25 May 2023

When Simon Berney-Edwards and his husband Graeme became parents to twins, they felt like it would be the start of a chaotic, rewarding and exciting journey.

As parents to five-year-olds Alexandra and Calder, who were born via a surrogate in Canada, life has brought them so much happiness, as well as the chaos of life with multiples.

“It is hectic, exhausting and challenging but just the most rewarding thing I have ever done. It is an absolute privilege to be a parent of multiples,”Simon said.

"In the best and worst way possible we have created complete ‘mini-me’ versions of each other. Alexandra is feisty and a total diva. She has all of my best and worst qualities. She is a born performer and so inquisitive. Calder just really wants to know how things work and is fiercely independent. Both of them are very loving and polite and caring.”

The family with their surrogate

Simon and Graeme decided to use a surrogate to become parents. Initially they researched adoption but following a negative experience with the process, decided that surrogacy was the best option for them. Fertility treatment took place in the USA and working with a company in Canada, the surrogacy was arranged. Two embryos were transferred, one fertilised by Simon and the other by Graeme.

The news of the successful pregnancy followed and after a few false alarms about their arrival, twins Alexandra and Calder were born in June 2017. The new family of four spent six weeks in Canada after the birth while paperwork was completed and they applied for the twins’ Canadian passports.

Simon and Graeme and their twins

Since birth, the twins have always kept in touch with their surrogate Meg, who they fondly refer to as their ‘Tummy Mummy’, including sending Mother’s Day cards to her. As the years have passed, it’s been important for Simon and Graeme to teach Alexandra and Calder about where they came from.

Simon added: “As they’ve got older, they’ve asked lots more questions. We’ve always been really open and honest with them and share information with them at a level they understand. They know they were born in Canada. They have two dads and everyone has seemingly been accepting of the situation. One of Calder’s friends said that two men can’t get married. I said to Calder that he knew it wasn’t right. They are quite robust about it. We have to continue to manage making sure they’ve got the support all the way through and they understand they can challenge other people about it.”

The support that we got from Twins Trust in the initial stages of having twins was invaluable

As a way of giving back to Twins Trust, Simon became a Trustee in 2018 and has now taken on the role of Chair, a post he’s deeply passionate about.

He said: "The support that we got from Twins Trust in the initial stages of having twins was invaluable. We got so much out of it. I wanted to give back to the charity and I wanted to say thank you. Having been so involved over the last five years, there was the opportunity to take on the Chair of an organisation that I see doing such immensely powerful work. I am really proud of Twins Trust.

“Seeing what we can do for families in crisis and the support we can provide and seeing the difference things like the Maternity Engagement Programme can have improving outcomes for people.

"We had twins, it was our choice to have twins. We were very lucky they were born healthy and we didn’t have any problems but I know there are so many people out there who do not have that experience, like the people who experience a bereavement.

"To see that we are doing something that really can help people and make things better, that’s the thing that made me want to step up into the Chair role and help lead and support."