Journey Timeline

My Surrogacy Story

Obtaining British Passports for your Surrogate Babies born in Ukraine

Parental Orders for British Intended Parents via Surrogacy in Ukraine

General Info for British Nationals in Kiev


IVF A Detailed Guide

Cover for Kindle IVF A Detailed Guide


Feb 2004 (South Africa):

Stopped taking the contraceptive pill

June 2005:

Various scans and tests by the gynaecologist

Told by gynaecologist and endocrinologist that I needed to be treated for Graves Disease (over-active thyroid) and PCOS.

I was given Clomid (Fertimed in South Africa), Metformin (Glucophage in South Africa) and Carbimazole. (South Africa)

Jan 2006:

Stopped all my meds – personal decision due to the meds making me extremely ill and unable to function from day to day (read more about this in my first post here)

Oct 2010 (UK):          

Chemical pregnancy – taken to hospital with infection. Various tests and scans. Confirmed that I did NOT have PCOS.

Jan 2011:

Thyroid tested again and confirmed over-active. Started taking Propylthiouracil (PTU) and monitored every 6 weeks. Was told that fertility treatment could not be started until Thyroid tested normal.

Jan 2012:          

Thyroid normal – requested fertility investigations to start

April 2012:          

Day 3 (check ovarian reserve) and Day 21 (progesterone levels to check that ovulation has occurred).

My husband had a semen analysis results as follows:

Volume:  3.7ml

Density:  27.2

Motility:  68%

Morphology:  3.5%

July 2012:          

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) performed to check both tubes – all good.

August 2012:          

Referred to a fertility consulting nurse for a 5 minute discussion on what happens next – referred to a fertility specialist.

October 2012:          

Repeat of day 3 and day 21 tests

April 2013:

Repeat of Day 3 test (Serum FSH, Serum LH and Serum TSH)

I was tested for Rubella, HIV, Hepatitis B & C and Chlamydia.

May 2013:          

Referred to the fertility specialist at Cotswold Fertility Unit and had to repeat day 3 and day 21 blood tests.

My husband was also tested for HIV and Hepatitis B & C and another semen analysis, results as follows:

Volume:  6ml

Density:  15.9

Motility:  45%

Morphology:  5%

Notes:  Normozoospermic (normal)

June 2013:          

Invited to a talk on IVF at Oxford Fertility Clinic.

Haemoglobin test and Serum Ferritin (iron levels).

July 2013:          

Met with the fertility planning nurses at Cotswold Fertility Clinic and prepared protocol for first cycle.

Started taking Buserelin  (Suprecur) down reg sniffing meds (nasal spray every 2 hours) to put my body into forced temporary menopause. Down reg scan to check that ovaries have shut down.

Iron tests showed anaemia – started taking 2 x ferrous sulphate (iron supplements) daily.

August 2013:          

Gonal F injections (225ml) to stimulate ovaries to produce as many egg follicles as possible and as large as possible (optimum size between 16 and 21 mm). Regular scans to check number and size of follicles and decide when they are ready to be harvested.

September 2013:          

In danger of over-stimulation (OHSS) so Gonal F reduced to 125ml.

Egg retrieval (9 eggs fertilized)

Cyclogest (progesterone) pessaries – 1x twice a day until pregnancy test.

Day 5 transfer of 2 embryos (1x grade 1 and 1x grade 3) – Lining 8.9mm at time of transfer.

None of good enough quality left over to freeze.

October 2013:          

Positive Pregnancy Test.

Early pregnancy scan at 6 weeks and 4 days confirmed one heartbeat.

November 2013:          

12 week scan showed that baby’s heart had stopped around 8 weeks.

Emergency ERPC (evacuation of retained pregnancy products) performed.

Stopped taking iron tablets.

January 2014:

Follow up with fertility specialist and advised that missed-miscarriage was just down to bad luck.

February 2014:          

IVF Cycle number 2 begins with Synarel down reg sniffing meds (morning and night).

Acupuncture twice a week.

Endo scratch.

March 2014:          

Gonal F injections (125ml)

Acupuncture twice a week.

April 2014:          

Egg collection (10 eggs fertilized)

Cyclogest (progesterone) pessaries – 1x twice a day until pregnancy test.

Transfer of 2 embryos (2x grade 2) on day 5 of cultivation using Embryo Glue – lining at 10.4mm.

1 embryo to freeze (1x grade 1).

Acupuncture twice a week.

Negative pregnancy test.

May 2014:

Follow up with the fertility specialist – decline in quality of eggs suspected.

June 2014:          

IVF Cycle number 3 begins with Synarel

Started taking 1 iron tablet a day.

July 2014:          

Gonal F injections (125ml)

August 2014:        

Egg collection (5 eggs fertilized).

Cyclogest (progesterone) pessaries – 1x twice a day until pregnancy test.

Transfer of 2 embryos (1x grade 2 and 1x morula) on day 5 – lining at 8.4mm.

None to freeze.

September 2014:          

Negative pregnancy test.

October 2014:          

Follow up appointment with fertility specialist. She confirmed that egg quality is declining even further. Advised to move on to Egg Donation if our frozen embryo fails to implant.

Second endo scratch.

Started taking one Aspirin (75mg) a day.

November 2014:

Cycle number 4 – natural FET (frozen embryo transfer) using Embryo Glue of our last embryo after natural ovulation confirmed through LH surge home test and scan. Lining at 7.3mm.

Cyclogest (progesterone) pessaries – 1x twice a day until pregnancy test.

December 2014:          

Negative pregnancy test.

Decided to move on to donor eggs in Brno, Czech Republic.

Contacted Becky from Your IVF Journey as co-ordinators between us and Reprofit International in Brno. Sent history over and completed all medical and personal forms. (See further information about our preparation, time and treatment in Brno, Czech Republic, here)

January 2015:      

Cycle number 5 begins with Donor Eggs.

Started taking BCP’s (birth control pills) to synchronize my cycle with my donor’s cycle but had to stop after 5 days as was violently ill – vomiting and migraines – couldn’t get out of bed.

Was given Northisterone pills instead of BCP’s.

February 2015:    

Had down reg injection of Diphereline (administered by nurse).

Started Progynova estrogen pills.

Scan to check thickness of endometrial lining (6.4mm).

Sperm collection at Reprofit International in Brno, Czech Republic results as follows:

Volume:  62ml (lowest limits 15ml)

Density:  62 (lowest limits 15)

Motility:  81 (lowest limits 40)

Morphology:  1% (lowest limits 4)

Notes:  Teratozoospermia (deformed sperm)

Intralipid infusion.

Started Utrogestan progesterone pessaries on sperm collection day 4x twice a day.

Started taking over-the-counter Vitamin D supplements.

Stopped taking daily Aspirin due to bleeding ulcer.

March 2015:

Lining scan (8.6mm)

Started Utrogestan progesterone pessaries 4x twice a day from sperm collection day.

Transfer of 2 hatching blastocysts on day 5.

Intralipid infusion.

One embryo frozen.

Negative pregnancy test.

Started Progynova estrogen pills for Cycle number 6 on day 2 of my bleed (which was 5 days after negative test)

April 2015:

Lining scan.

Started taking Prednisone (steroid) pills.

Intralipid infusion 10 days before transfer and on transfer.

Started Utrogestan progesterone pessaries 4x twice a day.

Transfer of our one fully hatched blastocyst which has been frozen.

Steroid injection Solumedron administered by nurse after transfer.

Started daily blood thinner injections Fraxiparine (Clexane).

Negative pregnancy test.

Started Progynova for Cycle number 7 with PGD CHI Tested Donor Embryo.

May 2015:

Lining scan (6.91mm)

Intralipid infusion 10 days before transfer.

Started Utrogestan progesterone pessaries 4x twice a day.

Transfer of one PGD CHI Tested Donated Embryo. – Lining only 7mm.

NO more intralipids. NO steroid injection. NO more blood thinning injections.

Negative pregnancy test.

June 2015:

Initial consultancy with new clinic called IVI in Barcelona, Spain.

Detailed blood and semen tests done, including various genetic tests.

July 2015:

Results come in for the various tests.

Me:  I discover that I have MTHFR homozygous C677T mutation! Treatment for this includes attempts to naturally detox and replace toxic cleaning chemicals and other harmful substances with non-toxic ones. Advised to take Folate (NOT synthetic folic acid) and a complex vitamin B multi-vitamin (NOT pre-natals).

Hubby’s Sperm:

Volume:  5 million (lowest limits 1.5million)

Density:  17.05 mill (Lowest limits 15 mill)

Motility:  50 (lowest limits 40)

Morphology:  7% (lowest limits 4)

Notes:  Normozoospermia (normal sperm)

FISH genetic test results:

Normal results for the chromosomes analyzed (chromosomes 13, 18 and 21)

Started prepping for my ERA test & Hysteroscopy, which included:

2 weeks of birth control – 7 days of cetrotide injections – estrogen 3 times a day (to thicken the endo lining – progesterone twice a day

August 2015:

ERA Test & Hysteroscopy (top of uterus concave, which they fixed but that does not affect fertility – everything normal)

September 2015:

ERA results returned – no problems there – my womb is normal and receptive

Fired IVI Barcelona for lack of professionalism, communication issues, delayed results and repeated mistakes.

Appointed Prague Fertility Centre – perfect egg donor found and genetic testing on her begins to make sure she is not the carrier of the same diseases as Vinny

October 2015:

Begin birth control pills on day 1 of period to sync my cycle with my donor

Our donor’s genetic testing returned with a positive for carrying one of the same genetic diseases as Vinny – this means that a baby would have 25% chance of being born deaf.

I stop my BCP’s and search begins for a new egg donor to retest for the same genetic diseases.

December 2015:

A new donor found, bloods taken and sent to lab for genetic testing.

January 2016:

Begin Northisterone to sync my cycle with donor and be ready for when test results arrive back.

Laparoscopy procedure – Stage 2 endometriosis and a small cyst found and removed.

We understand that even a small amount of endometriosis can have negative effects on fertility including implantation failure and toxicity to embryos.

Delay in receiving results so I stop Northisterone.

Acupuncture 3 x per week until transfer.

February 2016:

Hubby travels to Prague to give his sperm to freeze. There is a great improvement since his last SA. So we believe his daily Chinese herbs,  pomegranate juice, zinc and copper supplements and very little alcohol has paid off.

Volume:  4 million (lowest limits 1.5million) – this decreases every time but is not essential

Density:  84 mill (Lowest limits 15 mill) – massive improvement

Motility:  69% (lowest limits 40) – great improvement since last SA

Morphology:  5% (lowest limits 4) – this has decreased but still above the line

Notes:  Normozoospermia (normal sperm)

Results arrive and whoo hoo – donor is given the all clear!

I start Northisterone 3 times a day to for a week to sync my cycle with donor’s.

March 2016

I start Synarel Nasal Spray on CD1 to shut down my ovaries (2 x morn/ 2 x eve for a week then 1 x morn/ 1 x eve for a week)

I also start estrogen 3 x per day from CD2

CD11:  My lining scan shows a great triple later uterus but only measures 6mm – we need above 7 as a minimum, so my estrogen has been increased to 5 a day.

Donor’s collection Wed 23 March. She gave 10 eggs, 8 of which fertilised.

I start my progesterone 2 pessaries 3x a day and continue with 5 tabs of estrogen a day.

Day 5 embryo transfer Mon 28 March – we had 2 embryos left for transfer and 1 to freeze. The embryologist explained that as we were using a young egg donor, there really should have been more healthy embryos by day 5. She said that this indicated a problem with the sperm.

Prescribed Clexane (blood thinner injections) daily.

Test Date:  Tuesday 12 April 2016 – NEGATIVE

Exploring Surrogacy

15 October 2016:

First consultation at Biotexcom in the Ukraine.

We stayed for a week while Vinny gave 6 samples of sperm to freeze so that we don’t have to travel back for egg collection and transfer -only again just before baby’s birth.

17 October 2016:

Vinny gave 2 sperm samples and had blood tests taken, we met with our English coordinators, we met with the embryologist, signed the contracts, paid our first installment of 10K Euros and were given access to the database of egg donors (240 ladies!). On the database, we saw their were pictures of the faces from every angle, as well as full body shots from every angle, info on their physical particulars and videos with English subtitles, where the egg donors talk about themselves, education and interests.

19 October 2016:

We made a shortlist of 4 egg donors that we liked and made notes with pros and cons. We then sent this list in the order of our preference to our English speaking donor/surrogacy coordinator.

2 sperm samples given.

20 October 2016:

We were advised that we had a suitable surrogate and we could either start immediately using our 4th choice in egg donor or wait until our other choices were available. We decided to go with the lady who was immediately available.

2 sperm samples given.

9 November 2016:

Egg donor’s retrieval –

9 eggs collected, 8 eggs fertilised, 3 made it to blastocyst – none to freeze

14 November 2016:

3 Grade AA  5-day blastos were transferred to our surrogate 🙂

28 November 2016:

Surrogate’s beta confirmed at 2367 !

14 December 2016:

2 strong heartbeats at 6 weeks pregnant! We are expecting twins! Yay!!!!!

31 Jan 2017:

Our twin BOYS are measuring at 13 weeks – due date 7 August 2017!

28 Feb 2017:

Received ultrasound updates on our beautiful boys and they are doing well. They are measuring between 17 and 18 weeks.

30 March 2017:

Received ultrasound updates on our boys – both looking cuter and cuter and doing well. They are measuring between 21 and 22 weeks.

28 April 2017:

Our boys are now baking at 26 weeks and getting nice and fat. For ultrasound pics, click on this link to visit my Surrogacy Diary on Face Book

31 May 2017:

We met our Surrogate for the first time over skype this morning. We had a little chat via a translator but both parties were nervous and tongue tied. She seemed really sweet, cute and glowing with health. Updated scan today, our boys are measuring 30 weeks 2 days and growing at just over 4 pounds already :)… read more about this update here in my 4th Letter to My Boys

8 July 2017

We have arrived in Kiev and prepare to welcome our boys, Max & Alex any time soon. Our surrogate is 36 weeks pregnant with them and is getting tired and running out of space. It is estimated on all the IVF due date calculators, that because they are twins they should arrive around 12 July!!! My hubby guestimates that they will arrive on his own birthday, which is 17 July :).  Anything is possible at this stage.

12 July 2017

We had a fantastic visit with our surrogate today (for more info on this visit on my Facebook pages). Our boys are fully developed and our little surrogate’s belly is HUGE. They are ready to make an appearance any day now 🙂

18 July 2017

Our surrogate starts contractions

20 July 2017

Our sons, Maximus Vincent Smith and Alexei Felix Smith were born!!!

24 July 2017

The boys get discharged from the hospital with complete health!

4 September 2017

Today we applied for the boys’ British passports. We have been in Kiev 9 weeks and we could be here anything from another 6 to 16 weeks! 16 weeks takes us to exactly Christmas Day!

27 October 2017

Final British passport interview. Now we wait for the passports to be printed and sent to us!

6 November 2017

Passport office in Belfast confirmed that our passports have been printed and that we would receive them in 7 to 10 working days

09 November 2017

We received word that our passports are ready for collection.

10 November 2017

We collected our passports from the local passport centre

11 November 2017

We finally left Kiev and flew to the UK to apply for our boys’ American visas

23 November 2017

We arrived back home in Tampa!





IVF A Detailed Guide - Bianca Smith

Whether you are new to IVF or not, my Book on Amazon is filled with all sorts of valuable information to help you on your journey, such as:

* How to choose a fertility clinic
* What is a endometrial scratch, embryo glue, an embryoscope?
* What is the MTHFR gene mutation and what can you do about it?
* What do all the abbreviations mean?
* Fertility friendly recipes…….and so much more!

If you do not have a Kindle, then don’t worry, Amazon has a FREE reading app that you can download to any device including your laptop, in order to read Kindle books. I have provided the main country links to both my book and the free reading app below…

Amazon UK

Book page:

Free Reading App:

Amazon USA

Book page:

Free Reading App:

Amazon Australia

Book page:

Free Reading App:

Amazon Canada

Book page:

Free Reading App:







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