a part of this, and to be able to give the most incredible gift you could give to somebody.”
While pregnant, she says, she loved talking to others about being a gestational carrier and about Josep’s excitement to finally meet his baby.
“I remember looking impatiently at my e-mail inbox when I was waiting for news from Crystal, Raquel, Sarah, Laurie or Dr. Bruce Shapiro,” Josep says. “Luckily, they were always good, and everything proceeded correctly. I have continued in my relationship with some of the girls who work at FCLV, and although the conversations are not so regular, I always carry them in my heart, since they helped me to be a little bit happier.”
Becoming a father through international surrogacy
The pregnancy progressed beautifully, with Kara providing regular updates to Josep along the way. When the international surrogacy process was almost complete and it was finally time to meet his daughter, whom he had already named Cloe, he traveled to Canada with his sister to be there for her birth.
After two days of difficult labor, Kara was forced to abandon her plan of having a home birth. She traveled to a nearby hospital to receive labor-inducing medication and an epidural. But before the doctor could place the order for the drugs, Kara delivered Josep’s baby naturally, just minutes after arriving in her hospital room.
Josep was able to witness the birth of his long-awaited child and was overcome with emotion. “The moment I saw her head, I started to cry. It was a mixture of joy, nervousness and thousands of feelings that surfaced in that moment,” he recalls.
A photographer was there to capture the moment he held Cloe for the first time, before her umbilical cord was cut. “With my daughter in my arms, I kept repeating, ‘How beautiful she is.’ I guess what I wanted to say was that she was the most beautiful and perfect being in the world, and I was the happiest person,” Josep says.
To learn more about international surrogacy and donor eggs, contact our Las Vegas fertility center.