Become a Gay Dad

5 Questions Gay Men Should Ask Before Embarking on International Surrogacy

International surrogacy can be a daunting journey. Check out five questions author James Phillip suggests you find answers to before choosing international surrogacy

I learned so much about love and patience on my journey through international surrogacy. Surrogacy: Our Family's Journey is my first book and centers on our family's intense, at times frustrating, and eternally-cherished adventure that led to the birth of our twins and the wonderful expansion of our family. Here are my top things I had to consider before and as we started out:


1. Would you want to meet and choose your egg donor or surrogate?

We opted to meet our egg donor though the same agency in Thailand that would also oversee the IVF process and monitor our surrogate's pregnancy. This meant that everything was arranged for us with one point of contact. As our surrogate was overseas, we took great comfort in knowing that everyone was working together. Meeting both these women was magical and highly emotional -- and that was even before a pregnancy! I still feel overwhelmed when I think about the excitement of meeting such giving women! [Check out this post: 5 questions every gay man should ask a surrogacy agency.]

2. How much involvement you can have in your surrogate's pregnancy?

Our agency at the clinic listened to us and understood our need for communication with our surrogate, with as little barriers as possible. Once our surrogate had agreed to try for us our bond became strong and we spent time discussing how we would like to be involved for instance with attending pregnancy clinics and scans and also pregnancy supplements we would like our surrogate mother to take though out the pregnancy. Soon we became friends and discussions about how we envisaged everyone to be in each others lives was talked about and looked forward to by all of us when our children would finally arrive.

3. Can both intended parent can be at the surrogate's birth?

Our doctors both at the hospital and the clinic were amazing about our request. Legally we needed to provide the hospital with power of attorney as new parents to be, but once the legalities were ironed out it was agreed we could all take part in the birth after discussing this with our surrogate mother. Having our birth plan laid out gave us the confidence to take our very first few steps in our children's lives and we are blessed to have two healthy children.

4. What will the final cost be of the surrogacy journey?

Consider your costs carefully and try to budget for the unexpected. We did not have the option of insurance to cover our surrogacy and when our children were born a little too early our hospital costs were much higher than we were expecting. Our first priority of course what the health and well being of our surrogate and our children but we found a way to negotiate around certain costs with the hospital where our children were born to help ease the burden of a 'higher than expected' medical bill.

5. Will you keep the surrogate and egg donor in your lives?


This was the biggest part for me by far. I was worried about how this would feel after our kids were born. How would life be afterwards with our surrogate and indeed our egg donor? As male same-sex parents how did the two women feel about spending time with the children in the future? Our request was a big ask to say the least but has worked out for us all wonderfully. We enjoy spending time together and most recently the children's "tummy mummy" as they know her is helping them learn some Thai language alongside their English and Polish. It is wonderful to see our children understand how they came into our lives surrounded by a loving family group around them.


Told with the addition of photographs and excerpts, including correspondence and birth plans, Surrogacy: Our Family's Journey is an honest insight in to the lengths I have gone to make my dreams a reality. More individuals and couples are choosing surrogacy every day and, in reading this book, I hope that others considering a similar journey will find help by way of a kindred spirit.

twitter @jayphillipbooks
Insta: jamesphillipbooks.co.uk

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Politics

Daughter of Married Gay Couple Who Used Surrogacy Abroad Isn't Citizen, Says U.S. State Department

A decades-old law can be used to discriminate against gay couples who use surrogacy abroad.

James Derek Mize and his husband Jonathan Gregg are both American citizens, but their daughter, born via a surrogate, may not be, at least according to the U.S. State Department.

The New York Times took an in-depth look at this case in a piece that ran in the paper yesterday. While James was born and raised in the U.S, his husband Jonathan was originally born in Britain. That may be enough, according to the State Department, to deny their daughter citizenship.

"We're both Americans; we're married," James told the New York Times. "We just found it really hard to believe that we could have a child that wouldn't be able to be in our country."

According to decades-old immigration law, a child born abroad must have a biological connection to a parent that is a U.S. citizen in order to be eligible to receive citizenship upon birth. Children born via surrogacy are determined to be "out of wedlock," according to the Times report," which then requires a more onerous process to qualify for citizenship, such as demonstrating that a biological parent is not only an American citizen, but has spent at least five years in the country.

The intent of the law, which dates back to the 1950s, was to prevent people from claiming, falsely, that they are the children of U.S. parents. But LGBTQ advocates argue this archaic policy is being used intentionally to discriminates against same-sex couples, who often have to rely on donors, IVF and surrogacy in order to have biologically children, and are thus held to a higher standard.

"This is where our life is. This is where our jobs are," James told the Times. "Our daughter can't be here, but she has no one else to care for her."

Read the whole story here.


Gay Dad Life

Netflix Documentary Explores a Gay Chinese-American's Path to Parenthood Via Surrogacy

"All In My Family," a new short documentary by filmmaker Hao Wu, explores his family's struggle to accept his sexuality and decision to pursue surrogacy in the United States

Filmmaker Hao Wu's latest documentary, released on Netflix this past week, explores his coming out story and his path to becoming a gay dad via surrogacy in the United States. Viewers watch as Wu comes out to his Chinese parents, who are not accepting of his sexual orientation.

As the film's synopsis notes, Wu, the only male descendant in his Chinese family, was "raised with a certain set of expectations - excel at school, get a good job, marry, and have kids." He achieves each of these goals, but as a gay man, he hasn't done so in the way his family had hoped. The film follows Wu brings his husband and children to China to meet his family, many of who are still unaware of his sexual orientation.

"I wanted to show the challenges for gay people of Chinese descent, what kind of cultural and generational barriers and differences they have to negotiate in order to build a family of their own," Wu said in an interview with InkStone.

Watch the moving documentary in full here.


Gay Dad Family Stories

This Surrogate Helped Two Different Gay Couples Realize Their Dreams of Becoming Dads

Shelly Marsh says her daughters are her "life," and wanted to share that love as a surrogate for two different gay couples.

We've shared hundreds, possibly thousands, of stories about GBT men who've become dads through the many different paths to fatherhood. We've thanked the women who've made our dreams come true; we wouldn't be dads without their, in many cases, selfless acts of love. Amongst the courageous birth moms, and our co-parenting counterparts, are the surrogates who carry our children. It's a very personal decision to become a surrogate, but Shelly's choice was simple: if she could help others experience the joys of parenthood, she would.

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Gay Dad Life

Cooking with Kids: An Interview with David Burtka

David Burtka sits down with us to talk about his new book "Life is a Party."

When you're a young couple it's easy to order in or dine out on a daily basis, but when the kids come along, spending time in the kitchen to prepare nutritious and healthy meals for them can become a problem for some dads. We turned to gay dad and celebrity chef David Burtka who just published his debut recipe book Life is a Party, to get some advice, inspiration, and support as we take our baby steps in the kitchen.

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Popular

Couple That Met at the Gym Now Spotting Each Other Through Fatherhood

How two real New-Yorkers became two soft-hearted dads

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

Byron and Matthew Slosar, both 41, met ten years ago at one of New York City's Equinox gyms. "I asked him for a spot on the bench press," smiled Byron. The couple were married September 22, 2012.

Surrogacy was always the way Byron and Matthew wanted to become parents. They chose to wait and become dads later in life, until they had established careers and the financial means to pursue their chosen path.

They signed with Circle Surrogacy after interviewing a few agencies. "We immediately connected with their entire staff, particularly Anne Watson who lovingly dealt with my healthy neuroses on the daily for 1.5 years," said Byron. "They definitely personalized the service and helped us understand all 2,000 moving parts." The dads-to-be were also very impressed with how much emotional support they received from Circle.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

Adopting an Older Child Through Foster Care Was the Best Path for These Dads

After learning more about older-child adoption through You Gotta Believe, Mark and Andrew decided it was the best way for them to form their family.

"Hey! I got adopted today! These are my dads, Mark and Andrew!"

Jeremy was 16 years old when he found out his new dads wanted to adopt him.

In late August 2017, husbands Mark and Andrew Mihopulos, 34 and 36 respectively, remember driving out to the east end of Long Island. They knew at the very same moment they were driving, social workers were letting Jeremy know they wanted to adopt him. "We expected Jeremy to be hesitant or feel mixed emotions," shared Mark. "We didn't know how he would feel about having two dads and about having white parents and family, as he is a black young man."

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Gay Dad Family Stories

Philippe "Swiped Right" on This Handsome Young Dad

At first, Philippe wasn't sure he could date a man who was a dad. But Steve, and his son Gabriel, have helped him realize a "fatherly side" of himself he didn't know he had.

"It's been one hell of a ride since the beginning," said 26-year-old Steve Argyrakis, Canadian dad of one. He was 19 when he found out he was going to be a dad and the mom was already several months along in her pregnancy. Steve, who lives in Montreal, was struggling with his homosexuality but wanted to do the "right thing," so he continued to suppress his authentic self. "I was so scared about the future and about my own happiness, that I had put aside my homosexuality once again."

A couple of months later, little Gabriel was born, and it was love at first sight.

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