Scroll To Top

Our Long Road to Becoming Mothers

Our Long Road to Becoming Mothers


Even with the world feeling more frightening lately, these women don't regret for a minute bringing more lives into it.

Danielle and I have been together for about a decade. We met at Rutgers in 2006 while we were both in the final stages of obtaining our Ph.D.s in the sciences, which we received in 2007. We were married in 2009, and like many other couples these days, we wanted to have time to focus on our careers and enjoy life together as a couple before we got down to the business of starting a family. At the time, we felt as many do -- that we had all the time in the world, so why rush things?

We first began to look into third-party reproductive services, as they are formally called, in 2010, and both being scientists, we did a lot of research prior to initiating the process. This was an interesting and enlightening process, largely because as members of the LGBT community we're often given the impression by mainstream media that having children, either through adoption or through assisted reproduction, can be very challenging. We went into the process fearing that it would be difficult to find a clinic that would treat us without discrimination or reservation, especially considering the path that we chose to take would be a bit more unique in that we decided that Danielle would carry the baby, while I would be the egg donor. This way, our baby would be a part of both of us genetically -- by way of my eggs and Danielle's "maternal imprint" -- an epigenetic phenomenon where the mother's genes decide the expression of many of the babies' genes, like eye color. To maximize Danielle's genetic imprint, we had to find and chose a sperm donor who was "similar" to Danielle's genetic background and who resembled her physically. After a little bit of a struggle, we found an LGBT-friendly sperm bank, and a match.

Once we had our sperm donor and found an LGBT-friendly clinic, we began the process in 2011. After being assured by our insurance company at the time that these procedures would be covered under our plan, the first attempt, unfortunately, failed due to unknown reasons. This shocked us to our core as we had been fairly confident of success due to both Danielle's age and overall health, and the quality of the embryos. This was a very emotional time for us.

So we tried again, only to be met with yet another unimaginable setback. To make matters worse, while in the middle of the second implantation cycle, our insurers at United Healthcare reneged on their original promise: Neither the first egg implantation attempt, which already failed, nor the second one would be covered. The reason? Because we were a lesbian couple and the procedures weren't deemed "medically necessary." Danielle and I were floored, heartbroken, and later on, angry. Besides this blatant show of discrimination by our insurers, their sudden about-face had unexpectedly put us about $25,000 in the hole.

But we refused to give up.

After switching to another insurance provider, which promised and delivered full coverage (thank you, Cigna!), we visited Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey to discuss our options going forward. Besides being recognized for their contributions to LGBT health, our doctor, Shefali Shastri, was incredibly compassionate and understanding of our situation and had been recommended to us by friends. Neither Danielle nor I had ever been as comfortable with a caregiver as we were with her, right off the bat. She guided us through the next steps, and although it took a little more time, in February of this year, we gave birth to a set of healthy twins: William and Michayla.

Now a few months old, they have become the light in our lives. Six years after we first started on the road to having children, we are now a family and are looking forward to our children growing up, going to school, and choosing their paths to success the way their parents did. No two children will ever be more loved than they are and always will be. No matter who they are or who they decide to love.

In the six years after we first looked into our options for starting a family, awareness of third-party reproductive services and in vitro fertilization among the LGBT community has sky rocketed, especially as society has become more accepting overall. But we know that many lesbian, gay, and transgender couples out there may still be fearful and questioning whether or not having children could be possible for them. We honestly hope that by sharing our story here, more LGBT couples will look into these services -- especially now that many progressive companies are blazing a trail and are now offering benefits to their LGBT employees that cover these reproductive services as well as maternity leave and access to other family-oriented services.

This is especially important in light of what happened in Orlando. We went into having children with some worry over what bringing children into the world as part of a same-sex couple could mean for them in the future. Despite the progress, we all still live in a time where there are still people who want to deny lesbians, gays, and transgender people in this country the most basic civil rights. They continue to try and take away the freedom to pursue happiness and family. As the aftermath of the tragedy in Orlando continues to unfold, our thoughts turn to all the families and friends who would now have to mourn the loved ones they lost, all because of this type of bigotry, hatred, and intolerance. William and Michayla are the embodiment of the happiness and freedom we can and must attain as a community, and when we look into their eyes, we see hope for a brighter, safer future. We will raise them to be champions for equality, and they will one day be voices for peace and love.

Our doctors helped bring our children into this world. Despite the challenges and obstacles that continue to face our community, these children have been a source of joy and love to everyone around them. And, most importantly, they've made us a family. One that will endure. Now and forever.

TANYA BORSUK and DANIELLE MACARIO-BORSUK are a same-sex couple who have achieved their dream of becoming a family. They now have 3-month-old twins, William and Michayla, and live in New Jersey with their sugar glider, Joey.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Tanya Borsuk and Danielle Macario-Borsuk