Personal Essays by Gay Dads

This Guy's "Annoying Phase" Is All Of Us the Day We Become Dads

With little to do but wait once their surrogate's water broke, Grant entered what his husband lovingly refers to as his "annoying phase."

It was 3:09am on February 7th when my phone rang. This, in and of itself, was strange as my phone is always on silent. But, for some reason, earlier that night I decided that I needed to change my phone settings to make sure the phone rang just in case our surrogate called. It was a week before our scheduled C-section and our doctor gave us no reason to think we would be welcoming our baby any earlier than the previously scheduled date.

"I think my water broke. No wait, it definitely broke," our surrogate tells me.

"Your water broke?" I replied helpfully. "Should we head to the hospital?"

"Um, yeah. Get in the car and drive. I'll meet you at the hospital."


As soon as he heard "water broke," Miguel launched out of bed. We are showered and ready to go in less than 10 minutes. After dropping our dog off at my mom's house in the dead of night, we embarked on the three hour drive to our surrogate's local hospital. The adrenaline was pumping and I remember listening to Kelly Clarkson the entire way there. It felt fake. I hadn't even packed up my office yet, the nursery wasn't totally ready, and we hadn't baked cookies for the nurses yet, but our baby wasn't waiting any longer.

We arrived at the hospital just before 7:00am, took the elevator to the third floor and rushed to find our surrogate in the maternity ward. She had already been admitted and was surrounded by nurses checking her blood pressure, baby's heart rate and completing other diagnostic tests to ensure neither was in any distress. We were then visited by the on-call doctor who let us know that our baby would be born today, likely within the hour. My heart raced as I entered into a phase that my husband would describe as "being annoying." I was giddy, terrified, and excited at the same time. When the nurses brought in our scrubs, I did a fashion show (though I think I was the only one paying attention to my sweet catwalk moves).

At 9:30am, we met with the surgical team who would take us through the birthing plan and surgery. The anesthesiologist was determining the pain management plan with our surrogate while we listened intently. Everything was set and it was go time.

We entered the operating room once our surrogate had been prepped. We were relegated to a corner to the left of her head featuring two metal stools. Not exactly front row seats, but we were just thankful to be in the room to witness the birth of our child.

It turned out that I couldn't take a video as it is a surgical procedure (I tried anyway until I got in trouble), but I took as many photos as possible. We talked to our surrogate the whole time to make sure she was comfortable while also sneaking peeks of the surgery over the sheet (thank God for my giraffe-like neck).

It happened fast. Within 20 minutes, the surgical team were making the incision into the uterus and prying it open large enough to get baby out. Everything appeared to go into slow motion as the doctor put his hands into the uterus and lifted our child out into the world. I can't even describe the emotions that were swirling through my head. While I know it's not medically possible, I felt like my heart stopped beating for at least a minute while I watched in disbelief. I listened for the crying. After what felt like hours (it was likely closer to 10 seconds) we heard our baby scream and I couldn't have been happier. The tears started to flow as the doctor brought our child around the sheet for us to get a closer look. I went into full-on tourist mode taking as many photos as possible while also trying to "be in the moment." He was perfect.

They brought him over to our little corner where Miguel did skin-to-skin right away. We smiled through our tears as we stared at this beautiful child. Our child. We were in love.

We stayed in the O.R. with our baby while they began stitching up our surrogate. We were overcome with feelings of gratitude. To the doctors, nurses, our surrogate - I probably thanked just about everyone I saw for the next hour.

We returned to the birthing room when I took over skin-to-skin duties. I am holding him. I am laughing and crying simultaneously. It is surreal. I am staring at him. Blonde hair, long legs and severely inflamed testicles (which we were assured was TOTALLY normal). This is him, our child. We called him Jasper.

Let the adventure begin.

Follow our parenting journey @DaddyPapaAndJasper on Instagram

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Gay Dad Family Stories

This European Couple Became Dads Through a U.K.-Based Surrogacy Program

Janno, from Estonia, and Matthias, from Belgium, were accepted into the "Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy" Program.

Janno Talu, an accountant, and Matthias Nijs, an art gallery director, were born in different parts of Europe. Janno, 39, is from Estonia, and Matthias, 28, is from Belgium. Their paths crossed when the two moved to London, each from their different corners of the European Union.

Janno relocated to London earlier than Matthias, when he was 24, and his main reason for the move was his sexuality. "Although Estonia is considered one of the more progressive countries in Eastern Europe, when it comes to gay rights, it is still decades behind Western society in terms of tolerance," said Janno. "And things are not moving in the right direction." In 2016, same-sex civil union became legal, but the junior party in the current coalition government is seeking to repeal the same-sex partnership bill. "In addition," Janno continued, "they wish to include the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the country's constitution. Even today, there are people in Estonia who liken homosexuality to pedophilia, which is why I decided to start a new life in the UK, where I could finally be myself."

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Asks: Is Destroying an Embryo Similar to Abortion?

It's a question many LGBTQ parents using advanced fertility treatments will need to face — what to do with "left over" embryos.

Let me start off by saying that I have always been pro choice and support all laws that allow people to have full reproductive rights including safe and legal abortions. This is a complicated subject and not one that I ever thought I would really have to deal with on a personal level, especially being a gay man.

I remember a very heated discussion on abortion in my biology class back in university. I was young, idealistic and had very strong convictions about abortion. I was debating with a female classmate who was pro life. She felt there was no reason for an abortion ever, not even if raped by your own parent or sibling. I could not really understand her position, then or now. Don't get me wrong, I still don't agree with her, but now that I'm older and wiser, and also a parent, I have come to respect and accept opinions other than mine.

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Expert Advice

What's It Like When You're NOT the Bio Dad to Your Baby

Lauren Mello of Circle Surrogacy breaks down some of the challenges facing the gay dad who will *not* become the biological parent.

If you're a gay couple considering surrogacy, one of the first decisions you'll need to make together is who is going to be the biological father. When it's time to create your embryos with your egg donor's eggs, you have a few choices when it comes to which dad will be providing his biology: one dad only can provide his biology, both dads can provide their biology and leave the fertilization to chance, or both dads can provide their biology and fertilize half of the embryos with each dad's sperm. Some gay dads choose this third option if they plan to have twins, or more than one baby through surrogacy.

Once embryos are created, you'll decide which embryos will be transferred into your surrogate mother. Hopefully a pregnancy results, and you'll be on your way to fatherhood!

The question is: what's is like when you're NOT the bio dad to your baby? We spoke with a few dads through surrogacy from Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation, about the emotions surrounding being a bio dad...and not being one.

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Gay Dad Life

Gong Hei Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

As we usher in the year of rat, we asked some of our dads how they honor this special time.

Today we're celebrating, alongside our families, the Chinese New Year! As we usher in the year of rat, we asked some of our dads how they honor this special time, what they do to celebrate, and how they're instilling these traditions in their kids. Here are some of their responses.

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News

Indiana Court Says Couples Using Sperm Donors​ Can Both Be Listed on Birth Certificate — But Ruling Excludes Male Couples

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the case, a major victory for LGBTQ parents — but the Attorney General may appeal to the Supreme Court.

On Friday, a US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling from a lower court that said that both parents in a same-sex relationship are entitled to be listed on the birth certificate — previously, the state of Indiana had required the non-biological parent within a same-sex relationship using assisted reproductive technologies to adopt their child after the birth in order to get her or his name listed on the birth certificate, a lengthy and expensive process not required of straight couples in the same situation.

It's a double standard LGBTQ parents have long been subjected to in many states across the country. So this represent a major win. As reported by CNN, this ruling "takes a lot of weight off" the shoulders of LGBTQ parents, said Karen Celestino-Horseman, a lawyer representing one of the couples in the case. "They've been living as families and wondering if this was going to tear them apart."

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals deliberated the case, according to CNN, for more than two and a half years, which is one of the longest in the court's history.

However, because all the plaintiffs in the case involved female same-sex couples using sperm donors, the ruling left open the similar question of parenting rights with respect to male couples. Indiana's Attorney General, moreover, may also appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

We'll be following the case closely and be sure to keep you up to date. For more on this recent decision, read CNN's article here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

As a Gay Dad, What's the Impact of Letting My Son Perform Drag?

Michael Duncan was excited when his 10-year-old son asked if he could perform in drag for charity — but he also felt fear and anxiety.

As LGBT parents, we have all lived through some sort of trauma in our lives. For many it is the rejection of our family, being bullied, or abuse. We learn to be vigilant of our surroundings and often are very cautious of who we trust. As adults, we start to become watchful of how much we share and we look for "red flags" around every corner.

So, what effect does this have on our children? Does it unintentionally cause us to be more jaded with our interactions involving others? For some the answer may be a resounding "no." But as we look deeper into the situation, we often find that through survival our interactions with others have changed and we may not even realize exactly how much we are projecting on those around us.

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Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Gay Chiropractor Explains Why He Came Out to His Patients

After Cameron Call, a chiropractor, came out to his family this past year, he knew he had one more step to take — he had to come out to his patients

Fear is an interesting thing. It motivates when it shouldn't, shows at inconvenient times, and is the author of stories that do nothing but hold us back. I would argue though, too, that fear has some good qualities. I believe it helps us to feel. And I think it can be a great teacher as we learn to recognize and face it.

For years fear prevented me from embracing my truth and accepting a large part of who I am. I know I am not alone in that regard. But for so long my fear convinced me that I was. Fear is what kept me from ever telling my parents or anyone growing up that I am gay. Fear mingled with strong religious teachings, embraced at a young age, which led me to believe that I could cure myself of my attractions to the same gender. And fear is a part of what kept me in my marriage to a woman for over ten years.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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