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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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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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."


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