My surrogacy story: I was lied to, manipulated and exposed to cruel behaviours by public institutions and people I thought I could trust

Marie-Anne Isabelle sent in this account of her experience of being a surrogate mother through our Share your surrogacy or eggsploitation story page. This provides a space for women to share their experiences anonymously and in their own words.

It has taken me so long to pluck up the courage to tell my story. Trauma and courage. I am currently undergoing a therapy called EMDR to treat my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by my decision to be a surrogate for a family member. This treatment has meant that I am reliving some of the most traumatic memories that have ever happened to me.

I am writing this because I do not want anyone else to go through what I went through for someone else’s benefit.

I have been exploited, lied to, manipulated and exposed to some of the harshest and cruellest behaviours not just by the people I thought I could trust but also by institutions that everyday people should feel they can have confidence in.

What started out as a genuinely kind and wonderful thing to do became an ‘event’ where I was forced to sign documents I couldn’t face doing. I was then dragged to the High Court and forced to undergo psychiatric evaluations to prove I was of sound mind simply because I was distressed at being lied to. Thank goodness for a wonderful psychiatrist who saw through the manipulation of the UK surrogacy laws and found I was able to provide consent to a parental order. I just wasn’t sure I was able to provide my full and unconditional consent as the promises made to me about contact with the child I had given birth to were not being kept.

Just imagine after nine very difficult months of pregnancy you hand over the child that you think is going to be in your life forever. You are made promises of being the godparent and being involved it its life and within one month you hear nothing despite phone calls saying a visit would be soon but nobody turns up. Frustrated, traumatised and anxious is to put it mildly.

Then suddenly you start receiving threatening phone calls and letters demanding you hand over your rights and if you don’t you will be taken to court.

Well that is exactly what happened to me. But I won the moral fight in court and ended up doing the thing I agreed to do in the end because I keep my promises.

I didn’t go to any newspaper during the court hearing to sell my story or pictures of my womb online in a desperate attempt to advertise a fertility business…

No what I was busy doing was fighting for my life, my dignity and my own children.

Another thing I have also learnt from this is that no mother should ever be forced to put another child’s interest above her own children.

Surrogacy in the UK should be illegal until more protections and safeguarding procedures are in place for surrogates with a right to ongoing contact with the child they give birth to.

Until then in the UK women are easily able to be exploited. We look in anger at countries where women’s rights are ignored but many people don’t understand it is happening right here under their noses.

I read with interest the Law Commission’s recommendations for changing the law and I emailed them about what procedures and processes are in place to protect surrogates. I never had a response but I am still waiting for one. Let me hope it happens it my lifetime.

Further reading

Share your story

We believe that there are many women who are suffering in silence after having an unhappy, damaging or traumatic experience of ‘donating’ their eggs or being a ‘surrogate’ mother for the benefit of others. If this has happened to you and you’d like to share your story anonymously, please see our Share your surrogacy or eggsploitation story page.

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