A Financial Assistance Program Puts Surrogacy Within Reach for This Single Gay School Teacher
Gonzalo Curbelo shares how he decided to become a single dad and how an assistance program run by Men Having Babies helped put that dream within reach.
"I have come to realize that although it would seem ideal to start a family with a special someone, it does not mean you can't do it on your own," says single gay dad-to-be Gonzalo Curbelo. Gonzalo, a teacher living in Tampa, Florida, started his surrogacy journey over seven years ago when he began to save for surrogacy. Now, potentially only two months away from getting pregnant, Gonzalo is sharing how he decided to become a single dad and how an organization run by gay dads is helping him fulfill his dreams.
Gonzalo was born in Uruguay, but was raised in New York, the youngest of three boys. Growing up, Gonzalo struggled with his sexuality and was unsure if children would ever be part of his future. "Coming out was difficult for me and I remember that growing up gay was not easy either," recalled Gonzalo. As he got older, he was still very apprehensive about being gay and having children. It wasn't until he was in a long-term relationship that he started to feel differently. "I began seeing myself as a gay dad," said Gonzalo.
For gay men, becoming dads can be challenging, even without considering the biological and social constraints, and let alone going that path alone. When Gonzalo began to seriously consider surrogacy, he started by phoning and chatting with agencies. It soon became clear that surrogacy was potentially out of reach for this school teacher.
During one of his calls to an agency, they encouraged Gonzalo to look at the Men Having Babies' Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP). GPAP helps put surrogacy within reach for many gay men whose dream it is to become a biological father but don't have the financial means. "At first I was apprehensive about a non-profit agency that would be able to help me," shared Gonzalo, "but I was starting to feel distraught after realizing that the road to fatherhood would be almost impossible – [it was] too expensive." Not ready to forfeit his dream of becoming a dad, Gonzalo decided to apply.
Gonzalo initially qualified for GPAP 1 – the Journey Booster – which is the first stage providing prospective parents with discounted or donated services from IVF, surrogacy, egg donation and legal service providers. However, even with these discounted services, Gonzalo still found it to be a financial struggle. He decided to apply for GPAP II – Direct Assistance – which, if selected, would provide cash grants and free services. Gonzalo applied for two years, until he qualified. Since then, Men Having Babies and the GPAP have made his journey possible. "[They] helped me with everything," said Gonzalo. "Through them that I was paired with a surrogacy agency and IVF specialists." For Gonzalo, the journey is still very expensive but GPAP has made it feasible and allowed him to reach a point in his path to fatherhood that at one time, he did not think possible.
Gonazlo is currently nearing the end of all the paperwork and is getting ready for the first embryo transfer. "I have finished all my testing with the fertility clinic in Texas, flew out to meet the surrogate, and I'm currently waiting on legal paperwork to get finalized," shared Gonzalo. It's been a long process, explained Gonzalo, but it is all working out.
Gonzalo with his surrogate
Although Gonzalo had some initial apprehension of being a single dad, he's focusing on all the things he's looking forward to with fatherhood. "There are so many things!" said Gonzalo. "I have been a teacher for the last thirteen-plus years and have helped shape the lives of so many little ones. Now, I am most excited about being able to have my own child and to see them grow and to offer all of my love to them."
Becoming a father is not the only new and exciting chapter in his life: in August, Gonzalo is relocating to Eastern Europe, to teach at an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. With family around the world and in Europe, Gonzalo saw this opportunity as a chance to raise his child as a caring world citizen. "I am looking forward to seeing the world with my child," said Gonzalo, "and having the experience of living in different countries and learning different languages."
Several years ago, Gonzalo didn't know if fatherhood was in his reach. After he began researching surrogacy as a single gay dad, it only seemed further away. But with the help of the Men Having Babies' Gay Parenting Assistance Program, Gonzalo is about to start his next chapter: fatherhood. And he has a message to other gay men out there, single and coupled: "No matter how difficult or impossible the journey may seem, you can do it," said Gonzalo. "There were times where I was discouraged because of financial reasons … [but] there is a lot of support out there. Just be patient and do your due diligence to get the help and guidance you need … it will all be worth it in the end!"
Find out more about Men Having Babies (MHB) and their fantastic Gay Parenting Assistance Program by attending their next event in Fort Lauderdale on June 9-10. They're excited to hold a conference for gay parents from both the USA and Latin America. Join them to hear practical and personal peer advice and opportunities to meet a wide range of leading providers from the USA and Canada.