Gay Dad Family Stories

Gay Dads Freddie and Jeff Featured in CNN Documentary About Surrogacy

"Just in three days, I see the world differently," said new dad Jeff after the birth of his son Jace.

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.

"On our third date, Jeff and I discussed our desire to become parents someday, so we've always wanted to be dads," said Freddie. Jeff and Freddie Beisler-Snell met through a mutual friend and have been together 13 years, married for three. Right from the very beginning, they saw fatherhood as part of their future. In May 2019, they welcomed their son Jace via surrogacy.

When Jeff, 40, and Freddie, 36, started their journey, they began looking into adoption. Although they both yearned for a biological connection to their future kids, they didn't know much about surrogacy, or if it was a viable option for them. After doing a little more research, they attended a Gay Parents To Be event, sponsored by RMA of Connecticut taking place in Atlanta. "This event was great because it opened our eyes up to the entire surrogacy process," said Freddie. "After the event, we did some additional research on potential agencies and IVF doctors. We ended up narrowing down our search, and landed on Circle Surrogacy as our agency, and RMA-CT for our IVF clinic."

And from there, their surrogacy journey began.


Within two weeks of moving forward with their chosen agency and clinic, they matched with their surrogate, Rose. "And it was a mutual match," Freddie told CNN during their documentary focusing on gay dads through surrogacy. "Just as we picked her, she had to in turn select us, too."

Sadly, the dads-to-be experienced their first speed bump on the road to fatherhood when their first embryo transfer was unsuccessful. "I don't think we ever doubted our decision to become parents, however, I did wonder if we were making the right decision after our first transfer didn't take," shared Freddie. "I think it was a combination of feeling very emotional, disappointed and sad that maybe caused some reluctance on my part. It was a feeling that I internalized and didn't share much with anyone."

Thankfully, their second transfer was a success and the rest of the pregnancy went smoothly. "I'd say the moment we found out we were pregnant, I knew then without a doubt that this was right for us," said Freddie.

Jace was born in May 2019, three weeks premature, but thankfully the new dads were able to leave the hospital with him just a few days after his birth. "Just in three days, I see the world differently," Jeff said during the CNN documentary. "Never loved somebody so much in my life."

Since bringing Jace home, the dads have learned a lot. "I quickly learned that we need each other more than we ever have before," said Freddie. "It's been a huge adjustment juggling a full-time career and a newborn with only a few hours of sleep each day." They've also see a new side to one another. "Since the birth of our son, I've come to appreciate Jeff so much more. He's always been a very caring person, but since the arrival of our son, I've definitely seen a softer and more nurturing side of Jeff - which is beautiful to experience."

"Being a dad is the best title that I have, bar none!" summarized Jeff.

Freddie and Jeff's biggest takeaways from their surrogacy experience

Do Your Research

For other GBT men considering surrogacy, the dads emphasize the important of researching different surrogacy agencies and IVF doctors. "There are some really great agencies out there, and also many not so great ones," said Freddie. "Surrogacy is a huge financial investment, but the RIGHT agency and IVF doctor is worth every penny!"

Finance Options

On the financial side, Jeff and Freddie also suggest folks looking into the different financing options available if needed. "And no, you don't need to pay everything all up front," added Freddie.

Manage Expectations

Be prepared for possible obstacles that may come up unexpectedly during one's journey. "Not all journeys are going to be perfect, and having the expectation of a perfect journey is not realistic."

Seek Out Support Groups

Seek out others who are going through the same experience as you. "It's so refreshing and educational to speak with similar people who are going through or have been through the same process," said Freddie. "We don't have all the answers alone, so being able to rely on others experience and knowledge is beneficial.

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Expert Advice

Your Surrogacy Questions —Answered by a Dad Via Surrogacy

We asked our Instagram community to send us their questions about becoming a dad through surrogacy

Dad Tyler Fontes (read his story here) recently shared his experience as a dad through surrogacy with our Instagram community via a question and answer session.

Read Joseph's responses below.

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Popular

"We're Dads, the Greatest Thing We've Ever Been": Congrats to Gay Men Whose Families Recently Grew!

Wishing all of these gay dads whose families expanded a lifetime of happiness! Congrats to everyone in our community on their recent births and adoptions!

Gay men go through a lot of ups and downs on the path to parenthood. It can be one of the most emotionally draining times in our lives. But as each of these families who are celebrating births and adoptions this month agree: it's worth every hardship.

Congrats to the dads whose families grew this month!

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News

United Nations Calls on Cambodia to End Criminalization of Surrogates

Cambodia's 2016 law criminalizes surrogacy — and requires women who work as surrogate to raise the children they conceived for intended parents as their own.

Last Friday, the United Nations Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) reiterated its support to end the harassment and criminalization of surrogates in Cambodia, according to Voice of America.

The report issued by CEDAW recognized growing international criticism of the unregulated practice of surrogacy around the world, which often leads to the exploitation of women who work as surrogates. However, since surrogacy became illegal in Cambodia, over 60 women working as surrogates — the very people put in danger of exploitation — have been arrested and subjected to criminal proceedings. The women were only released according to VOA, under the condition of raising the surrogate children until they are 18.

"The Committee is particularly concerned that such an obligation creates an additional financial and emotional burden on women who are in precarious situations, which led them to act as surrogates in the first place," the report reads, "and that they face discrimination and stigma from their families and communities for having acted as surrogates."

CEDAW called on the Cambodian government to repeal the October 2016 law — particularly the requirement of raising the children they conceived for other intended parents as their own. This punishment is particularly onerous given that many of these women entered surrogacy arrangement against their will, said Chak Sopheap, Executive Director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, speaking to VOA.

"Surrogate women in Cambodia are likely to be at the sharp end of various economic and political hardships that caused them to make the decision to become a surrogate," she told VOA in an email. "We have seen, over the past year, women surrogates raided, charged with human trafficking, and detained, with no transparency from the authorities as to their wellbeing or that of the children they have given birth to."

Read more about this story here.

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.

Gay Dad Life

Top 10 Reasons You Should Date a Gay Dad

Jay Turner lays out the top 10 reasons you should consider dating a single gay dad

We're gay dads. Many of us were married to women, and for various reasons we eventually found ourselves single and looking for companionship from another man. Life is a little more complicated for us because we have kids. But that shouldn't deter you from seeking a relationship with a gay dad. In fact, there are many reasons why we make better partners than men without children. We are generally more mature, responsible, and emotionally available. We are also better communicators.

Here are the top ten reasons why you should date a gay dad:

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Change the World

'Homosexuality is Wrong' Utah Teacher Tells Boy Who Gave Thanks for His Two Adoptive Dads

The substitute teacher went on to say two men living together is "sinful." She was fired shortly after.

To anyone with a heart, the moment should have done nothing more than bring a tear to the eye. Last week, just before the Thanksgiving break, a substitute teacher in a fifth grade class in Cedar Hills, Utah — just south of Salt Lake City — asked her students to name something they were thankful for this holiday season.

"I'm thankful for finally being adopted by my two dads," said Daniel, one of the boys, when it was his turn.

Rather than grab a tissue to dab her eyes, or ask the classroom to join her in a hearty round of applause to celebrate Daniel finding his forever family, the teacher took it upon herself to impart her personal religious beliefs onto the young boy. "Homosexuality is wrong," the teacher said in front of the class, adding that it was "sinful" for two men to live together.

The teacher, fortunately, was fired from Kelly Services, the substitute staffing company that employed her, quickly after the incident, but the moment is nonetheless receiving widespread attention in the press — no doubt in part because one of the boy's dads, Louis van Amstel of "Dancing With the Stars," posted a video clip to his 76,000 Twitter followers with the title: "Our child was bullied."

"It shouldn't matter if you're gay, straight, bisexual, black and white," he said to the New York Times in a follow up interview. "If you're adopting a child and if that child goes to a public school, that teacher should not share her opinion about what she thinks we do in our private life."

Louis also revealed that the moment may not have come to light were it not for three of his son's classmates, who told the principal about the teacher's bigoted comments. His son, Daniel, didn't want to report the incident for fear of getting the teacher into trouble.

Louis expressed thanks that the staffing company responded as quickly as it did following the incident — and also stressed that his neighbors and community have rallied behind he and his family in the days afterward, offering support. He wanted to dispel stereotypes that Utah, because of its social conservatism and religiosity, was somehow inherently prejudiced.

"It doesn't mean that all of Utah is now bad," he told the Times. "This is one person."

It's also true that this type of prejudice is in no way limited to so-called red states, and incidents like these happen daily. LGBTQ parents and our children are subjected to homophobic and transphobic comments in schools, hospitals, stores, airlines and elsewhere as we simply go about living our lives. These moments so often fly under the radar — many classmates don't have the courage, as they fortunately did in this case, to report wrongdoing. Some administrators are far less responsive than they were here — and most of us don't have 76,000 Twitter followers to help make these moments of homophobia a national story.

All that aside, let's also get back to what should have been nothing more than a heartwarming moment — Daniel, a fifth grade boy, giving thanks to finally being legally adopted into a loving family.

Change the World

9 Stories That Celebrate the Experience of Gay Fathers Living with HIV

This World AIDS Day, we dug into our archives to find 9 stories that bring awareness to and celebrate the experience of gay dads living with HIV

December 1st is World AIDS Day — a day to unite in our collective fight to end the epidemic, remember those we've lost, and bring much needed attention and money to support those who continue to live with HIV and AIDS. For us at Gays With Kids, it's also a time to lift up and celebrate the experiences of fathers, so many of who never thought they'd see the day where they would be able to start families.

Towards that end, we've rounded up nine stories, family features and articles from our archives that celebrate the experience of gay fathers living with HIV — the struggles, triumphs and everything in between.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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