CSP receives hundreds of applications a year from women hoping to be a surrogate. It takes a special person to consider carrying a child for someone else and we are extremely grateful to all who apply. Only around 20% of those who apply meet the requirements to complete our rigorous screening process. Given this, it seems against the odds that two members of the same family are currently carrying children for CSP intended parents. Meet Ashley and Tori, sisters sharing a surrogacy journey.
Ashley, a second-time CSP surrogate, delivered a baby girl for international intended parents in 2016. After hearing stories of surrogacy from a good friend who was a CSP surrogate along with seeing friends go through infertility, Ashley thought, “I could do this for somebody.” A year after those first thoughts she began considering the idea more seriously. Ashley admits she had to work at getting her husband on board with the idea for her first surrogacy but he was keen from the very beginning of her second journey. “When my first surrogate baby was born, he was there filming the moment our Intended Parents first met their child; he was crying and shaking too. I would hear him talking to people about it afterwards and he was just so proud.” After Ashley and her husband read their current Intended Parent’s profile, they both agreed “we have to do this, we have to help them.”
Tori’s interests in surrogacy predates Ashley’s first surrogacy. “I met a lady years ago, before either of us had got married or had kids. She was showing me photos of who I assumed were her kids and went on to explain that one of them was a child she had carried for a couple in Florida. At the time I didn’t even know surrogacy was a thing. Like everyone does I had a million questions. It was just really cool to hear and kind of got me thinking about it. When Ashley did it the first time, it brought it back in to my mind.” After Ashley returned to CSP for her second journey, she called Tori asking if she was still interested in surrogacy. Within 2 weeks, Tori had contacted CSP. Tori says, “It was an easy decision for me. I had thought about it over the years and having shared Ashley’s first journey it rekindled my dream of helping others.”
Tori and Ashley’s children have witnessed surrogacy since an early age so for them it is normal to carry someone else’s baby. When Tori first mentioned her upcoming surrogacy to 5-year-old Loa and 9-year-old Hailey, her youngest had a few questions but her eldest got it straight away. Hailey started crying because it was such a nice thing to do. Ashley agrees that “kids seem to understand [surrogacy] so much better than adults.” Ashley’s children are so comfortable talking about surrogacy that her 7-year-old’s teacher said it felt like she has had a science lesson after having it explained by Stella!
Both families think that one of the best things about their experience has been their relationships with the Intended Parent’s, or IP’s. “I’ve made friendships with people I would never have met otherwise, it has been amazing to experience the different cultures of our intended parents” says Ashley. Tori, still in the early stages of her journey, enjoys her developing interactions with her IPs. Tori says, “In the beginning it was kind of awkward, like making a new friend. You don’t know each other at the start but every time we speak or meet up it feels more and more comfortable.”
The sisters both expressed how great it feels to be doing something to help someone in need. Ashley says, “It has been really fulfilling. It’s very special for me to know that I am able to do this for someone and to see the babies growing up and see them being loved.” Tori agrees that “it feels really good to have a purpose and to be helping someone who just needs a win for once.”
When it came to choosing an agency to work with it was a no-brainer for both sisters. “My friend had worked with CSP in the past and they had an office locally,” says Ashley. “For me, both my journeys have been such smooth sailing. There haven’t been any issues that have come up but I know CSP are really good if there are any hiccups along the way. You feel supported knowing you have someone behind you.” Tori says she could not imagine doing this process independently. “There is so much behind the scenes that CSP takes care of. Between the screening process, then matching followed by the medication and appointments – there is a lot going on. It is reassuring to have CSP taking care of all the ‘nitty-gritty’.”
Experiencing surrogacy together has been special for both sisters. “We have all the support from CSP, support group meetings and the CSP Facebook group for surrogates but there is an extra level of support for me; Ashley is my constant go-to” says Tori. Although the sisters signed up with CSP around the same time, because Ashley is a second-time surrogate, the screening process was quicker since most of her paperwork was on file. Ashley is now nearing the end of her journey and Tori is newly pregnant. Ashley says, “It would have been nice to have more time to share it together but part of being a surrogate is accepting that things don’t always happen as you plan or schedule them. You have to be flexible and prepared to take things as they come.”
CSP are honored to work with Ashley and Tori, and their intended parents will forever be grateful for the incredible impact they have had on their lives.