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Gay Surrogacy in the Suburbs

Many people think surrogacy is just for gay men living in big cities. But Brett Griffin-Young worked with a surrogate to create his family while living in a small town

By Brett Griffin-Young, gay dad through surrogacy and Circle Surrogacy's International Outreach Associate.

If you've ever looked for an apartment or bought a house (or watch any HGTV real estate show), you've probably heard the phrase, "Location! Location! Location!" Because where you live sets the stage for the rest of your life and your children's lives.

Or does it?


Surrogacy in the 'Burbs?

Surrogacy is becoming more and more common as a family-building option. Agencies work with singles and couples from all over the world to help grow families. Many celebrities, too, have turned to surrogacy.

Surrogacy is readily available in big cities. But what if you don't live in New York or LA or London? What if you live in a small town, hours from a big city? Is surrogacy still accessible? And, on top of that: what if you are gay and living in a small town? Is surrogacy a viable option?

We're Gay! In a Small Town! And We're Doing Surrogacy!

When my husband and I first started thinking about becoming parents as a gay couple, one of our first concerns was that we didn't live in a big city where lifestyles and decisions tend to be more accepted. It was 2008 and we were living – and still do live – in the suburbs of a small city in the Midlands of England. We didn't know anyone who had done surrogacy, let alone any other gay parents.

We were concerned how our neighbors would react– less for ourselves personally than for any children we had. Would they be accepted? Would they have any friends? If we had a boy would his friends be allowed to have sleepovers at our house? While these may seem like silly questions, to us they were important and what kept us up at night.

When we first started telling people that we were planning to have a baby or two through surrogacy, our neighbors and friends had the usual reactions and concerns of anybody who doesn't have an understanding of what surrogacy is. We got all of the usual, "But what if she decides to keep the baby?!" and, "How do you know she's not smoking, drinking and taking drugs?!" However, not once did they say that gays should not have children! Perhaps some of them thought this, but none of them said it.

Brett and his family

Big-City Thinking In Our Small Town

What astonished us most was how quickly our friends and neighbors became surrogacy advocates and gay parent rights activists! People who probably have never once in their lives given more than a cursory passing thought to the rights of gay people, were now cutting newspaper articles out to excitedly share with us around advancements or changes in the law. It warmed our hearts that our community was rallying around us – and gay parenting.

During our first surrogacy journey, we quickly started to realize that even neighbors whom we did not know very well had our backs. And the joy and celebration when we brought our son home was unbelievable! He was a bit of a local celebrity and only a few days old. All of our initial concerns about people's reactions to us having a baby were soon diminished, and as our son - who is now 8 1/2 years old - has grown over the years, and as we have added to our family, all of our concerns have been dismissed.

Gay Parenting in Suburbia

My children and my family are accepted in such a way that it is barely even noticed that we are a gay family. My son has more of his friends sleepover than any other child I know. I am the go-to parent when there is a snow day and children need looking after; or if a parent is running late for school pick up, I am the one they call. The teachers and school have been incredible in dealing with the "Two Daddy Scenario", avoiding potentially contentious days for kids with same-sex parents, like Mother's Day, by embracing my children's Nana.

Homophobia and ignorance towards same-sex parents and their families has not been our biggest issue, in fact, it has never been an issue. In my personal experience, it's been the do-gooders who tend to be more potentially damaging. Slightly over-the-top reactions upon meeting you and your family, leading into inappropriate questions as they try to prove how liberal they are. One time we were asked about the paternity and the relationship with our egg donors in front of our children, with no regard that this could be sensitive information which has not yet discussed with our 5-year-old son!

As the International Outreach Associate at Circle Surrogacy, I talk to potential parents each and every day, sharing my story. And no matter if you're gay or straight, single or coupled, selecting your surrogacy agency is a monumental decision. It needs to be the right agency for you.

But what I can tell you is this: where your agency is located in respect to where you live, does not matter. As I mentioned, I live in a small town in England. Circle Surrogacy is located in Boston, Massachusetts. I had an amazing experience and relationship with my agency, and we were thousands of miles apart! Circle travels extensively to meet with Intended Parents in person, but also offers consultations via Skype.

Since my son was born we have come to know many same-sex families, many of whom do not live in big cities, but like us pursued surrogacy in suburbia. They, too, have found that their small town has not only embraced surrogacy, but them as fathers. And I love it!


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Politics

Utah Court Rules Gay Couples Can't Be Excluded From Surrogacy Contracts

The Utah Supreme Court found in favor of a gay couple attempting to enter into a surrogacy contract.

DRAKE BUSATH/ UTCOURTS.GOV

Earlier this month, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that a same-sex couples can't be excluded from entering into enforceable surrogacy contracts, and sent a case concerning a gay male couple back to trial court to approve their petition for a surrogacy arrangement.

As reported in Gay City News, the case concerns Utah's 2005 law on surrogacy, which was enacted prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state. As a result, the content of the law is gendered, saying that surrogacy contracts should only be enforceable if the "intended mother" is unable to bear a child. When a gay couple approached District Judge Jeffrey C. Wilcox to enter into a surrogacy arrangement, he denied them, arguing that the state's law only concerned opposite sex couples.

"This opinion is an important contribution to the growing body of cases adopting a broad construction of the precedent created by Obergefell v. Hodges and the Supreme Court's subsequent decision in Pavan v. Smith," according to GCN. "It's also worth noting that same-sex couples in Utah now enjoy a right denied them here in New York, where compensated gestational surrogacy contracts remain illegal for all couples."

Read the full article here.

Sponsored

The Most Important Woman a Gay Man Will Ever Date

Kristin Marsoli of Circle Surrogacy gives some tips and tricks for getting to know your surrogate once matched

It's time to fine tune your dating skills because you're about to enter into the most important courtship you'll encounter. And it all starts with the biggest first date of your life.

And it's with a woman.

This woman is your gestational carrier; the woman who will carry and care for your baby until she delivers this little bundle of joy right into your arms.

Matching with a gestational carrier – or surrogate – is one of the most exciting milestones in your journey to parenthood through surrogacy. However, it can also be the most nerve wracking. Chances are you've seen a profile about your potential surrogate match so you know a little bit about her and her family. But before you commit to this woman, you'll need to meet her first – either in person or via video. And this is one first meeting you've probably never prepared for!

Circle Surrogacy has been matching surrogates and gay dads for almost 25 years. Here are tried and true tips and tricks to getting to know your surrogate...and keeping the relationship alive during pregnancy and after birth!

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Gay Dad Life

"Daddy, Which Belly Did I Come From?"

How do gay dads talk to their kids about the women that helped bring them into the world?

When you tell your kids the story of how they came to be, is the woman who delivered them identified by a face and a name? That's a decision that every gay dad has to make when it comes to having kids through surrogacy or adoption. In this episode we explored two ways of keeping in touch with the birthmother (for adoptive kids) or the gestational surrogate (for IVF and surrogacy) as part of gay dads' children's birth story.Some adoptive parents choose to have an 'open adoption,' where the child gets to meet the birthmother. Parents who go through surrogacy sometimes keep in touch with the surrogate and have their kids meet her when they are old enough.

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Change the World

Hungarian Company Raising Money for LGBTQ+ Organization with a LEGO® Heart

Startup WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is helping combat misinformation and prejudice in Central and Eastern Europe

Guest Post from WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD

WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is an innovative startup venture that sells LEGO® parts and unique creations. The core values of our company include social equality regardless of gender identity or origin. As LEGO® is a variety of colors and shapes, so are the people.

We all know that LEGO® is a brand that nearly everyone knows and likes between the age of 3 and 99 so this gives a great opportunity to connect unique LEGO® creations and Pride. We started a fundraising campaign for a Hungarian LGBTQ+ organization who's aim is to bring people closer to the LGBTQ+ community, they help to combat misinformation and prejudice regarding LGBTQ+ issues in Central- Eastern Europe since 2000.

You might know that gender equality and the circumstances of LGBTQ+ people is not the easiest in the former communist Eastern European countries like Hungary so this program is in a real need for help. For example a couple of month ago a member of the government said that homosexual people are not equal part of our society.

The essence of the campaign is when one buys a Pride Heart, a custom creation made of brand new and genuine LEGO® bricks the organization gets $10.00 donation so they can continue their important work. This Pride Heart is a nice necklace, a decoration in your home, and a cool gift to the one you love.

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Entertainment

Single Gay Dad Featured on Season Three of GLOW

Actor Kevin Cahoon joins the Gorgeous Ladies of Wresting in Vegas as a single gay dad — and drag queen — on Season Three of the hit Netflix show

For a couple of years now, Hollywood has been obsessed with gay dad characters (and who can blame them?) But the latest show to get hip to a story line featuring gay man raising kids is Netflix's GLOW, which explores a female wresting troop in the late 1980s.

But GLOW is helping represent a gay character that rarely gets time in the limelight:the single gay dad. In Season three of the hit comedy — which stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and Marc Maron — actor Kevin Cahoon joins the case as Bobby Barnes, a single gay father who plays a female impersonator. (80s divas only, of course — Joan Collins and Babs among them)


"I've never done female impersonation," the openly gay actor told OutSmart Magazine, "so I tried to learn really quick. You will know them all; I was very familiar with all of them. There were plenty of talk shows and performances on YouTube to study. I learned that their breathing was very informative."

A single gay dad AND drag queen on television? It's about damn time if you ask us.

Read the full interview with Cahoon here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Thoughts and Prayers Aren't Working:​ One Father's Plea for Gun Reform

One gay dad's plea to our leaders to enact sensible gun control

My articles on GaysWithKids aspire to be lighthearted, helpful and humorous. This one won't be any of those things. Because I'm feeling heavyhearted, helpless and sad. Last week I woke up to news of yet another mass shooting. This time at a family-friendly Garlic Festival in northern California. I don't know if it's because this one hit so close to home, or if it's because the headline included a picture of the innocent 6-year old who was among those killed, but I am overcome with emotion. But mostly I am angry. And I don't know what to do with my anger.

Then, just a few days later came two additional horrific mass shootings that stole the lives of at least 32 more innocent people, many of them children. And then there's the "everyday" gun violence that plagues American cities like Chicago, where guns injured another 46 people this past weekend alone… creating so much turmoil, a hospital had to briefly stop taking patients.

How does one verbalize the collective sadness felt around the world? One can't. And that's why I am asking everyone reading this article to commit to getting involved in some way, to help end this epidemic once and for all. Even though the solution is so obvious, we can't allow ourselves to become numb to mass shootings. Because becoming numb isn't going to save anyone.

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Politics

Gay Russian Dads Forced to Flee Moscow

Fearing the Russian government might take their adopted kids into custody because of their sexual orientation, Andrei Vaganov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev fled Moscow

A married couple in Russia, with two adopted children, were just forced the flee their home in Moscow for fear that the authorities would take their children away, according to German news site Deutsche Welle.

Trouble started last month after investigators in Russia opened a criminal inquiry into the proceedings that had allowed the gay couple, Andrei Vaganov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, to legally adopt the two boys —adoption by LGBTQ people in Russia has typically not been recognized. The government became aware of the adoption proceedings after the gay couple brought their 12-year-old son to the hospital, who was complaining of a stomachache. The boy was fine, but after he mentioned offhand that he was adopted and lived with two fathers, the doctor called the police.

Andrei and Yevgeny granted an interview with Deutsche Welle after escaping Moscow, but on the advice of their lawyers have yet to disclose where they are currently located. Here is a quick recap of that conversation:

"In connection with the 'propaganda of non-traditional values,' the state representatives are accused of having neglected their duty of supervision," Andrei said, when asked to explain on what basis the Russian government might take his children into custody. "This means that lesbian couples could even have their biological children taken away because, through their lifestyle choices, they propagate "certain values."

Yevgeny also explained the events that led to the couple's harrowing escape "I was alone in Moscow at that time. A week after Andrei and the children had left the country, there was a knock on my door, but nobody called 'police, open up.' After half an hour the violent knocking stopped. My parents' home was searched. They were looking for the children and our Danish marriage certificate because we got married in Denmark in 2016. My friends then got me out of the country."

Read the full interview here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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