Where will your journey begin?
Michael & Wes Johnson Ellis
Michael and Wes are the co-founders of My Surrogacy Journey and are Dads to their two children born via UK independent Surrogacy. Talulah was born in 2016, and Duke was born in 2019.
They built their family through friendship and developed a solid relationship with their gestational surrogate, Caroline and her family. When it came to finding an egg donor Michael and Wes also had additional help from two incredible women. One was anonymous via their clinic, and the other a friend. Their known donor is My Surrogacy Journey’s third co-founder, Francesca Steyn.
Michael and Wes are also no stranger to campaigning for change, in relation to the Surrogacy Law Reform in the UK, Government policy related to surrogates and intended parents and also educating Healthcare professionals in relation to UK Surrogacy.
They also understand that there is a growing need for Surrogacy support globally, with surrogacy births growing year on year in the UK, and parental orders of those children born abroad also reflecting similar increases.
The trying to conceive (TTC) community demographic is also evolving too. With a rising trend of millennials moving away from traditional social media platforms such as Facebook, combined with busy work and social schedules, it’s time to rethink how the TTC community is supported. The way people interact online has changed dramatically over the last five years. So through greater professional, practical, and emotional support, with individualised membership and greater options to create a family, they have built something different, something like no other organisation has done before.
Anna and her husband Ed are parents to Isla, and twins Olive and Art, thanks to two amazing surrogates. Like many women, Anna’s journey to motherhood was far more complicated and painful that she had ever realised was possible. Two missed miscarriages and subsequent surgeries to remove the pregnancies left Anna with severe scarring of the womb - a condition known as Asherman’s Syndrome - so the lining necessary to maintain a pregnancy couldn’t develop. Five operations over 18 months failed to correct the scarring and Anna was told that she would never be able to carry a pregnancy.
Anna and Ed therefore turned to surrogacy and began researching the options at home and abroad. Awfully long waiting times to be matched with a surrogate, meant that Anna and Ed decided to go abroad, and Isla was conceived and born in India. For their sibling journey, they decided to go to America and the twins were born in the summer of 2018.
Both journeys highlighted to Anna the complexities of international surrogacy and the challenges of trying to manage those journeys unassisted. Anna decided not to return to her job in financial services after her children were born so that she could support other people on their journey to parenthood through surrogacy.
Anna has worked with the San Diego Fertility Center where her twins were born to help couples navigate surrogacy in the US and now works for My Surrogacy Journey.
Francesca is one of the UK’s leading Fertility nurse specialists with over 15 years of experience and has a special interest in Surrogacy and gamete donation.
Francesca’s enthusiasm for Fertility Nursing has taken her all over the globe, presenting at national and international conferences and sharing best practices whilst educating like-minded Nurses about the importance of Fertility Nursing, training and development for fertility nurses and sharing her experience of managing surrogacy programmes.
Francesca has worked for some of London’s leading Fertility Clinics and established Surrogacy teams which have since developed into award winning services.
She was awarded surrogacy fertility professional of the year in both 2018 and 2019 and has been heavily involved in the campaigning for change for surrogacy, writing national guidelines and contributed to the UK Surrogacy Law Reform which was led by All Party Parliamentary Group for surrogacy (APPG).
Francesca has recently been appointed as Chair elect for the Royal College of Nursing Fertility Nurses Forum which is a major fertility stakeholder group and the leading voice for fertility nursing staff in the UK.
Francesca also has personal experience as an egg donor, in 2018 she donated her eggs to friends and now colleagues, Michael and Wes which resulted in the birth of Duke in 2019.