Surrogacy for Gay Men

A Dream Becomes Reality, After a Men Having Babies Conference

New Yorkers David and Brian said their dreams of fatherhood crystalized only after receiving a "ton of information" at a Men Having Babies conference.

New Yorkers David F.M. Vaughn 39, and Brian Becker, 37, are new dads. Over the past three months, the two most important things they've learned as fathers is "patience, and how to swaddle LIKE A CHAMP!" David and Brian chose surrogacy as their path to fatherhood, but making that decision was one of the more difficult parts of their journey. Brian's siblings are adopted, and while they still want to make adoption part of their family journey, certain opportunities arose that made their surrogacy decision easier. Brian's sister enthusiastically offered to be their gestational surrogate, and they discovered more about the process with the help of Men Having Babies (MHB).

But let's jump back to the beginning of their story.

The year was 2011. David, an actor (today he focuses more on writing and directing), met Brian, a marketing director, through "My sister met her husband on there - now a family of 8 - and she begged me to join," said David. So he decided to give it a go, and both his sister and a best friend wrote a glowing endorsement for his 'About Me' section. At the same time, Brian was also considering joining Match. "He was previewing some guys and I was one of two guys who piqued his interest and made him decide to join," said David. "Then by pure coincidence, I came across Brian's profile a week later and 'winked' at him. And that was that. Our first date was at a restaurant in Studio City called Mexicali."

In their profiles, David had said 'definitely wants kids,' and Brian had marked 'possibly.' As their relationship got more and more serious, so did the topic of children. At a family event, just after Brian and David became engaged, the topic of kids came up. When the two fiancés mentioned their interest in surrogacy, Brian's sister, Erin, quickly said "I'd do it!" Although nothing more was said that night, the idea planted a seed in their dads-to-be heads.

David and Brian were married in October 2017, on a big boat that circled Manhattan, and "it was four levels of party," said David. "We got married and had the reception all on the boat, and to be honest the best part was the ice cream sundae bar. Oh, and also marrying Brian."

When a friend on Facebook reposted an ad by Men Having Babies about their upcoming seminar in New York City, and said "Any of my gay friends who want to become dads should go to this!" David was intrigued. So he and Brian attended and spent the whole day going to all the panels they could, and speaking to many vendors as possible. "We, like most people, walked out a little defeated when the costs of surrogacy were explained. But we also had a ton of information to start digesting and discussing."

Their MHB conference experience sparked the first practical moment for them to explore parenthood. "MHB provided a safe space for us to walk in pretty ignorant of the entire process, and walk out with some sense of how it could happen for us, and some practical steps to take to move the needle forward. Also, the group Facebook page was invaluable to learn more about the process of surrogacy."

The seeds had definitely been planted. David and Brian were starting to get specific about how to begin their family. They recalled Erin's comment and wondered if Brian's sister was serious or not. So Brian phoned Erin to find out if she had been, and without missing a beat, she said "I'll do it."

"It was just an amazing, selfless moment and frankly, I was caught off guard by her decisiveness," said Brian. "I offered her all the outs. 'Well, I mean…talk to your husband…and you can take time to think about it…and we won't be mad if you say no…' She did concede that she should check with her husband – but he was equally supportive right out of the gate. They're pretty amazing, needless to say. And from there it was full speed ahead!"

In 2018, they were able to retrieve 13 healthy embryos. The husbands' advice to others considering surrogacy is to split the journey into two: embryo creation, and the rest. "It takes the pressure off, and it makes it more financially feasable to do the whole thing without selling everything you own," said David. "Splitting the process in two parts makes the first step feel more manageable and lets you get started – AND if needed - it gives you a moment to pause so you can save again for the second half of your journey, while your embryos relax on ice."

Later that year, the couple managed to pregnant on the first transfer! They announced to the world, via Instagram, on March 30, 2019, that they were expected a little one, due August later that year.

On August 7, their son Emmett was born. "It was a whirlwind day for sure, but switching from this 'theoretical' and 'hypothetical' baby we had been talking about for two years into he's ACTUALLY here was abrupt and crazy," shared David. "It took a while for me to realize that his, indeed, was the baby we had made and had waited for. THIS is him. He's here."

While the past three months have seen little sleep, the new dads have experienced a new level of love. Both Brian and David are forever thankful to their sister for carrying their son Emmett, and to MHB for providing a safe and informative space for them to learn about gay surrogacy. "It's imperative to have a safe space for gay men to come and learn about becoming dads in a non-judgmental atmosphere," said Brian. "It's also incredibly validating to see other fathers on the same path – both those further along than you who give you a sense of your future, and those who are just starting who remind you how far you've come (and who give you a chance to share your own knowledge and experience!)."

The dads are also huge fans of the online MHB surrogacy group and recommend anyone interested in surrogacy to "read, read, read. You will learn so much by watching others talk about aspects of surrogacy, it will demystify the process. We've learned so much, not only about the mechanics and finances of surrogacy, but also had a forum to ask advice on a million little decisions (like how to fly with a 3-day old!)."

Congratulations to this new family of three!


Men Having Babies upcoming conference is returning to New York on November 9th and 10th. Register for your tickets here: David and Brian will be joining the Personal Stories panel at this year's conference, and they're ready and excited to answer questions and share their story!

Men Having Babies is a non profit that began in 2012. Since then it has become an elaborate online resource, seminars around the globe, an ever-growing mailing list, and it's teamed up with LGBT family associations to develop similar programs in Chicago, San Francisco, LA, Barcelona, Tel Aviv and Brussels. Their Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP) offers to ease the monetary burden for those who simply cannot afford surrogacy.

So far, 36 babies have been born with the help of GPAP, and there are currently 52 active recipients of GPAP, this includes:

  • 22 recipients waiting on embryos and matches
  • 5 have embryos and are awaiting surrogate matches
  • 7 have matched with a surrogate and are awaiting transfer
  • 7 are re-cycling (1 or more failed transfer or miscarriages)

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Family Stories

David and Ben Met on the Dance Floor — and Are Now Grooving Their Way Through Fatherhood

David and Ben, who became fathers with the help of Northwest Surrogacy Center, live in Melbourne with their daughter, Maia.

In 2003, while both studying at Reading University in the UK, Ben Suter and David Cocks met after locking eyes on the dance floor and then being introduced by a mutual friend. Ben, a meteorologist and Operations Manager, and David, an Assistant Principal, have been together ever since. They moved to Australia together in 2010, seeking a different life, and an overall better work-life balance. The chose Cairns in Queensland as their new home, between the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest, "taking life a bit easier," said David. The couple were also married in June 2016, back home in England.

While David always wanted kids, Ben took a little convincing. So they started their parenting journey with a dog, Titan, who quickly became like their first born. From there, Ben came around rather quickly.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

A Gay Fertility Doctor Opens Up About His Own Path to Parenthood

Parenthood is the "one and only job" held by the majority of the population, wrote gay fertility doctor Mark Leondires in a recent op-ed for The Advocate

Dr. Mark Leondires, founder of the fertility clinic RMA of Connecticut, has helped thousands of LGBTQ people become parents over the years. But in a recent op-ed for The Advocate, he discussed his own path to parenthood as a gay man, and some of the lessons he's learned along the way.

"Similar to most gay men I struggled with the coming out process," Dr. Leondires wrote. "I strongly desired to be a parent. And as a fertility doctor I knew this was possible. What was enlightening was after we had our first child is that in the eyes of my community, I went from being a gay man or gay professional to being a parent just like most of my straight friends."

Dr. Leondires goes on to say his reasons for opening up about his parenting journey is to offer some perspective LGBTQ people who are considering parenthood. "Once you have a family you will have this common bond with the vast majority of our population and something they can relate to — having children," he wrote. "You are no longer someone living this "special" lifestyle, you are a parent on a shared journey."

Being a parent is the "one and only job" held by the majority of the population, he continued. "It is also the only job you can't be fired from."

Understanding this commonality helped Dr. Leondires in his coming out process, he said. "I had to be proud of my family because I want them to be proud of our family," he wrote. "It wasn't about me anymore. The reality is that 5-7% of patients identify as LGBTQ+, and there may be a greater likelihood that your child might be LGBTQ+ because you are. Therefore, you need to be proud of who you are and who your family is, establish and maintain this foundation unconditionally."

Read Dr. Leondires entire essay here.


People Magazine Interviews Four Surrogates in Latest Issue

People Magazine helped humanize the experiences of surrogates by interviewing for women who carried babies for other people

There are common misperceptions about what motivates women to do the seemingly unthinkable: carry a child for another person. The only motivator, people assume, must be money. But as anyone who has been through the process will tell you — the reasons women decide to carry children for other people are varied. Financial compensation is of course a factor, but typically it is not the only one, and rarely is it even the most important.

Recently, People Magazine ran a feature on four women who served as surrogates, which helped reveal a plethora of other motivators. Sammie Diaz, for instance, carried a son for a gay couple in Seattle, because she was motivated to help people who can't have children on their own start their families — money was just a minot factor.

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Single Gay Dad and the City

When Kyle decided to take his four kids, ages 6-11, to New York City on vacation, his friends thought he was crazy.

"You're crazy, Kyle."

"You can't be serious? A single dad taking four kids to the Big Apple? Think again."

"That's bold. There's no way I'd do that."

Those were a few of the responses I heard from my friends as I told them I was thinking of booking a trip to New York City with four kids, ages 11-6. My children's fall vacation from school was approaching and I wanted to get out of the house and explore. Was the Big Apple too much of an adventure?

Keep reading... Show less

National's Pitcher Cites Wife's Two Moms as Reason for Declining White House Invite

"I think that's an important part of allyship," Doolittle said of his wife's two moms.

Sean Doolittle, pitcher for the Washington Nationals, declined an invitation to the White House after his team won the World Series this year. In an interview with the Washington Post, he listed his numerous reasons for staying home — and a main consideration, he revealed, was his wife's two moms.

"I want to show support for them. I think that's an important part of allyship, and I don't want to turn my back on them," Doolittle said during the interview.

Trump's treatment of a minority groups, generally, factored into his decision as well. "I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked or the way that he moves his hands? I can't get past that stuff."

Doolitttle clarified that his decision had little to do with policy disagreements with the White House. "There's a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we've done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the 'shithole countries.'"

He concluded by saying he respected his teammates decision to attend the White house ceremony. "I want people to know that I put thought into this, and at the end of the day, I just can't go."

Read more of the Washington Post interview here.


New York Will Fight 'Repugnant' Trump Rule on Adoption, Says Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York promises legal action of the Trump administration moves ahead with plans to allow discrimination against LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents

Last week, the Trump administration announced plans to allow adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against prospective LGBTQ parents — but he may face a legal fight from (former) hometown. In a tweet, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said the proposed move "isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values,— it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home." If the proposal moves forward, he continued. "we'll take legal action to stop it.

Governor Cuomo's office followed up the tweet with a lengthier statement posted to their website:

Once again the Trump administration is attacking the hard-earned rights and protections of the LGBTQ community, this time proposing a new measure that would give foster care and adoption agencies license to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Trump's proposal isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values — it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home. If he moves forward with this rule, we'll take legal action to stop it.

No matter what happens in Washington, New York State is and will continue to be a beacon of equality in this country. Our Human Rights Law and adoption regulations expressly prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community, including when it comes to adoption. I encourage any LGBTQ New Yorker who feels they are a victim of this discrimination to contact the State Division of Human Rights for assistance.

Our message to the Trump administration is simple: there is no place for hate in New York or in our nation, and we will not allow this noxious proposal to stop LGBTQ New Yorkers from becoming parents or providing care to children in need.

Surrogacy for Gay Men

'Men Having Babies' to Make Case for New York Surrogacy Reform

Come this Friday to hear how Men Having Babies and other advocates plan to pass surrogacy reform in NY

Three MHB members lobbying in Albany, with Senator Brad Hoylman, who led the passage of the Senate version of the bill

Since it's very first meeting in the form of a 2005 support group for biological gay dads and dads-to-be, Men Having Babies (MHB) has been advocating and educating folks on surrogacy. This has taken place in the form of many elements including conferences for those considering surrogacy, their Gay Parenting Assistance Program which helps fund many gay men undertaking the expensive surrogacy journey to fatherhood, and their extensive directory and review system on surrogacy agencies and clinics.

MHB has recently moved further to make their conferences a meeting place for committed surrogacy and gay parenting supporters, including parents, surrogates, researchers, professionals, and policymakers by creating the Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF). The program provides opportunities for formal and facilitated discussions about topics and developments relevant to parenting through surrogacy and / or by LGBT parents.

Now, in the aftermath of the stalled Child Parent Security Act (the CPSA bill), which was set to reverse the ban on compensated surrogacy in the state of New York, Men Having Babies have gone a step further. As part of the ARF initiative, this Friday November 8 in New York City, Men Having Babies welcomes folks to join them at an open to the public event: The Case for NY Surrogacy Reform.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse