Holly and her husband underwent IVF and used a surrogate to carry a baby that is genetically theirs.

“I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension at the age of 11 and 17 years later, I got married and decided it was time to start a family. I knew surrogacy was an option and wanted to start the process, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

For the child to be biologically related to both the mother and father, the intended mother must undergo IVF (in-vitro fertilization) in order to harvest eggs, and the intended father must do a sperm collection.

Ultimately, it took two IVF cycles, and three transfer procedures with our surrogate to achieve a pregnancy. There were a lot of highs and lows the entire time; it was definitely an emotional roller coaster.

If IVF is not an option for the intended mother (as it may not be for some PH patients), there are alternatives to consider. One option would be using a donor egg, which could be paired with the intended father’s sperm to create an embryo, then transferred to a gestational surrogate.

Alternatively, a traditional surrogate could be used, where the surrogate mother is also the biological mother of the child. Her egg is fertilised using sperm from the intended father. These decisions are very personal and are not easy to make.

I chose to go down the route of IVF and gestational surrogacy since I wanted a child that was biologically mine. However, there were times my husband and I looked at other options more closely when we ran into obstacles.

If you want to consider the IVF route I would advise discussing it as soon as possible with your PH doctor to understand how it might affect your health. Understand the statistics of IVF, and the low chance of success of each treatment. It is not guaranteed to work on the first, second, or even third attempt! This can be a very draining process emotionally, physically, and financially.

I feel so blessed that my husband and I were able to have our own daughter given the circumstances. We hope that we can teach her the overwhelming amount of courage, compassion, and strength it took to bring her into this world.”