Personal Essays by Gay Dads

One Year As A Father: A Very Real Reflection On The Journey Of Surrogacy

Ryan's honest assessment of the surrogacy process? It sucks.

Photo credit: Sonju Photography

My husband and I were asked to join our former surrogacy agency for the Men Having Babies conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Equipped with our one-year old twins, we were given the opportunity to say a few words about our baby-making journey. My biggest takeaway from standing in front of a room full of potential gay dads was this: surrogacy fucking sucks.

There, I said it.

Surrogacy fucking sucks and I realized I would never, never, never want to go through the process again. I'm not speaking about our agency of choice; we have no horror stories or negative experiences. In the grand scheme of science-experiment-babies, I'd say ours went fairly smooth. But what sucks about surrogacy is the process itself — the year-long (or more) period of holding your breath, getting hopes up, waiting for a call, awkwardly shooting semen in a cup then passing it along to nurses you've never met, physical and psychological testing and, of course, the glorious financial strain to top it off. And the waiting... oh the waiting game! I still joke that hearing something cost ONLY $1000 was a relief! Never before had money felt so liquid. Surrogacy has to be the most impersonal way to make offspring — I mean, passing along a plastic cup of your man juice is one thing, but suddenly there's an endless lineup of people who now know a copious amount of random facts about your personal life. Like there could be a Trivial Pursuit category dedicated to me and my husband's finances, sex history and weird preferences.

Holding our babies in a room full of prospective, eager gay dads to be, I felt so unbelievably grateful. My husband spoke to the crowd, saying, "I remember being on your side of the room...". And it made me smile because, yeah, I remember so clearly what it's like to want our family to grow, to think about our future babies all the time, to see friends or strangers with children and think, why not us? Why was it so easy for you? Feeling envious of people who already had their family unit, who went to parks together, took vacations, baked cookies for movie-night, and, yes, even parents who were the designated class helper for school projects and activities. Because I totally want to be Class Dad and do stupid elementary school crafts and field trips.

I remember how certain we were about our decision to be dads, and how overwhelming the process of becoming parents felt. It seemed like every next step required an education, a learning curve, or another $5k. Who am I kidding — another $10k! The main questions that ran through my neurotic head were: How does the process actually work? How long does it really take? How much does it cost? How do I find the right agency?

Short answers: 1. A surrogacy agency will help you find an egg donor and surrogate. The agency will guide you through the process, stop freaking out and learn as you go! 2. If there are no hiccups and everything works as planned, assume the process will take one year from start to finish. 3. Surrogacy will generally cost over 100k and under 200k, depending on your agency, IVF clinic and a slew of other miscellaneous factors. So plan for an average realistic ballpark of 150k. 4. As for the right agency, I'll get to that – keep reading.

I look back now that I can hold our babies and someday very soon earn my crown as Class Dad — as PTA head-bitch-in-charge — I can look back at that time of surrogacy craziness with fondness. It brought my husband and I closer together, made us discuss serious life situations many couples never do before having children. Sure there were times it felt like our relationship strained a bit from the stress, but it made us incredibly equipped for fatherhood. We were beyond prepared for something that you really can't prepare for. And not just with baby shit like decorating the nursery, buying clothes or figuring out how the hell to swaddle a kid; but we were prepared as a couple to face whatever came our way. We had to work hard and put forth so much thought into having these babies, that once they actually came it felt like a relief. I'd even go so far as to say that the surrogacy process lessened the shock of actually being a new parent. Anyone who endures surrogacy or IVF treatment, gay dads or straight couples, have to be the most prepared parents on the planet. And beyond that, I believe we produce the most wanted babies.

Photo credit: Sonju Photography

What I found is there's no right way with surrogacy, just as there is no right way with parenting. There is just your way, and your way means what is right for you and your family. In the case of surrogacy, it is so important to remember that it can be hard, extremely challenging at times. And other times it is unbelievably beautiful and exciting. It's a damn rollercoaster. Like one of those flip-you-around-feet-in-the-air rollercoasters that you shouldn't eat a hot dog before riding. But surround yourself with a team you intuitively feel is best to support your family.

There are so many agencies, doctors, clinics, attorneys, you name it. You can do all the research, get countless recommendations and speak to every baby-making expert in the world. At the end of the day, what matters is that you follow your gut. We went with a small, boutique agency local to us in Florida. We liked the security of having them near, felt extremely comfortable talking to them, and always received personalized service. The owner of the company is passionate about working with same-sex families and had gone through surrogacy herself. She understood both the business and personal aspects, but most importantly she genuinely loves helping people on this journey. The prices are the prices and the agency was extremely upfront about cost. There is no "inexpensive" method to make a baby this way, unless you go for the do-it-yourself route, which is absolutely effective for some people! For my husband and I, we selected our agency because they simply felt right. A gut feeling we are happy to have followed.

Photo credit: Sonju Photography

There at the Men Having Babies conference, standing with our former agency, along with another gay couple who just started their surrogacy process, in front of a room full of men eagerly hoping to be dads, I held our son while my husband held our daughter. And I truly can't believe it has come full circle. I can't believe that what felt like a long, arduous process really flew by in the blink of an eye. That our twins are now one-year old — shit, that we've been dads for one year already — because it all seems like yesterday. It feels like I could be sitting in the audience with a big question mark over my head, not knowing what to do next or how it will ever happen. Just wanting my family to grow, wanting so badly to be a dad.

And then suddenly — you're gifted hindsight.

So, yes, the surrogacy process fucking sucks but, and this is a very crucial 'but', it is so worth it. Every sleepless night, anxious phone call, doctor appointment, awkward moment or uncomfortable question — it is so, so, so unbelievably worth it. And while the process of surrogacy fucking sucks, the reward of pursuing the journey is so amazing. Being a dad is so amazing. Being a co-dad with my husband is so amazing. Knowing that we did this together for our family is so amazing.

If you're like I was and are filled with doubts, fears, questions — just have faith it will work out how it's meant to work out. Trust the process, however grueling and fucking sucky it may feel at times. Because you learn as you go, find strength you never knew you had, and meet some awesome people along the way. Plus, the silver lining far outweighs the general suckiness. Promise!

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How a White Gay Dad Discusses Racial Issues with his Black Sons

In light of the recent killing of George Floyd by the hands of police in Minneapolis, Joseph Sadusky shares two excerpts from his book that deal directly with issues around raising black sons.

Editor's Note: In light of George Floyd's death, this month, author Joseph Sadusky — who has been sharing excerpts from his book Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad each month —will share two posts that deal directly with issues around raising black sons. This is the first, titled "White," which looks at general questions that come up for a white dad raising black boys. Read previous installments here.

It may be presumptuous for a Caucasian gay man to claim to feel terrified and heartsick at the shooting of Trayvon Martin. But upon hearing the news that day in 2012, this is exactly how I felt.

The horrible truth is that there are many incidents of racial violence toward black males that I could use as starting points for this topic. But the specific case of Trayvon Martin—whose only crime was being a young black male wearing a hoodie, walking in a neighborhood where he had a home—has a particular resonance for me. Whatever the legalities of George Zimmerman using a gun to "stand his ground" if he felt his life was threatened, the simple truth is that he chose—against the direction of law enforcement, whom he contacted for support—to follow an African American male who had every right to be walking those neighborhood streets, however "thug" he might appear.

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Become a Gay Dad

Curious About Covid 19's Impact on Foster Care and Adoption?

Leading industry experts answer questions from queer men about the impact of Covid-19 on the adoption and foster care processes.

Recently, GWK hosted a series of free webinars with leading experts led by industry experts in the fields of adoption and foster care to learn about up-to-date insights on how the coronavirus affects family building. The presentations left lots of room for audience Q&A, to allow participants to get their individual questions answered — there were some common questions raised during each webinar, however, so we've put together a quick video of our experts answering some of the top concerns from queer men interested in pursuing surrogacy.

Our team of experts include:

Have other questions about the impact of the coronavirus on adoption or foster care that you'd like our experts to answer? Be sure to email us at

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Top 5 Questions About Covid-19's Impact On Surrogacy

Leading industry experts answer questions from queer men about the impact of Covid-19 on the surrogacy process.

Recently, GWK hosted a series of free webinars with leading experts led by industry experts in the field of surrogacy to learn about up-to-date insights on how the coronavirus affects family building. The presentations left lots of room for audience Q&A, to allow participants to get their individual questions answered — there were some common questions raised during each webinar, however, so we've put together a quick video of our experts answering some of the top concerns from queer men interested in pursuing surrogacy.

Our team of experts include:

Have other questions about the impact of the coronavirus on surrogacy that you'd like our experts to answer? Be sure to email us at

Here is a breakdown of the Top 5 Questions About Covid 19's Impact On Surrogacy. These are highlights taken from our live webinar series we held featuring: G...

Transracial Families Series

How These Dads Address White Privilege within Their Transracial Family

The "white savior" complex is real, said Andrew and Don, who are raising two Black children.

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of ongoing posts exploring issues related to transracial families headed by gay, bi and trans men. Interested in being featured as part of the series? Email us at

Andrew Kohn, 40, and his husband Donald (Don) Jones, 47, together 13 years, are two white dads raising two Black children in Columbus, Ohio. Do they stick out? Sure. Have they encountered racism? They say they haven't. "I keep waiting for the moment so that I can become my best Julia Sugarbaker," said Andrew. "I think because we're a gay couple with Black kids, we're the other-other and people don't really say things to us. We have never had people touch our kids hair or do something that was inappropriate."

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Children's Books

New LGBTQ-Inclusive Children's Book Asks: What Makes a Family?

A new children's book by Seamus Kirst follows a young girl's journey of emotional discovery after she is asked which of her two dads is her "real dad."

Editor's note: This is a guest post from Seamus Kirst, author of the new LGBTQ-inclusive children's book "Papa, Daddy, Riley."

Throughout my life, I have discovered that reading provides an almost miraculous way of changing the way I think.

There is no medium that better offers insight into the perceptions, feelings and humanity of someone who is different from us. Through reading we become empathetic. Through reading we evolve. I have often emerged from reading a book, and felt like I was changed. In that, even in this digital age, I know I am not alone.

As children, reading shapes how we see the world. The characters, places, and stories we come to love in our books inform us as to what life might offer us as we grow up, and our world begins to expand beyond our own backyards.

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Gay Dad Photo Essays

Interested in Foster Care? These Amazing Dads Have Some Advice

As National Foster Care Month comes to a close, we rounded up some amazing examples of gay men serving as foster care dads, helping provide kids with a bright future.

Every May in the United States, we celebrate National Foster Care Month. With over 437,000 children and youth in foster care, it's our honor to take a look at some of the awesome dads in our community who are opening their hearts and their homes, and providing these kids with a bright future.

Thinking about becoming a foster parent? Check out these resources here, and visit AdoptUSKids.

Meet the Foster Dads!

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Transracial Families Series

This Transracial Family Relies on a 'Support Group' of African American Women

Puerto Rican dads Ferdinand and Manuel are raising a daughter of Jamaican descent — and love to find ways to celebrate their family's diversity

Our second feature in our transracial family series. Read the first one here.

Ferdinand Ortiz, 39, and his husband Manuel Gonzalez, 38, have been together for 7 years. In 2017, they became foster dads when they brought their daughter, Mia Valentina, home from the hospital. She was just three days old at the time. On December 13, 2018, her adoption was finalized.

Mia is of Jamaican and African American heritage, and her dads are both Puerto Rican. When Manuel and Ferdinand began their parenting journey through the foster care system, they received specific training on how to be the parents of a child whose race and culture was different from their own. "We learned that it's important to celebrate our child's culture and surround ourselves with people who can help her be proud of her culture." However, as helpful as this training was, the dads agreed that it would've been beneficial to hear from other transracial families and the type of challenges that they faced.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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