Gay Dad Family Stories

Couple That Met at the Gym Now Spotting Each Other Through Fatherhood

How two real New-Yorkers became two soft-hearted dads

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

Byron and Matthew Slosar, both 41, met ten years ago at one of New York City's Equinox gyms. "I asked him for a spot on the bench press," smiled Byron. The couple were married September 22, 2012.

Surrogacy was always the way Byron and Matthew wanted to become parents. They chose to wait and become dads later in life, until they had established careers and the financial means to pursue their chosen path.

They signed with Circle Surrogacy after interviewing a few agencies. "We immediately connected with their entire staff, particularly Anne Watson who lovingly dealt with my healthy neuroses on the daily for 1.5 years," said Byron. "They definitely personalized the service and helped us understand all 2,000 moving parts." The dads-to-be were also very impressed with how much emotional support they received from Circle.


Photo credit: Julie O'Kelly

When the husbands started their journey, they didn't know what to expect. From talking to friends, they learned that the general perception of the relationships between Intended Parents and surrogate was purely transactional; but they knew they wanted more. They searched for someone who would be open to having a relationship with their family, beyond just helping them to build it. "The end result was phenomenal," said Byron. "Not only did we grow our immediate family with a beautiful baby boy – but we also grew our extended family through Misty, Blake and their kids."

Misty had already been a surrogate for another family but she knew from the beginning that Matthew and Byron were different. "When I went up to see them in New York, the minute they opened the door it was amazing. They felt like family. I knew I could trust them and lean on them."

Misty's husband Blake also embraced the husbands, and their own kids refer to them as their "guncles." (You can read more about the families journey together here.)

Photo credit: Michael Jurick

However, the dads-to-be did experience some setbacks. After the first round of fertilization with their first egg donor, the dads-to-be found out they could not work with her. Byron and Matthew had to find a new egg donor and go through another egg retrieval and fertilization process. "And then we had an unsuccessful first transfer with Misty," shared Matthew. "All of these took more of a toll on us emotionally than we expected."

But from their second transfer Misty became pregnant. Blake phoned to congratulate them for "knocking up" his wife. "Blake has been the comedic relief during our journey!" said Byron'

On April 30, 2018, the dads welcomed little Byron.

Since that day, Byron and Matthew have loved being a modern family. "We have learned that all of the comments we rolled our eyes at before, like 'you'll never know how it feels to see your son recognize you,' or that 'you never knew how much you can love something so much'" is beyond perfect and accurate when you're in the moment," Byron shared.

Photo credit: Michael Jurick

Their priorities have changed and they enjoy spending more time at home, or at the park, and they do it because they want to, not because they have to. "We have both learned a much better work / life balance," explained Matthew. "While many of our friends have commented about such a dramatic change in lifestyle - we were very social and busy before - we remind them that this has been planned for 5+ years. We front-loaded a lot of travel and activity coming into this knowing we wouldn't want to be doing as much once our son arrived."

"We like to say that 99% of the shits we have to give are now reserved for our son," added Byron, "so, we are very selective with the remaining 1%."

The dads have also learned to whisper fight with each other in the bathroom since all of their family and many friends have access to Byron's crib camera which picks up sound more impressively than they thought it would.

Photo credit: Michael Jurick

The dads will be forever grateful beyond words for their surrogate Misty and her family. "Just when you think you're increasing your family by one, get ready as we thought that too but our family has grown by 8," said Byron. This includes their nanny NanaRose and her son who help the dads with Byron while they work full time. "Wouldn't have it any other way but definitely not what we expected."

And their advice to gay men considering fatherhood? "Everyone has their own journey. Put your blinders on and do it whatever way is best for you. Regardless of how you do it, you'll be exhausted from the moment it starts until, well, forever. In an amazing way. Because you have a child and every minute for the rest of your life that little nugget is in every thought, action, breath and word you speak. You'll be living for two people now - so get some rest. And definitely don't take parenting advice from people without kids. Seriously. You laugh now but remember this comment when it happens 1000 times over."

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When we asked 30-year-old Nick from Fort Worth, Texas, about his path to fatherhood, he told us it was a long story and to get ready. Nick became a dad through a previous straight relationship and only came out a few years ago, but a lot has happened since then.

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One Single Gay Dad's Trailblazing Path to Parenthood Via Surrogacy

20 years ago, Gene became the first single gay man to work with Circle Surrogacy in order to become a dad — trailblazing a path for many others since.

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

"I think I was pretty naïve, I guess," chuckled Gene, one of the first single gay dads to work with Circle Surrogacy over 19 years ago. "I just had made a decision and went out and did it, and wasn't really thinking about how difficult it might be or what other people thought, being first at doing something."

So how did Gene hear about surrogacy as an option for single gay men? Well, it began with Gene flipping through a bar magazine. He recalls seeing an ad about a woman providing a service to connect gay men with lesbians in platonic co-parenting relationships. While he started down that path, working with the founder, Jennifer, he remembers thinking, "What if I meet someone? What if I want to move? It would create all these complications."

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Israeli dads Guy Sadak Shoham and Chai Aviv Shoham were trying to enroll their two-year-old twins in daycare when they were told by a government official that one would need to identify as the "mother" in order to be cleared.

According to Out Magazine, the couple was attempting to apply for financial aid to help pay for the costs of preschool when a government bureaucrat called them to discuss their eligibility.

"I understand that you are both fathers and understand that you both run a shared household, but there is always the one who is more dominant, who is more the mother," the government said, according to an interview on the Israel site Ynet (translated by Out Magazine). "I am just asking for a written statement in your hand which of you is the mother. From the point of view of the work, which works less than the father. Like a normal couple."

The official, apparently, said she was beholden to rules set for in the Ministry of Economy.

"It is mostly sad and a little disturbing," one of the dads told Ynet. "These are concepts that we consider the past. We do not necessarily come up with allegations against this representative, she is ultimately subject to the guidelines and as she said, they are the state. It is also sad that the state's definition of a mother is someone who works less and is at home with the children, and that we must choose which of us meets that definition."

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, fortunately, issued an apology following the incident, and promised to update its protocols. "We will emphasize that the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs practices explicitly treat all types of families and grant equal rights to all," the ministry wrote in a statement, an apology that was called "insufficient" by Ohad Hizki, the director-general of the National LGBT Task Force.

"The Ministry of Labor and Welfare must sharpen its procedures immediately to prevent recurrence of cases of this kind, as other public organizations have been able to do," he said.

Read more about this story on Out Magazine.

News

World's First Sperm Bank Opens for HIV Positive Donors

Sperm Positive, started by three non-profits in New Zealand, hopes to end stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood

"Our donors have so much to give," say the promotional materials of a new sperm bank. "But they can't give you HIV."

The new sperm bank, Sperm Positive, launched on World Aids Day this year by three non-profits as a way to fight stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood. For years, scientists have known that those living with an undetectable level of HIV in their blood thanks to antiretroviral treatments can't transmit the virus through sex or childbirth. Yet discrimination and stigma persists.

The sperm bank exists online only, but will connect donors and those seeking donations with fertility banks once a connection is made on their site. Sperm Positive was started by three New Zealand non-profits — Body Positive, the New Zealand Aids Foundation and Positive Women Inc. — who hope the project will help disseminate science-backed education and information about HIV and parenthood.

Already, three HIV positive men have signed up to serve as donors, including Damien Rule-Neal who spoke to the NZ Herald about his reasons for getting involved in the project. "I want people to know life doesn't stop after being diagnosed with HIV and that it is safe to have children if you're on treatment," he told the Herald. "I've experienced a lot of stigma living with HIV, both at work and in my personal life that has come from people being misinformed about the virus."

We applaud the effort all around! To read more about our own efforts to end the stigma surround HIV and parenthood, check out our recent round-up of family profiles, resources, and expert advice that celebrate the experience of gay dads living with HIV here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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