Surrogacy helped Amanda achieve her dream of having a family after cancer

Amanda underwent a hysterectomy after diagnosis with endometrial cancer. With the help of a surrogate, she is now mum to Effie and Jude.

Amanda and Jason were childhood sweethearts, they got married in their twenties and started trying for a baby six years later. After trying to conceive for two years they were referred for fertility tests. It was during this time Amanda had devastating news: she was diagnosed with endometrial cancer.

Endometrial cancer

Amanda, who had not had any symptoms, explains: “It was a total shock, I wasn’t ill and felt fine. Luckily the cancer was grade 1a, meaning it hadn’t spread and was completely contained in the womb. The fertility testing had caught it at a very early stage but as a hysterectomy was part of the treatment, it meant I’d never be able to carry a baby.”

It was her surgical oncologist that suggested the possibility of using a surrogate for IVF treatment. As the cancer hadn’t spread and chemotherapy was not required, Amanda’s ovaries were not removed during the hysterectomy. However, as the cancer had been oestrogen dependent (one of the hormones the ovaries produce) the ovaries had to be removed after a year as delaying any longer increased the risk of the cancer returning leaving the couple just a small window of opportunity to make a decision.

Embryo freezing

The couple decided they did want their own child and were given an emergency appointment at Bourn Hall Clinic. “The staff at Bourn Hall were incredibly kind,” says Amanda. “They explained that as my womb had been removed I had to be anaesthetised for every egg collection. After the collection the eggs were fertilised by Jason’s sperm and then frozen. The clinic told us that freezing embryos (the egg and the sperm combined) gave a better chance of a successful pregnancy than eggs alone, and after three rounds of treatment, 14 embryos were frozen.”

Bourn Hall had helped Amanda and Jason hold on to their dream of having a child that was genetically theirs. They now needed to find a surrogate who was willing to carry their baby. For legal reasons this had to be independent of the clinic.

Amanda and Jason with baby Effie

Surrogacy UK

They joined Surrogacy UK, an organisation that believes in surrogacy through friendship and it was here they met Annie. “We were friends with Annie for over a year before she offered to be our surrogate. Trust and a good relationship were the main factors we needed to embark on this journey and we definitely felt this with Annie,” explains Amanda.

Annie had always wanted to experience pregnancy but without the ‘consequences’. “I’m a little bit unusual as I never wanted my own children,” says Annie. “The idea of being a surrogate started off as a bit of a joke, but a few years ago I started researching into the possibility. I met Amanda and Jason at one of the Surrogacy UK socials and we naturally formed a friendship. At the time I was pregnant and on my first journey with another couple. Six months after the birth, I wanted to help another family and they were the obvious choice.”

Amanda and Jason’s frozen embryos were moved to a clinic nearer to Annie for treatment and she got pregnant on the first try. “It didn’t seem real,” says Amanda. “After all we’d been through we couldn’t believe it was finally happening, we didn’t buy anything for the baby until after the 20 week scan. We saw Annie every two to three weeks, went to every midwife appointment and got to feel our baby kick.

“When Effie was born Jason cut the cord and we had our first cuddle. We felt incredibly lucky.”


Our family was complete

In 2019 Amanda and Jason welcomed their son Jude after Annie had further treatment using one of their frozen embryos.

“Our dreams had come true,” says Amanda. “We felt extremely privileged to meet our son and that our family was complete.

“Over the years of being members at Surrogacy UK we have met a huge number of couples and single intended parents struggling with infertility for various reasons. They have been a huge support to us through the highs and lows of our journey. 

“It feels like a huge weight has been lifted when your years of battling to have a family has finally been turned in to two beautiful children carried by an equally beautiful human being called Annie. We are forever grateful to her for making us parents and for being in our lives.”

Annie thinks that it is the best thing she has ever done. “To make dreams come true is such a privilege and being able to see the children grow up, knowing I helped, is incredibly rewarding.”

Jason, Effie and Jude on Father’s Day
Jason, Effie and Jude on Father’s Day
Amanda and Effie
Amanda and Effie