Op-ed: Our Long Journey to Become Fathers
For LGBT Fertility Week, MyFertilityChoices.com is sharing a series of articles and essays about LGBT parenting with The Advocate. Click here for the original post.
My partner Josh and I have been together for 10 years. He’s an accountant and I work in sales. We always knew we wanted to have children eventually, but we weren’t sure of the logistics – we assumed that we’d need to involve someone else in order to have a child (like a surrogate and/or an egg donor) but we didn’t know where to start. It was easier to delay it until the circumstances were right and it became clearer to us how we wanted to expand our family.
We met Sharon about five years ago – and we just clicked. She worked in sales like me and was outgoing, funny and smart – all of the qualities we’d want in our own children. She had two kids of her own and her husband, Steve, was a great guy. After we’d been friends for about two years, Josh suggested that we ask Sharon if she’d consider being a traditional surrogate using our sperm and her eggs to carry our child for us. We finally got our nerve up to ask her. After taking some time to think it over and discuss it with Steve, Sharon agreed to do this for us. The four of us got together and talked about how much involvement she and Steve might have in our child’s life and what they’d tell their kids about Sharon’s pregnancy.
We met with a counsellor and paid for Sharon and Steve to see a counsellor as well so that everyone was comfortable with the decision. It seemed like it was going to work out perfectly until Sharon called us one evening in tears. It turns out she was pregnant – even though she’d been on the pill so she wouldn’t be able to be a surrogate for us – at least not for the next few years.
We were heartbroken. We just weren’t prepared to wait three more years to start our family. So we went on-line and starting trying to connect with egg donors and surrogates. It was an emotional roller coaster ride – we would find a surrogate we liked and were comfortable with, or the "perfect" egg donor, and then things would fall through for one reason or another.
Finally, we found out about www.growinggenerations.com in the U.S. and found our gestational surrogate and egg donor through this service. Then we hit another bump in the road. We wanted at least two kids so, because Josh is older than me, we had decided to use his sperm to father our first child. But when his sperm was tested at the clinic, it turned out the count was too low. It was beginning to feel like this was never going to happen for us. Fortunately Josh was able to get past the issue of genetics and we went ahead using my sperm.
Our donor was young and must have had great eggs because eight out of 10 fertilized. The clinic transferred two embryos to our surrogate and would you believe it, it worked on the first try! Our daughter Sophie is now 18 months old and we’re the proudest dads on the planet. Sophie’s surrogate mom “Rita” stays in touch and we send her pictures of Sophie every few months. We’ve still got six embryos on ice at the clinic, so we’re hoping to have a little brother or sister for Sophie. Unfortunately, Rita has some medical issues so she can’t carry another child for us. But we’re confident that we’ll find another surrogate. Who knows, maybe Sharon will agree to carry our next child when her little guy is out of diapers!