Matthew and Gary began looking into what options they had available for having a family, including investigating adoption.
Matthew begins: “Having children is a very big decision and for various reasons we thought that the adoption path wasn’t right for us.”
Gary adds: “It was around Christmas time 2011 with my family, including my brother Jason and his wife Ollie, when we told them that we were going to take some time to reevaluate our options.”
Ollie offers to be a surrogate
In January 2012, Ollie contacted the couple and suggested being a surrogate for them.
Gary says: “Ollie said that she and Jason had discussed the matter; that she’d be honoured to be a surrogate mother for us and happy to help if she could.”
Matthew adds: “We didn’t know how to react as it was such an amazing gift.”
Ollie’s offer meant that Gary and Matthew were a major step closer to their dream of having a family and they started researching clinics that would support them.
An anonymous egg donor
Matthew says: “We chose Cambridge’s Bourn Hall because of its location and because it felt right. We came with Ollie and Jason for a meeting with Doctor Thomas Mathews and instantly knew we would be treated well here and looked after.”
Following their initial consultation, tests and checks, Gary and Matthew were provided with anonymised information on possible egg donors.
An egg donor’s profile includes information about the donor’s physical appearance, interests, skills and reasons for donating but it is non-identifying. The donor is also able if she wishes to provide a pen-sketch of themselves with a message, which the child can request when he or she becomes 18.
The donor is also able to contact the Clinic, at least a year after the donation, to find out if there have been any successful births resulting from the donation.
Matthew continues: “When we got the information we felt that they were all appropriate and we didn’t have any concerns so we put our faith into the hands of Bourn Hall Clinic and took it from there.”
Pregnant on the first attempt
The egg from the anonymous donor was fertilised with sperm and the embryo transferred to Ollie’s womb. This meant there was no biological link with Ollie or her husband. She became pregnant on the first attempt in February 2014.
Matthew says: “Every scan during Ollie’s pregnancy has been a point when we have felt reassured and more excited, especially when we discovered we were expecting twins.
Gary adds: “A real rollercoaster of emotions as we got closer to their birth: you start to get more confident but it is not until the babies are in your arms that you really believe it.
“To prepare for their birth we had arranged a birthing plan with the midwives at Portsmouth Hospital: that we would be present and get to hold them immediately.”
Elliot and Verity are born
On 1st November 2014 Elliott and Verity were born.
Matthew says: “Gary got to hold Elliott instantly but Verity’s birth was a bit more complicated because she was a breach. The next few minutes were an emotional roller coaster and we were quite frightened if our baby girl would be alright.
“Once Verity gave her first cry and the nurse had checked her, we knew she was fine. I then got to hold her, which was lovely; a very special moment.”
Inundated with well-wishers
Both Gary and Matthew initially received time off work to spend with the twins and since having Elliott and Verity home have been inundated by well-wishers and family members keen to help and see them.
Gary says: “I think at the beginning of the process for our older generations it was a bit alien and a slight concern as to how others might react, but it has been all positive. I think also they didn’t want to get too excited in the early days but as soon as Ollie was pregnant it all became very real. My mum has been incredible, so proud and a very doting Grandmother.”
Matthew adds: “My family is also all really close and my sister-in-law has two small children so we’ve got a good family support system. Plus Gary’s parents will also be around to see their grandchildren grow up which will be great.”
Gary has subsequently returned to work while Matthew is at home with the babies.