Gay Dad Family Stories

What Started as a One Night Stand for This Gay Couple Ended in Marriage and a Son

"I guess I was his rebound," Sebastian laughed, reflecting back on the courtship that led these two gay men to marriage and fatherhood

In 2007, Sebastian and Johnny met through mutual friends at a club in New York City. Sebastian, who is German, was attending business school at NYU Stern. "I was a one night stand!" Sebastian says laughingly. "Johnny, a native New Yorker, had just broken up with an ex and I guess I was his rebound."

"Yes, it's true," admitted Johnny, but quickly added that he had acted prematurely. "A few months later I happened to bump into Sebastian again and realized how much I liked him … I had to grovel and work very hard for Sebastian's forgiveness."


The couple were married on July 24, 2011, and it wasn't too long afterwards that baby fever hit the newlyweds but it would be another few years till they would become dads. "Our path to fatherhood began more than three years ago and launched us on an emotionally taxing and expensive journey," began Johnny. Here's their story.

Sebastian and Johnny always wanted to be dads, and this shared aspiration played a key role in making them work as a couple. When they first began discussing the various paths to fatherhood, both adoption and surrogacy were considered, but ultimately Sebastian wanted to try surrogacy first. "He didn't like the idea of having his life scrutinized and judged by an outside party who would subjectively determine whether he was fit to be a father," explained Johnny. So after much research and consideration, they embarked on their surrogacy journey.

The men went through three different egg donors and two different surrogates, and tried four times to get pregnant. Three times, there was only one viable embryo viable for transfer and none of these three attempts lead to pregnancy. "It was incredibly perplexing and it led to a lot of second-guessing and negative emotions," said Sebastian. Fortunately, the fourth and final attempt with a new donor yielded ten viable embryos. "We have no idea why we had such a different outcome, but we were over the moon," said Johnny. "Since this was going to be our final attempt at surrogacy, we decided to transfer two embryos in order to increase our chance of success."

The decision resulted in their surrogate being pregnant with twins. Sadly, at week 9, Sebastian and Johnny received the news that one twin had failed to develop. "As you can imagine, this made us incredibly anxious about the pregnancy- so we spent the entire time figuratively holding our breath," shared Johnny.

To further complicate matters for the expectant dads, Johnny's parents were struggling to come to terms with their son becoming a dad and raising a grandchild in a two-dad household. "They come from a very old world, traditional view of family, so the idea of two men raising a child was very confusing to them," said Johnny. His mom in particular was grappling with the idea that there wouldn't be a "mother" in the picture and that would somehow be harmful for the child.

Fortunately, Johnny's siblings intervened in a major way and helped change their parents' minds. "His brother and sister were instrumental in having conversations behind the scenes and helping their parents grow more supportive of Johnny's decision," explained Sebastian.

On February 13, Sebastian and Johnny finally became dads when their baby son Vaughn was born. It was love at first sight for the new dads. "Officially the best moment in our lives," love was the message via Instagram.

The pair are thriving in their new adventure as dads. "We appreciate each day and each moment," shared Johnny. "Our capacity to live has definitely grown," added Sebastian. Sure, there's been challenges and adjustments but they're willing and glad to make them. Change was something that used to sometimes frightened the men, but their new life is proof that change can be good.

From their own rollercoaster ride with surrogacy, Sebastian and Johnny have some advice to pass on to other dads considering the same path: plan ahead, realize that it's not a quick process, and speak to other dads who have gone before. "Even in the best case scenarios, it can take more than two years to have a child," explained Sebastian. "I think that hearing about people's experiences can be highly beneficial and informative," added Johnny. "Hear their stories, and learn from their choices."

"Being a father is an amazing gift," concluded Johnny. "Be prepared to get drained and tired – but in the end , it will all be worth it."

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Gay Dad Family Stories

This European Couple Became Dads Through a U.K.-Based Surrogacy Program

Janno, from Estonia, and Matthias, from Belgium, were accepted into the "Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy" Program.

Janno Talu, an accountant, and Matthias Nijs, an art gallery director, were born in different parts of Europe. Janno, 39, is from Estonia, and Matthias, 28, is from Belgium. Their paths crossed when the two moved to London, each from their different corners of the European Union.

Janno relocated to London earlier than Matthias, when he was 24, and his main reason for the move was his sexuality. "Although Estonia is considered one of the more progressive countries in Eastern Europe, when it comes to gay rights, it is still decades behind Western society in terms of tolerance," said Janno. "And things are not moving in the right direction." In 2016, same-sex civil union became legal, but the junior party in the current coalition government is seeking to repeal the same-sex partnership bill. "In addition," Janno continued, "they wish to include the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the country's constitution. Even today, there are people in Estonia who liken homosexuality to pedophilia, which is why I decided to start a new life in the UK, where I could finally be myself."

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Gay Dad Family Stories

Meet the First Same-Sex Couple to Receive a Grant Through Best Buy's Adoption Assistance Program

Keegan and Paul Schroepfer are believed to be the first gay couple to receive a grant through Best Buy's adoption assistance program.

Keegan Shoutz and Paul Schroepfer met at college in 2010, when marriage equality wasn't legal in their home state of Minnesota. Back then, kids were a far off distant thought. After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA in 2015, the pair married a year later and began discussing their future as dads. In 2017, the husbands began their adoption journey, and the long wait began.

Keegan, 31, works in public relations for Best Buy's corporate communications team, and Paul, 35, is a lawyer. Their journey to adoption took over two and a half years, and they describe it as "a LOT of waiting." The couple considered surrogacy but decided adoption was the right path for their family. The first part of their journey was focused on a pile of paperwork, in-person classes, and then social outreach.

Their nursery sat empty for a year after all their "homework" was completed.

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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.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Gains Clarity After a Health Scare

A recent health scare helped give Erik Alexander clarity.

Sometimes fear can cripple the mind and hinder ones judgement. Having children of my own, I have come to grips with accepting the things I cannot change and learned to take action when there is no other choice. When it comes to my own personal health, the future and well being of my family gives me all the clarity I need to make the right decision about any kind of health scare.

This episode is dedicated to all the parents out there that are going through or have gone through similar situations.

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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.

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News

Gay Dads Show Up at Boston Event to Drown Out Anti-Trans Protesters

When Trystan Reese found out protesters were planning to show up to an event in Boston he was presenting at, he put out a call to his community for help — and gay dads showed up.

A couple months ago, Trystan Reese, a gay, trans dad based in Portland, Oregon, took to Instagram to share a moving, if incredibly concerning, experience. Reese, who works with Family Equality Council, was speaking at an event in Boston, and learned before his appearance that a group of protesters were planning to attend.

"As a trans person, I was terrified to be targeted by anti-LGBTQ people and experienced genuine fear for my own safety," Trystan wrote. In response, he did what many LGBTQ people would do in a similar situation — reach out to his community in Boston, and ask for their support. "And they came," he wrote. But it wasn't just anyone within the LGBTQ community that came to his defense, he emphasized — "you know who came? Gay men. Gay dads, to be exact. They came, ready to block people from coming in, ready to call building security, ready to protect me so I could lead my event. They did it without question and without reward. They did it because it was the right thing to do."

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Change the World

Gay Dads Use 'TikTok' To Fight for Acceptance

Kevin and Ivo are fighting to normalize LGBTQ parents through TikTok, a growing social media platform

"Are we fearful we're going to turn our son gay?" Kevin DiPalma, a red-bearded man, asks the camera.

"No!" says Kevin's son, Nasim, says

"Are we worried about bullies when he gets to school?" Kevin asks next.

"Yes!" Nasim said.

Thus is the nature of the videos Kevin and his husband Ivo upload to their TikTok account, a widely popular and rapidly growing social media platform among young people.

Within 6 months, the family had 200,000 followers across their social media.

See a complication of some of their videos below!


Fatherhood, the gay way

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