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Journey to Family Brings Parents, Surrogate Together
05/11/2010

PLANO, Texas — Meet Julian and Sophie Doyle. Weighing in at about 4 1/2 pounds each, the Doyle twins entered the world on April 27 at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano.

The long journey to their arrival was no ordinary one. It involved many hours, days, weeks, and months of waiting and hoping for a miracle. It required an unlikely courtship between a surrogate mother in North Texas and a couple from Australia who sought her out as a last-ditch effort to have children. And it took a leap of faith.

“Surrogacy is not legal in Australia — there is a stigma surrounding it,” said Tanya Doyle of Sydney, Australia, the twins’ mother. “It wasn’t until we had exhausted all our options in Australia that our doctors suggested we come to the United States, and two separate U.S. doctors told us that surrogacy was our best option.”

Tanya and her husband, Darren, struggled for three years with infertility. After several attempts at in vitro fertilization, they still hadn’t conceived, and they still didn’t know why.

“We had every test there was, and nobody could ever tell us what was wrong,” Tanya said. “It was frustrating.”

In 2009, at the advice of their physicians, the Doyles visited a surrogacy agency in Los Angeles and started the process. After they returned home to Australia, the agency matched them with a surrogate and they made the initial contact.

“We were halfway around the world, so it was difficult to find a time to talk,” Tanya said. “We set a phone date for 6 a.m. one morning, Sydney time. It was pitch black and pouring down rain. We didn’t have a landline in the house, but we had Bluetooth in the car. So there we were, sitting outside in the car in the pitch black, in the pouring rain, having a blind date with our surrogate.”

The blind date went well. Two months later, the Doyles flew back to the U.S. to meet their surrogate in person and begin the process of egg harvesting, fertilization and implantation.

“It was really important to us that we had a child with our DNA and our genetic makeup,” Tanya said. “But this was our absolute last attempt.”

After the second and very last attempt, the Doyles were thrilled to learn that the procedure worked.

“It’s a strange feeling having somebody completely on the other side of the world carrying your child,” Tanya said. “Basically you have to let go and you have to trust the person.”

Wanting to be as involved as they could, the Doyles talked with their surrogate frequently via Skype and traveled to North Texas for her five-week, 12- week and 20-week ultrasounds and for the birth.

“Now we have these two miracle babies, and it’s just amazing,” Tanya said.

Having come about eight weeks early, Julian and Sophie are being cared for in Texas Health Plano’s neonatal intensive care unit, where they likely will remain for about four weeks until they are big enough to go home. The Doyles have rented a Plano apartment to be close by. They plan to return home to Sydney eventually.

“For all the negative things we heard about surrogacy, our experience has been wonderful,” Darren said. “We’re in a great hospital in a state that’s really supportive of us, and our son and daughter are getting wonderful care.”

Michele Charless, Nurse Manager of the neonatal intensive care unit, said it has been a treat for her staff to care for the Doyle twins.

“It’s great to be able to play a part in the lives of this sweet family and to witness their joy in parenthood,” Charless said. “Julian and Sophie are just beautiful and are doing well and growing every day.”

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano is 366-bed acute care hospital and recognized clinical program leader, providing technologically advanced care to Plano and surrounding areas since 1991. The hospital’s services include orthopedics, cardiovascular services, oncology, pediatrics and women’s services. An affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, Texas Health Plano has more than 1,600 employees and 1,300 physicians on the medical staff. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL or visit TexasHealth.org/Plano.

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