Gold Coaster Melissa Holman holding a picture of an ultrasound from her first surrogacy. Picture: David Clark
Gold Coaster Melissa Holman holding a picture of an ultrasound from her first surrogacy. Picture: David Clark

These women have 40 babies between them

IT MIGHT be one of the most uniquely beautiful friendships in Australia.

Two women who formed a bond over their love for helping other women become mums, became best friends themselves - and have helped produce 35 babies.

If you count Melissa Holman and Sarah Connor's own children, that number sits at 40 - and then there's all the potential babies that could come from frozen embryos around the country one day giving parents desperate for a family a child of their own.

The women, who met through Egg Donation Australia, are said to be the unofficial world record holders for egg donation.

Mrs Holman sits in number one position with her 21 donations - one of which was through her becoming a surrogate.

The Gold Coast mum-of-three - two daughters of her own and one stepson - was also surrogate to a couple who used the mother's own eggs.

Mrs Connor has helped produce 13 babies through donation and has three children of her own.

Mrs Holman founded Egg Donation Australia back in 2011 when the process was "taboo".

It wasn't just difficult for couples to find donors - there weren't many around or willing to come forward, and that meant getting to the point of producing a child was a long and arduous process.

 

Now a process that used to take two years to find a donor takes between five and nine weeks.

There are about 500 donors on the register who conservatively have helped create 1200 children around the country.

Mrs Holman went down the surrogacy path in 2015 after years of donating.

The first mum she helped had already had miscarriages of her own and when Mrs Holman had three miscarriages in the surrogacy process, they decided to use her own eggs and were finally successful.

"She was going through her own miscarriages, she lost five babies in four pregnancies and she dealt with it with such positivity, even though it was such a crappy situation in her life," Mrs Holman said.

"It got to the point where I couldn't say no, I wanted her to become a mum.

"We'd been through so much - three miscarriages is bloody hard, and my friends would say 'enough is enough, when are you going to say no?'."

Mrs Holman said it almost becomes a joint project, and can be somewhat addictive.

"Just seeing her sitting next to me, holding my hand, she was there for me and looking at Nina (the baby) and the look of love from a new mother, you can't bottle that feeling of absolute joy and sheer happiness," she said.

"It makes all the hard stuff we went through all worth it.

"They go, 'I've been waiting for you, where have you been?' when they look at their new baby.

"It's like the best feeling in the world, the best feeling you can give anybody.

"It's quite additive in a way, the thrill of making somebody of a mother."

 

The pair have children of their own and actively donate eggs.
The pair have children of their own and actively donate eggs.

Mrs Holman said her two surrogacies had made her want to embark on a third and she was currently talking to couples to undergo another one.

While it can be physically easy, she said there was a lot of emotional management needed.

"Surrogacy is a journey that requires a lot of trust," she said.

"A surrogate does all the heavy lifting - spewing in the toilets, being achey and sore and your kids don't like you because you're grumpy all the time."

Mrs Holman has several couples who have been able to use frozen embryos to create siblings for their first donor baby and continue adding to their families.

Some couples who have ended up with "leftover" embryos have on-donated them to others.

Donors can stay in touch with the families they've helped and families can share updates on children on the donor website.

Mrs Holman said it helped to have community support and friends who were like-minded.

"It's really easy being friends with someone who gets it," she said in talking about Mrs Connor.

"We've got similar views on life and parenting."

 

Melissa Holman when she first become a surrogate after years of egg donating. Picture: David Clark
Melissa Holman when she first become a surrogate after years of egg donating. Picture: David Clark

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