Gay Dad Life

Having a Baby via Surrogacy: What to Do and What to Avoid

We were very fortunate when it came to building our family. The opportunity fell in our lap and today we’ve got two amazing little boys! Not that every step was easy though. Any road can be bumpy; no matter how far you’ve come, you may still encounter roadblocks.


This is our story, from the idea of kids until we were all Taylors. Please read to the end, as there’s more than a warm fuzzy moral.

Starting Out

One day a friend casually mentioned that she had a cousin who had been donating eggs and now was interested in carrying a child for a couple. “Would you be interested in something like that?” Um, we hadn’t talked about it more than random comments about having kids, never actually discussing it in any detail. So, we talked and then met this person, this surrogate, in order to understand why she wanted to do this. She was smart, caring, wise, and beautiful and had no ulterior motives. Amazing. And she liked us. (Thank goodness.)

Step 1: Do the Legal Stuff

It’s not every day you strike up an agreement with somebody to create a life and then hand that life over. Where do you even begin? We started by researching online all of the different types of surrogacy and adoption methods. Naturally, we met with a lawyer who specialized in family law. She gave us instructions and reviewed our potential gestational surrogacy contract. Her instructions: Have contract notarized, have baby, complete secondary parent adoption. Cool, easy.

Step 2: Make Baby

Become pregnant. We hadn’t been saving up for years to have a baby through IVF or something clinical. Plus, we found out that most reproductive clinics would not work with a surrogate who was also the egg donor (aka a traditional surrogate). After some discussion, we thought “we’re pretty chill people,” so we went with the home method. It worked and boom: life was growing!

Step 3: Tell the world

When you never ever have given becoming a dad a second thought, you have never thought about how to tell people or what anybody might say. Well, we started by telling the OB/GYN to find out if she was the right fit for our situation, and she certainly was. Since she was good to go and baby was growing, we felt we could tell other people. Friends were so excited and surprised and had so many questions, appropriate and not! Family, uhhh, some were thrilled beyond belief. Others were silent and then just said, “How is this happening?” Some were outright cruel. I wasn’t prepared for that. In my mind the only response to give when somebody shares such incredible news is just to smile and hug and be excited for them. I didn’t think telling anybody would make me go back several years in personal growth and comfort with myself. Life: surprises around every corner.

Step 4: Have baby

Simple enough. You know, get woken up at 12:55 a.m., rush through the house like a crazy person and drive (safely) to pick up the oven and the bun for delivery. It went perfectly … except the speed bumps in the parking lot. Yeah, let’s just say I’m glad her water didn’t break in the car. We checked in, our OB was there to deliver and we welcomed a little boy. He was such a surprise; came out peeing and we were all crying and cuddling and crying….

Rob and Chris welcome their first son with their surrogate

Step 5: Do the Paperwork

We made sure ahead of time that the hospital’s lawyers and social worker were aware of our situation and they were good to go with it. We brought everything legal we had, just in case … and then the Vital Statistics clerk came in. If you’ve not had a child in a hospital, this is the person who completes the paperwork for the Social Security Administration and starts the birth certificate process. She came in, saw us and immediately began questioning us, questioning our surrogate if she was sure everything was in order. She then left to make some calls, came back, questioned us more, gave us more paperwork and then before leaving made sure to tell us that she disagreed with our process and that the birth certificate still would have just the birth mother’s name on it. No. Just no. After feeling sufficiently dampened on our big day, we moved past it and got to leave.

As time passed, we all grew close. Our surrogate became our BFF and is now a part of our lives like an auntie. We waited to complete the secondary parent adoption because we knew that there’d be one more little person eventually. Two years later we were preggers again and went through all the same steps again.

Taylor baby No. 2

What was different

Taylor baby No. 2 was born the evening before Thanksgiving. We would be celebrating with hospital cafeteria turkey feast. This also meant that the hospital had a bare-bones staff. Our nurses all knew what to do to get us out of there, they gave us the appropriate paperwork and cute baby footprints, but there was no Vital Statistics clerk. (We were okay with this.) We were given some paperwork that seemed right and a phone number for the Department of Health to ensure that their records were appropriately updated. Okay, that was new!

Actually, it wasn’t new. After we contacted the Department of Health after the holiday, we got a call back from somebody who worked with surrogacy specifically. He said that he just needed to get a copy of the surrogacy agreement to update the names on the birth certificate … and that was it. Wait, what? Really?! I called him back and thoroughly explained our whole situation, starting three years prior and he repeated what he had said before.

“Yep, please just send me a copy of the contract and the birth certificate when you get it. I’ll update it all.”

I’m not one to question a good thing, but I am one to go back and question if something else had bad blood behind it. I asked if there was a change to surrogacy or family laws in the last few years that made the process so different. The man told me that there hadn’t been any changes. The clerk at the hospital had provided wrong directions and had completed the process incorrectly.

“So we don’t have to go through any sort of adoption? At all?”

“No, that’s why you have a surrogacy agreement.”

“So our lawyer and the hospital lawyer were wrong?”

“That’s correct.”

“And nothing’s changed in the last few years, legally?”

“Correct. Nothing was done correctly from the start. Send me the paperwork and I’ll fix it.”

Sent. Fixed. We have birth certificates with our names on them. Us. The 100%-legal-from-the-start parents.

Why I need to share our story

When other couples will face much more difficult or multi-layered battles? Simple: if somebody had shared accurate information or been willing to do the job they’re paid to do from the start, we would never have had to face the opposition and stress that we did. We could have enjoyed the whole birth experience without feeling like an incomplete family. If we had been given correct information from the start, we could’ve skipped hours of phone calls and exposing our personal information to strangers who never needed it to begin with.

The moral of the story

Go through the process as directed by your state or province. Work with those who maintain family records and deal with like situations daily. Push back. Get clear answers and clear guidelines from those who manage the process. Don’t lose hope. There are people, such as a social worker or Department of Health, who can and will help.

Even though the road may be long and bumpy, don’t be discouraged. Create the family you never thought possible. Two dads, two moms, one of each, fly solo… There are so many types of families. All a baby needs is a loving home to welcome it and a family willing to do the work. The other pieces will fall into place.

The Taylor Family at the birth of their second son

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

'NolaPapa' Launches YouTube Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

Check out Erik Alexander's new YouTune Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

When we first found out that our second daughter was African American I froze. Not because of her race, but because I knew NOTHING about African American hair. So I frantically tried to learn as much as I could while she was a newborn so I was ready to style it when she was a little older.

I decided to launch our YouTube channel Nolapapa: Story of a Gay Dad to focus on this very topic! Episodes 1-5 will solely be dedicated to learning how to wash, care for and styling African American hair. Afterwards, the content will shift towards personal & family situations, adoption, gay parenting questions and other great content! I'd love your support and become part of our little village as we launch this new project!

Sending Nola love to each of ya!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Encouraged by His Son, Single Dad Richard Started Dating Again — and Just Got Married!

After his 14 year relationship ended, Richard got a gentle push into the dating pool from an unexpected source — his son!

In 2014, Richard Rothman's relationship of 15 years ended, leaving him understandably reluctant to jump back into the world of dating as a single gay dad. But after spending one too many Friday nights at home, he got a gentle nudge from somebody unexpected —his teenaged son, Jonathan.

"Dad," Jonathan said. "Would you just get out of the house and go on a date already?" (You may remember wise-beyond-his-years Jonathan from this post that went viral of a tattoo he got commemorating his adoption day.)

On his son's encouragement, Richard started dipping a tentative toe back into the dating pool. In 2015, he met Kevin thanks to mutual friends that introduced them via social media. It took four months before Richard introduced Kevin to his son, who was a Sophomore in high school at the time.

On New Year's Eve in 2017, Kevin proposed while the couple was vacationing in Palm Springs. The city has an outdoor festival every year, he explained, which the couple attended. The band Plain White T's happened to be performing their hit "Hey There Delilah" as Kevin got down on one knee and proposed. "Now whenever I hear that song it brings back memories of that night," Richard said.

Richard and Kevin married on March 30, 2019 back at the scene of the crime — in Palm Springs, at the Frederick Loewe Estate. Jonathan was Richard's best man, and also walked him down the aisle (awwww.....). Kevin's brother Bobby served as his best man.

"As so many wonderful moments continue to happen for us in Palm Springs, we now own a home there in addition to our primary residence in Bentonville, Arkansas," said Richard.

Check out video from the couple's special day below!


And Jonathan is now an E4 Master-at-Arms in the US Navy.

Gay Uncles

Gay Uncles are an Essential Part of This Gay Dad Family's Village

It takes a village to raise a child, and this village includes many gay uncles

In November last year, Ottawa-based husbands Matt Ottaviani and Rej Gareau (whose story we shared in July) became first-time dads through surrogacy. They were overjoyed to welcome their daughter Andy and become a family of three.

But as many of us know, raising a child isn't always just about the nuclear family. The African proverb "it takes a village to raise a child" is a commonly repeated phrase, and rings very true for many families. Matt and Rej are no different, and when they shared their story last month, one thing jumped out to us: the important role Andy's guncles play in her and her dads' lives.

In honor of Gay Uncles Day today, we reached out to Andy's many guncles to learn first-hand how their relationship with the family affects their lives. Here's what they had to say.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Photo Essays

Pics of the Moment Before and After Gay Men Become Dads

Dig through your phones — what was the last pic taken of you BEFORE you became a dad?

We all have THAT photo: the one taken moments after we become fathers for the first time. For some of us, we're doing "skin to skin" in a delivery room. For others, we're standing proudly alongside our newly adopted child and judge in a courtroom. However or wherever it happens, though, we make sure to snap a picture of it.

But what about that last photo BEFORE you first became a dad? What does that image look like, we wondered? Well, we asked our Instagram community to dig through through phones and find out. Some of us are enjoying a last carefree meal or glass of wine, others of us are captured nervously contemplating our futures. Whatever it is, we've decided these BEFORE pictures are just as meaningful.

Enjoy some of our favorites! Want to play along? Dig through your phones and send us your pics to dads@gayswithkids.com!

Keep reading... Show less
Entertainment

Gay Dad in Sundance's 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' is Relatable AF

Sundance hit "Brittany Runs a Marathon" stars a gay dad trying to get in shape.

Who would make for the best marathon training partner for an overweight, overly boozed 27-year-old woman? A gay dad, of course!

The pairing, for any gay man who has been subjected to impossible beauty standards (not unlike... literally all women?) makes a bit too much sense after watching the new Sundance film, "Brittany Runs a Marathon," starring SNL writer Jillian Bell (as the 27-year-old) and Micah Stock as the (somewhat *ahem* older) gay dad.

Based on a true story, the film follows Brittany, an overweight and over-boozed 20-something, trying to clean up her act by training for the New York City marathon — while doing so, she meets Seth (the gay dad), and the two begin to train together, along with Brittany's neighbor Catherine. Each has their own motivation for running: getting one's live together, recovering from a messy divorce, or an attempt to impress one's athletic son. (Which is the gay dad? Guess you'll have to watch to find out!)

We won't give too much more away, apart from saying that the trio — based off of actual people and events — really works. It's the feel good film you're waiting to see.

Expert Advice

Your 15 Most Common Questions About Adoption, Answered by an Expert

We asked our Instagram community for their biggest questions about adoption. Then asked Molly Rampe Thomas of Choice Network to answer them.

As part of our new "Ask an Expert" series on Instagram, our community of dads and dads-to-be sent us their questions on adoption in the United States. Molly Rampe Thomas, founder of Choice Network, answered them.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular

'Life Is Amazing': Congrats to Gay Dads Whose Families Recently Grew!

Help us congratulate gay dads on their recent births and adoptions last month!

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

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