My Surrogacy Journey - Speaking with Mike Johnson-Ellis about Surrogacy Advocacy, Education and Inclusivity
Play • 53 min

Since having their children by surrogacy, Mike and his partner have been advocating for equality in surrogacy as well as modernising guidelines and laws. They have also tirelessly supported many others through their surrogacy journeys. In this episode, Zoe speaks to Mike about his own experience to becoming a parent with his partner Wes, the challenges they had, the many positives and why they are so passionate about changing many of the conversations around surrogacy.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Children were always on the cards for Mike and Wes. Mike had previously been married to a woman and one of the reasons was because of how much he wanted children. He was desperate to have his own family.
  • Wes had a daughter from a previous relationship which made the start of their relationship difficult, Mike had to grow a lot and recognise he was the adult in the situation. She is now 17 and an incredible person who Mike and Wes are very proud of: she also makes the best big sister!
  • Once Mike and Wes had decided to have a child together, they spent almost 3 years researching the options and the best way to do so. They decided on UK surrogacy, which they had to do independently as no UK agencies were taking on new intended parents.
  • When they found their surrogate, Mike and Wes thought they didn’t want to stay in contact or be involved with the surrogate afterwards. But after going through the journey and feeling how much this surrogate was doing for them – they couldn’t just ‘dispose’ of the friendship. She made them parents, Mike felt ashamed that at the beginning he didn’t truly appreciate what she was doing for them.
  • It was important for Mike and Wes to be present and supportive at all the appointments with the surrogate. They had a few awkward situations where they were told only the Dad was allowed in or were triggered by healthcare professionals asking for the ‘real dad’.
  • Their experience made them want to change laws and guidelines around surrogacy as well as make surrogacy more normalised. We need to educate people around surrogacy and usualise it.
  • Policy was very outdated in the NHS, they wouldn’t allow both Wes and Mike be present at the birth. By challenging this they ended up changing policy around surrogacy in the NHS. By telling their story, both intended parents in surrogacy can now be present at the birth.
  • Mike and Wes have supported over 300 men through surrogacy and they have now launched their own non-profit organisation, my surrogacy journey. It focuses on support, counselling and providing a real managed solution to surrogacy for all.
  • It’s be a really exciting and hectic journey for both Wes and Mike. Mike jokes that it is a good job they really like each other as they live, work, lobby and parent together!

BEST MOMENTS

“I just longed to be a parent”

“Children are really important in my world”
“I have nothing but admiration and love for her and her husband”

“We need to educate people better about surrogacy…we need to talk about surrogacy more and usualise it”

“It was the best thing I have ever witnessed”

VALUABLE RESOURCES
www.petalscharity.org

www.tommys.org

www.arc-uk.org

www.sands.org.uk

ABOUT THE GUEST

Michael Johnson-Ellis
@twodads.u.k

@officialmysurrogacyjourney

@themodernfamilyshow

https://www.mysurrogacyjourney.com

https://themodernfamilyshow.co.uk

ABOUT THE HOST

Zoe Cresswell

Devoted mother of two (and a big hairy dog), UK trained midwife, doula and personal trainer, specialising in pre and postnatal fitness.

Zoe was born in the UK and before moving to Dubai in 2013 and worked as a midwife in central London, both in a birth centre and a very busy NHS hospital.

Although late to the scene, Zoe is an aspiring athlete having won numerous triathlons and representing Great Britain where she placed within the top 10 on the world stage.

With her husband James, the couple will soon be launching their cloth nappy company, Bop & Bee, where they hope to inspire families to swap a few disposable nappies a day for the more planet friendly option of cloth.

Zoe’s goal is to share her knowledge and experience, tell real life stories, manage expectations and open up those often difficult conversations.

Zoe’s own motherhood journey has been full of twists and turns as she put everything on hold and went through numerous miscarriages and rounds of IVF.

CONTACT DETAILS

Instagram : @zoecresswell_me

Facebook: Zoe Cresswell

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/zoe-cresswell

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