A Stranger Gave Me A Baby

An incredible gift helped Kirsten become a mum
  • Kirsten McLennan, 41, from Melbourne, Victoria, was desperate to be a mum.
  • After many failed attempts, she was touched that a stranger would be so eager to help her start a family.
  • In July 2019, Kirsten became a mum to a beautiful baby boy.

Here Kirsten tells her story in her own words

Strolling along the beach with my hubby Ryan, then 30, we daydreamed about our future together.

On holiday in Europe, we felt more relaxed than ever.

‘Why don’t we start trying for a baby?’ I suggested.

Married 18 months earlier, we’d agreed to wait a while before starting a family. Now though, the timing felt right to try.

When I hadn’t fallen pregnant nine months later, we met with a fertility specialist.

Blood test results revealed I wasn’t ovulating properly, so I took ovulation stimulating tablets.

Unfortunately, that proved unsuccessful, so we tried intrauterine insemination (IUI). When that sadly failed as well, we took the next leap – IVF.

At $5000 a round, it was a lot of money, but we were lucky to have savings.

Having an embryo implanted, we were confident it’d work. So when my pregnancy test came back negative, I was devastated.

On our second try we received good news.

‘Your transfer was successful,’ a nurse said.

Meeting our surrogate Leigha (Credit: Supplied)

But it wasn’t to be.

Scans revealed the fertilised egg had implanted in an unknown location, not in my womb, so I had to take medicine to end the pregnancy.

After eight more failed rounds, I felt like my time to have a baby was running out. I was distraught.

‘I may never be a mum,’ I cried to Ryan.

‘Anything worth having is worth fighting for,’ he’d remind me.

There must be some reason why this isn’t working, I thought, frustrated.

We found a new specialist who organised more tests.

Back in his office, he revealed the lining of my uterus was only four millimetres thick, but the minimum for an egg transfer was six millimetres.

‘I think your best approach is surrogacy,’ he concluded.

But, desperate to carry my own baby, I took medication to try and increase my lining.

It worked, and on our 10th round of IVF, I fell pregnant again. But after another heartbreaking miscarriage, we reconsidered the doctor’s advice.

Our gender reveal cake (Credit: Supplied)

‘I think your best approach is surrogacy.’

Explaining that the chances of finding a surrogate in Australia were slim, the doctor referred us to an agency in Canada instead.

They matched us with a woman named Julie, a mother of three already.

I was touched that a stranger would be so eager to help other couples start their own families.

In April 2017, Ryan and I made the 28-hour flight with two embryos in a special cryogenic vessel.

Devastatingly, the morning the transplant was due to take place, doctors discovered our embryos hadn’t survived the trip.

‘It’s possible they were exposed to radiation during transit,’ they explained.

On the plane home, Ryan and I were too broken to speak, so he just squeezed my hand for comfort.

‘We have to give this one last shot,’ he said, so we had two more embryos created.

Nine months later, we were matched with another surrogate, Leigha, in the US, a mum to two beautiful kids.

We formed an instant connection over video calls.

Not wanting to get our hopes up, we shipped our embryos to the US while we stayed home. A failed transfer and another miscarriage later, I could feel motherhood slipping through my fingers.

Leigha and me meeting Spencer (Credit: Supplied)

‘Maybe we’re not meant to be parents.’

‘Maybe we’re not meant to be parents,’ I cried.

‘We have one last embryo. We have nothing to lose,’ Ryan encouraged.

When Leigha fell pregnant two months later, we were over the moon.

With a 21-hour plane ride between us, Leigha updated us with photos and videos from every scan.

Organising a video call at 15 weeks, Leigha had planned a gender reveal surprise. As we sliced the cake, we were excited when we saw the blue centre.

‘It’s a boy!’ we cheered.

Though we were finally going to become parents, part of me was still prepared for more bad news.

It wasn’t until we were packing tiny baby clothes into our suitcase that it felt real. And two weeks out from our bub’s due date, Leigha invited us to stay.

Already great friends, we got along like a house on fire.

Ryan meeting Spencer (Credit: Supplied)

When she safely brought our boy, Spencer, into the world in July 2019, I was overcome with emotion.

After a quick cuddle, I placed him on Leigha’s chest.

‘Thank you for making me a mum,’ I cried.

Back home 21 days later, Ryan and I relished every second of being parents.

You’re our little miracle,’ I’d smile to Spencer.

At a cost of $200,000, it was worth every cent.

To share my story, I wrote a book, This Is Infertility.

Now three, Spencer is obsessed with The Wiggles and loves to sing and dance to their songs around the living room.

Though our journey to parenthood hasn’t been easy, I’m so glad we never gave up on our dreams.

Every day with our little boy is a blessing!

Our little family (Credit: Supplied)

‘Thank you for making me a mum.’

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