Mum shares emotional journey of surrogacy after 17 years
ROCKHAMPTON parents Peter and Merri Anderson never thought they would see the day they would have children starting school.
But after 17 years and 15 failed IVF attempts, their dreams came true in 2014, when twins Sam and Sasha were born via surrogacy.
The twins were carried by former Bundaberg woman, Emma Barwick, who already had teenage children Ella, 16, and Mason, 13.
The surrogacy didn't come easy, the second failed attempt resulted in miscarriage on Christmas Day but finally the third attempt took and held two babies.
And just last month, those little babies started prep.
Mum held back the tears thinking about the fact her children turned five next week.
The twins began at Parkhurst State School and it was quite the "emotional first day".
"It's the start of them really growing up... they are in the big school now," Merri said.
"They are my little babies."
The twins are loving school and their proud mum said it was great to see them progressing through life in what has seemed to be a whirlwind.
The twins are like chalk and cheese, Sam is very laid back and calm while Sasha is very headstrong and bossy.
The Anderson family are still very close with the twins' surrogate mum, who they call Aunty Emma.
They recently travelled down to Brisbane to stay with her and her husband and the two families spent Christmas together.
They take turns travelling to see each other and Merri sends Emma photos and videos most days and the kids video call Emma as well.
"She loves hearing abut the kids, she always asks how they are going... she's one of my best friends now," Merri said.
"We've heard many, many horror stories come out of surrogacy but this is a great one, the kids are healthy, we all get along well."
Merri and her husband Peter will never stop being grateful for all Emma did for them.
"She never got a cent, she's done that for us for nothing," Merri said.
"If it wasn't for Emma... that was our last shot at it... that was it.
"Someone up there is looking down there on us.... I felt very lucky... it was a miracle."
Emma was the shining light when Merri found out she couldn't medically carry any babies.
She was a stranger at the time, found through a friend of a friend.
"I didn't know anyone but I didn't give up, I knew I wanted to be a mum," Merri said.
The children are a bit young to know the dynamics of how the pregnancy worked but Mum and Dad plan on being more than open with them as they grow up.
"I am never going to hide anything from the children... they sort of understand but because of their age they just know Mum didn't have them in her belly. Aunty Emma did," Merri said.
Looking to the future and what life may hold for her "little babies" Merri hopes they turn out to be happy and caring children.
"I don't expect them to have all the degrees in the world... I just want them to be nice," she said.
And while life may be stressful having twins, it is worth it all.
"Everyday I wake up and I get my sloppy kisses and my hugs... it's just all worth it... I'm very grateful," Merri said.
Surrogacy only became legal in Queensland in 2010
Surrogacy is a type of assisted reproductive treatment where a woman carries a child in her uterus on behalf of another person or couple.
The baby is deemed to be the child of the birth mother until the intended parents' parentage order takes legal effect, under the Surrogacy Bill 2010. If you are the intended parents, your baby must live with you for 28 days before you apply to the court to transfer the parentage. Your baby must be between 28 days and six months old when you apply.
In Queensland, it is illegal to advertise for someone to act as a birth mother and to pay someone to act as your birth mother.
Illegal for a woman to advertise that she is willing to act as a birth mother.