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 Couple is Using 'Wheel of Fortune' Winnings to Help Fund Their Adoption

Need to raise money for your adoption fund? Why not try your luck on Wheel of Fortune like these guys!

Doug and Nick Roberts connected three and a half years ago via a dating app, and on their first date, the two immediately felt a connection. Doug, a psychologist, and Nick, a neuroscientist, were married 18 months later. Today the couple live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and they're ready to start their next exciting adventure together: fatherhood.

The husbands would like to have children, and Nick has always wanted to adopt. "We considered surrogacy, and may consider it in the future as we expand our family," said Doug, "but right now, it is cost-prohibitive. Adoption was easily the right choice for us as we begin to grow our family.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

Traditional Surrogacy Is "Entirely Based on Trust" Says These U.K.-Based Dads

Marc and Steve pursued "traditional surrogacy," uncommon in the United States, meaning their surrogate is genetically related to their child

Marc and Steve live in Shropshire, United Kingdom. They have a four-year-old son, and are expecting twins via traditional surrogacy which is when the surrogate is both the egg donor and carrier. Here's their traditional surrogacy journey.

Together six years, Marc and Steve always wanted to be fathers, and craved a biological connection with their children. "This is why we chose surrogacy," explained Marc, "specifically, traditional surrogacy as it fitted our wants and need more; knowing our child's other genetic half was important to us."

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Gay Dad Family Stories

Boston Will Always Have a Special Place in the Hearts of These Gay Dads

Matt and Rej met in Boston and got engaged in Fenway Park. The latest chapter of their fairytale Beantown romance? Fatherhood.

Husbands Matt Ottaviani and Rej Gareau met in Boston in 2013 via OKCupid. A couple years later, the two returned to get engaged in Fenway Park. And in the latest chapter in their fairytale Beantown romance, it's also where they would begin the process of becoming dads with the help of Circle Surrogacy.


Matt and Rej dated for a short time while they were both living in Boston. Once Rej's studying was complete, he returned to Canada (where he is from) and they continued their relationship long distance. In a little under a year, Matt followed his heart to Ottawa. Together they braved the cold, bought a house, and got married in October 2015, following a proposal at Fenway Park orchestrated by Rej, and including friends and family. Their loved ones watched as Rej got down on one knee on the baseball field, and asked Matt to marry him.

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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.

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.

Change the World

4 Tips for Using Instagram to Connect with Gay Dads Offline

We asked gay dads who have successfully met up with other LGBTQ families offline for some of their tips

Last week, we ran a story about several gay dads who did the unthinkable: meet other gay dads IRL after connecting on Instagram! We get MANY questions from gay dads wondering how they can meet up with others in their area, so we decided to dig a bit deeper this week to get their advice. What can gay dads do to meet others off the 'gram?

1. Be kind — share others' excitement in parenting!


From @twinlifedads Ben and Andy:

"Be kind. That is absolutely it. Be kind to each other and don't be afraid to reach out. Respond to each other when you can. Share in excitement for each other. There is no reason to bring someone else down who might be excited about how they are parenting."

2. Drop a couple comments and likes before reaching out!

From @brisvegasdad Tim and Nic:

"I think drop comments now and then on their posts and instastories and see where things land. Chances are, if you're commenting on a post and it is a heartfelt response, they'll click through to your account, look at your photos and connect with you. And that's when the magic happens - you can introduce yourself, talk about your lives and how things are being a parent... and after a while, if you're in the same neighbourhood, you meet up and grow your friendship organically. That being said, I'm obsessed with Bobby Berk from Queer Eye and his husband Dewey Do - if they ever had kids, I'd probably be completely unsubtle and leave strange awkward comments on their instaposts saying, 'GAY DADS MEET UPSSSSS'."

3. Go in with no expectations

From @stevecsmith Steve and Ben:

"I always try to reach out without any expectations – mostly just to provide a positive comment. I like to leave it up to the other parents to comment or message back before suggesting meeting up or a playdate. Every family is different, so how each person is going to respond is different too."

4. Keep trying!

From @theconways13 Ricky and Jeff:

"Reach out to other families, start a light friendly conversation. Get to know each other and let conversations happen organically. If they lead to a play date great! Our first experience in meeting another lgbt family (not through ig/gwk) was very awkward cause there wasn't a whole lot of conversation happening before hand. The conversations leading up to the play date will help make the first play date with the family go a lot smoother and fun. Don't be afraid of not connecting with the other families. If it isn't successful the first time, continue reaching out to to other families- don't let it deter you from reaching out to others."

Fatherhood, the gay way

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