Gay Dad Family Stories

Sister Act: How Four Siblings Helped Joey and Rob Become Dads

The husbands *also* received help from Men Having Babies, a nonprofit helping gay men become dads via surrogacy.

"I first learned about Men Having Babies while searching the internet for insurances that covered surrogacy," said Joey Guzman-Kuffel, 40, a Marriage and Family Therapist. "As I researched our surrogacy options the Men Having Babies link popped up. When I clicked on their link, I learned that this awesome organization was bringing awareness to men wanting to have babies and the possibilities to do so."

Joey and his husband Rob Kuffel, 47, Protocol Officer for the US Navy, have been together seven years after meeting via OKCupid.com. They chatted for a week via the app, then graduated to a phone call which lasted 3-4 hours. "I always knew that I wanted to have kids and knew that I needed to be with a partner that wanted to have kids as well," said Joey. Rob felt the same way. The two were married in May 2014.


The husbands decided to have children through surrogacy in part because Joey's sisters (all four of them!) volunteered to help the husbands have children. "Three of my sisters volunteered to be our egg donors and another our surrogate. I shared with Rob that we were blessed to have family that were willing to help us." As the eldest of six, Joey is incredibly close with his tight-knit family. "I come from a Hispanic family and we were raised to always put family first," Joey added.

Their journey to fatherhood took four years. Sadly, Joey's sister who offered to be their surrogate was unable to move forward in the process and so the couple thought they'd have to work with a surrogacy agency to assist them in the matching process. They took the first steps, and had a successful egg retrieval with one of Joey's sisters and were able to create five viable embryos. It was at this point they first encountered Men Having Babies (MHB).

"Rob and I attended a Men Having Babies conference November 2017 in New York while Rob was mobilized with the military and we were temporarily living in Rhode Island," said Joey. "Rob and I found the conference to be very informative." Even though the husbands had already created frozen embryos, they wished they'd learned about MHB from day one in their journey. "Sitting there and hearing other people's stories about their journeys was an amazing experience and it allowed for Rob and I to look into the future and see ourselves just like the people who were speaking on the panel. It's a great place to get information and realize that gay men having babies is possible."

Despite having already begun their journey, they were still able to apply and ended up qualifying for Stage 1 and 2 of the MHB's Gay Parenting Assistance Program, which was a huge help to the dads-to-be.

Despite the financial aid, the dads-to-be still encountered hurdles. Due to some miscommunication with their first agency, they moved to work with a second agency, and they were able to present them with a surrogate whom they had found independently. Sadly after three attempted transfers, their doctor recommended finding another surrogate. As they had gone from having five viable frozen embryos down to two, they wanted to be extra careful and they followed their doctor's advice.

After three months of waiting, they matched with what was now their third surrogate in this process. Thankfully, their first embryo transfer with their two remaining eggs was successful. After a few weeks, the dads found out that they were expecting triplets as one of the embryos had split. Sadly the twins didn't make it past 9 weeks, and at the same time they received the news, Rob's mother passed away. "It was a difficult time, and I found myself in constant fear of losing our singleton and feeling happy about having one remaining baby after the loss of the twins."

In August 2019, Rob and Joey became first-time dads when their daughter was born with the help of their incredible surrogate. Camila is the apple of her daddies' eyes and they both describe her birth as a surreal moment. "An overwhelming sense of love consumed Rob and me. When we did our first skin to skin, I remember as I looked into her eyes telling myself that all the difficult moments Rob and I went through were all worth it to get to the moment where I was holding her. She was our baby and she was finally in our arms. Such a breath-taking moment."

The dads are thriving in new roles as fathers, although it has taken some time to readjust from their previous lifestyles. "Before having a child, my husband and I were used to coming and going as we pleased and just worrying about ourselves and our pup." Now, with Camila, their hearts have doubled in size, but so has Joey's tendency to worry. "For example, I am extremely hyper-vigilant and always making sure that my daughter is safe and okay. I have never felt a strong instinct to be overprotective." And, of course, sleep has gone out the window.

Joey and Rob are forever grateful for organizations like MHB that helped guide them through the complicated surrogacy process. "I believe that organizations like MHB are important because they provide a platform of information for gay men wanting to have babies. It can help with teaching where to start and how to start, and on a larger scale, it brings awareness to a larger community outside that of the gay men wanting to have babies on the need for services to assist gay men with having babies."

"What MHB does is really special and I am happy that there is an organization as such that is bringing awareness to our needs and advocating for us as well."

***

Join Men Having Babies at their 7th annual MHB West conference in San Francisco, January 17 to 19, 2020. The conference will look at parenting options in the United States and Canada, and also debut the Advocacy and Research Forum on Friday along with the complimentary services expo on the Sunday.

Click here for more information and to register.

Joey and Rob with their surrogate and her wife before and after baby Camila was born


Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Family Stories

These Dads Had 'Twins' — Just Four Months Apart

Angel and Dan's wanted twins, without the complications of a twin pregnancy — so they worked with two separate surrogates at once.

If you have ever been out late on a Saturday night, you may have high hopes of meeting a handsome stranger, but you probably wouldn't expect to meet your future husband. Angel Mario Martinez Garcia, 45, surely didn't when, five years ago on a very early Saturday morning in Barcelona, he casually approached Dan's Mouquet, 40, and asked him, over many gin and tonics, what he wanted out of life. The nightlife setting notwithstanding, Dan's told Angel he ultimately wanted a quiet life, with a partner and children.

Keep reading... Show less
Surrogacy for Gay Men

Interested in Surrogacy? Check Out These Bay Area Events This Weekend

If you're in the Bay Area this weekend, two major events are happening that will be of interest for dads-to-be and surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF)

If you're in San Francisco or the surrounding area, clear your calendar this weekend. Two events are happening simultaneously that are significant for dads-to-be AND surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF). For an outlines of both events, check out below.

Keep reading... Show less
Surrogacy for Gay Men

A Dream Becomes Reality, After a Men Having Babies Conference

New Yorkers David and Brian said their dreams of fatherhood crystalized only after receiving a "ton of information" at a Men Having Babies conference.

New Yorkers David F.M. Vaughn 39, and Brian Becker, 37, are new dads. Over the past three months, the two most important things they've learned as fathers is "patience, and how to swaddle LIKE A CHAMP!" David and Brian chose surrogacy as their path to fatherhood, but making that decision was one of the more difficult parts of their journey. Brian's siblings are adopted, and while they still want to make adoption part of their family journey, certain opportunities arose that made their surrogacy decision easier. Brian's sister enthusiastically offered to be their gestational surrogate, and they discovered more about the process with the help of Men Having Babies (MHB).

But let's jump back to the beginning of their story.

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad's Adoption Journey Amid a Global Crisis

Erik Alexander writes about a personal moment of happiness — the birth of his son — amid a world gripped by the COVID-19 crisis.

COVID-19 has shaken the whole world to its core. From one part of the globe to the other, it has all but stopped life as we know it. This scenario seems all too reminiscent of something that the American South will never forget. Living in New Orleans, Louisiana we are accustomed to dealing with evacuations and disasters because of hurricane season each year. From June to November, we are on alert. As you can imagine, Hurricane Katrina's lasting effects really taught us how to deal with disaster prep along with recovering from the aftermath.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics

Gestational Surrogacy Legalized in New York State

The Child-Parent Security Act, which legalizes commercial surrogacy in New York State, was included in the 2020 New York State Budget signed by Governor Cuomo

Yesterday, a years-long battle about the state of compensated gestational surrogacy came to an end in New York when the Governor signed into a law the Child-Parent Security Act in the 2020 as part of the state budget.

The effort stalled last year after opponents, including several Democrats, successfully argued that the bill didn't go far enough to protect women who serve as surrogates — even though it included a surrogate "bill of rights," the first of its kind in the country, aimed at ensuring protections.

"Millions of New Yorkers need assistance building their families — people struggling with infertility, cancer survivors impacted by treatment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community," the Family Equality Council said in a statement about the victory. "For many, surrogacy is a critically important option. For others, it is the only option. Passage of the Child-Parent Security Act is a massive step forward in providing paths to parenthood for New Yorkers who use reproductive technology, and creates a 'surrogate's bill of rights' that will set a new standard for protecting surrogates nationwide."

Opponents, led by Senator Liz Krueger, had once again attempted to torpedo legalization efforts this year by introducing a second bill that would legalize surrogacy in New York, but also make it the most restrictive state in the country to do so. "A bill that complicates the legal proceedings for the parents and potentially allows them to lose their genetic child is truly unfortunate," said Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, referencing to the bill's 8-day waiting period. He also took issue with the bills underlying assumptions about why women decide to serve as a surrogate. The added restrictions imply that "they're entering into these arrangements without full forethought and consideration of the intended parents that they're partnering with," he said.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

"My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

"This law will [give intended parents] the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents," Paulin said for her part. It will "bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families."


Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Just Like Dad: Ways My Kids and I Are Alike

Joseph Sadusky recounts the ways he and his adopted sons are cut from the same cloth.

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about my life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

Keep reading... Show less
Expert Advice

4 Tips for Single Gay Dads Raising Daughters

Here are some ways to create a safe space for your daughter to discover who she is, with you by her side.

There's nothing quite like father-daughter relationships, and when it comes to single dads, your little girl likely holds a very special place in your heart. From the moment she's born, it's as if you can see every moment of her life in front of you, from her first steps to walking her down the aisle at her wedding. You'll be the first man she'll know and talk to, and you'll be her biggest example of what a loving man looks like. She'll come to you for advice on how to navigate challenges, be independent, treat others and grow into herself.

Your relationship with your daughter may be shaped by your personal history, whether you've been through a difficult divorce or breakup, you've transitioned out of a straight relationship, or you made the courageous decision to pursue surrogacy on your own. Whatever your situation is, studies have shown that children with involved fathers excel more in school and have fewer behavioral issues in adolescence.

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