Popular

Birmingham-Based Dads Suraj and David Tell Us About Their Vegas-Based Surrogacy Adventure

The UK-based dads spent 6 weeks in Vegas with their surrogate leading up to the birth of their daughter

Suraj, a 38-year-old software developer living in Birmingham, United Kingdom, met his future husband David, a 49-year-old journalist, 13 years ago at a Christmas Market with the help with the help of an online dating website.

When they started talking about creating a family, they immediately agreed on surrogacy. They looked at several different countries, but India had banned surrogacy for gay couples, Mexico was only available to Mexican citizens, and so on. Soon they settled on the United States. It would take them another five years to save enough money to make it happen.


The organization they used, Tammuz, had been recommended by friends of friends. Tammuz works with clinics and hospitals all over the world; Suraj and David went to New Delhi, India, to give their sperm samples. The egg donors also traveled to that clinic to donate their eggs, and everything was timed in such a way that both samples were, as they say, fresh.

The embryos were then shipped to their lab in LA where they were kept frozen until they were ready for implantation.

They were in touch with their surrogate, DaJon, via Skype at first; the first time the guys met their surrogate in person was during the 20-week scan when they flew to Las Vegas during Christmas.

Suraj and David enjoyed working with Tammuz as a surrogacy agency: Legal advice was included; the lawyers were experienced in the surrogacy process; and for first-time parents Tammuz also offered a one-off payment for IVF, meaning that if a cycle didn't result in a pregnancy they could keep trying at no extra medical cost. (Traveling expenses would be extra, of course.)

The dads were determined to be present for the birth, and the hospital in Las Vegas was most accommodating to both them and the surrogate. DaJon had asked her mom to stay with her from two weeks before the due date. And so, her mom was with them in the delivery room. She knew exactly what DaJon needed and how to handle the medical staff.

DaJon, who wanted a natural birth, had chosen to forego any painkillers. When the dads watched their surrogate push through the contractions, they realized they were dealing with SuperWoman.

With each contraction they knew they were getting closer to delivery. DaJon was trying to keep it together, the dads had their shirts off, ready for skin-to-skin contact, the baby heart rate monitor was showing a heart rate that wasn't recovering, the nurse was silently praying, and the doctor was demanding that this baby must come out now or else there will have to be a C-section. That was all DaJon needed to hear. One more push and Marnie was born, on Monday, May 21 at 9:17 a.m. A few seconds later Marnie cried for the first time. All was well! Their eyes filled up with tears. And it was at that moment the dads knew what it meant to have this baby in their lives.

David and Suraj had landed in Vegas on May 4, and were there for a total of six weeks. They had arrived two weeks before the due date of May 16 and wanted to get there in good time to get ready, and also to be there in case the baby came early. They figured they needed around three weeks after birth before the baby could medically fly and that time was enough to arrange for the social security number and passport. They came back on the flight they originally booked.

The new dads are considering expanding their family. They would use Tammuz again, even though this time around they would have to pay for each cycle of IVF.

DaJon would love to be their surrogate once again. In the meantime, she has been matched with another man, and the Birmingham dads wish them all the best. They're keeping their fingers crossed DaJon is available when they are ready for a second baby. They have frozen embryos from them both and are ready to go.

***

Surrogacy is well established in the United States, more so than other countries, including the United Kingdom. It's why they chose the United States: because the law is on your side. The downside is that it costs more. The men didn't have medical insurance, and being non-U.S. citizens they had to go the private insurance route. They advise those coming from outside the United States to bear in mind these medical costs, such as hospital stays for the dads as well as several visits to the doctor.

Additional costs will be the accommodation and car rental. Staying for six weeks, Suraj and David found an Airbnb host based near a Walmart near a park not far from the airport and the hospital. The apartment, very quiet and with a pool, was just what they needed and turned out much less expensive than a hotel.

Regarding the surrogate, it was important for them to know she had a support network for herself. DaJon was part of a Facebook group with other surrogates, and her family were very supportive of what she was doing. It was important that it wasn't just about them both: It was about three people. Piece of advice: When considering a surrogate, give thought to why she is doing it and what help and assistance she has available to her.

***

The dads stay in touch with their surrogate mostly via Instagram; they have also used Skype for a video call, together with their daughter Marnie.

Speaking of Instagram: Their account @twodadsandalittlelady is a wonderful history of their surrogacy journey and early life as new dads. In Suraj's words: "This Instagram page is proof that what we have worked so hard to achieve, against what society may object to around the world, is possible. I hope someone out there sees our journey through our Instagram posts from the start and understands what we went through and hopefully inspires them to do what they thought was impossible."

They also see their Instagram as a record for Marnie, for when she grows up and asks the question Where did I come from? One of the pictures is a framed photo of David and Suraj with DaJon from the day of the 20-week scan. It's on Marnie's bedside table and when Marnie is old enough and asks them about her origins they can show her this picture as the beginning of their story.

Show Comments ()
Change the World

One Gay Dad's Fight Against Hate in Superior, Nebraska

Brian Splater is refusing to let homophobic and transphobic elected officials in his town go unchecked

Millie B. Photography

Guest post written by Brian Splater

No one ever should feel they will have a very lonely and secluded life as a child. But that is something me and many other gay kids believe as they are growing up.

The truth of the matter is there are people who will try everything in their power to have our rights go back in time instead of forward. It is very disheartening when these people are elected officials, or they are people who use their place of employment to spread their disgust and hate.

Keep reading... Show less
Entertainment

Hate Group Boycotts 'Toy Story' for Featuring Lesbian Moms—Hilarity Ensues on Twitter

"One Million Moms" announced a boycott of the latest Toy Story movie for *very briefly* featuring lesbian moms. Twitter's response was swift and hilarious.

One Million Moms, which is affiliated with the anti-LGBTQ American Family Association, recently called for a boycott of Toy Story 4 for (very, very briefly) featuring (interracial!) lesbian moms in the animated film. The angry, hateful moms affiliated with this group must have watched the film VERY closely because you could easily blink and miss the moment that apparently "blindsided" viewers.

The Internet reacted with a collective facepalm to the ridiculous boycott. Here are some of our favorite hilarious Twitter reactions to the hateful group:

Keep reading... Show less
Travel

The Golden Age of Vacationing With Kids

WARNING: BUCKLE UP, YOU'RE ABOUT TO READ WAY TOO MANY GOLDEN GIRLS REFERENCES.

Ever feel like you need a vacation from your family vacation? For years, we did too. But I'm happy to report that we don't anymore. So what caused the big shift? I'll get to that. First, a little background.

For years, taking our son Max on road trips had its fair share of, shall I say, challenges. From New York City to London to San Francisco to Vegas… we traveled down the road and back again. And while we made wonderful memories along the way… these trips weren't entirely wonderful. Whether it was Max's inflexible sleep schedule, his limited food palate, potty training, his disinterest in walking or his inability to fully express himself, it never quite felt like a real vacation because we never got to actually relax. But now that Max is almost nine years old, we decided to give it another go… and so we booked a much-needed respite in Florida with one goal in mind — cheesecake — okay, two goals: we wanted to catch our breath!

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

Judge's Decision in NY 'Compassionate Surrogacy' Case Involving Gay Dad Overturned

Though compensated surrogacy remains illegal in New York State, "compassionate surrogacy" arrangements are remain legal

Last week, an unanimous four-judge panel, part of the New York Appellate Division in Brooklyn, New York, revived a gay dad's petition to adopt his son born via surrogacy. The dad, identified as "Joseph P." in court documents, had earlier been denied his petition to adopt by a Queens County Family Court Judge, John M. Hunt. The Queens judge denied the petition because compensated surrogacy contracts are illegal in New York. However, the child born to Joseph was born via "compassionate surrogacy," meaning his gestational surrogate was not compensated.

The Appellate court's decision, written by Justice Alan D. Scheinkmanm called Hunt's decision "clearly erroneous," and held that a new Family Court judge should re-hear the case.

Judge Hunt's decision is all the more confusing since Joseph had actually already become a father via surrogacy in New York—three times over. In each instance, he used donor eggs and a friend serving, voluntarily, as the gestational surrogate. He had his first child in 2012, and then twins the following year. In all three instances, a Family Court judge granted Joseph's adoption petition, given that each child was conceived via "compassionate surrogacy," meaning no money changes hands in the course of a surrogacy journey between carrier an intended parent. This type of surrogacy arrangement is not illegal under to New York law. The social worker in Joseph's latest attempt to adopt, Gay City News noted, also gave him a favorable review, calling him "a mature, stable, and caring person who intentionally created a family of himself, the twins, and John."

Gay City News notes: "Justice Scheinkman provided a careful description of the laws governing surrogacy in New York. The Legislature provided that surrogacy contracts are unenforceable and treated as void. However, the only surrogacy contracts actually outlawed are those where the surrogate is compensated. It was clear to the Appellate Division that the Legislature did not mean to outlaw voluntary surrogacy arrangements, merely to make them unenforceable in the courts. Those who enter into a compensated surrogacy agreement face a small monetary fine and people who act as brokers to arrange such agreements are liable for a larger penalty. There is no penalty for voluntary, uncompensated surrogacy arrangements."

Read the full article here.

Entertainment

How Fatherhood Has Impacted Tom Daley's Diving Career for the Better

British diver Tom Daley, and new-ish gay dad, is looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in South Korea.

British diver Tom Daley is currently in the running to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in South Korea, his fourth if he competes, at the young age of just 26.

But he also has another concern that most young gay men his age couldn't fathom—fatherhood. He and his husband, filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, recently welcomed Robbie Ray via surrogacy in June 2018.

In an interview with the Independent, Daley explained how fatherhood has changed his routine and training, which he says is often for the better.

"It has changed my life completely in all of the best ways possible," Daley said. "It has changed my perspective, the way I think about things. [My son] is the most important thing in my life, everything I do is for him, everything I think about he is at the forefront of everything."

With respect to his diving career, Daley continued, "if you have a bad day at training, or a good day, you are grounded immediately when you get home through the door because you are having cuddles or you are having to change a dirty nappy. It is the first time that I have been able to leave diving at the diving board and not think about what I need to the next day in the pool."

Whatever the challenges he faces while training, he said, "I can leave it there because you don't have time to think about diving when you are looking after a kid under one."

The strategy seems to be working in Daley's favor. He recently enjoyed his most successful FINA Diving World Series ever this past Spring in Canada, winning 12 medals across five events. And barring any major catastrophe, he is overwhelmingly expected to qualify for South Korea 2020.

And we can't wait to cheer the young dad on!

Politics

America's First Gay Dad Governor Heads Into the Lion's Den

Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently became the first elected Democrat to speak at the annual Western Conservative Summit in Denver

Last Friday, American's first gay dad Governor, Jared Polis, became the first elected Democrat to speak at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, where he urged the Republican crowd to help him build a "Colorado for all."

"While we should never gloss over the things that divide us, there is a lot more that unites us," Polis said. "When we close ourselves off from discussion or debate, and we reject the possibility of hearing and understanding other perspectives, it threatens the fabric of our democracy."

If he was hoping for a Kumbaya moment, he didn't exactly get it. As he was called to the stage, he was greeted with a smattering of applause—while others booed and shouted for a "recall" of the Governor.

"It was almost unbearable for me to sit there to listen to his talk," Abby Johnson, one of the event's attendees, told the Denver Post. "And I'm going to tell you why. He kept talking about equality for all persons, yet we live in a society where 60 million innocent human beings have been slaughtered in the name of choice. Where is their justice? Where is their equal rights?"

Polis was also criticized from his left flank for attending the same event that refuses to let the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay GOP members, participate—and that featured Donald Trump Jr. as a speaker the same day. "To me it feels like vanity," Katie Farnan, a staffer with progressive group Indivisible, told the Denver Post. "He can go and be a hip Democratic governor who isn't afraid to go into GOP sanctuary. Or maybe it's recall insurance. But unless he was there to hold them accountable for their support for fascist and racist policies, what's the point?"

In response to the criticism from both sides of the political aisle, Polis told the Colorado Sun: "I think it's very important that Coloradans of different ideologies, different races, different geographies, different orientations and gender identities all really celebrate that we're all part of what makes Colorado great."

The event is hosted each year by Colorado Christian University to bring together conservatives from around the state, and the larger West.

What do you think, dads? Was Polis's decision to speak at the event a savvy political move or mere pandering?

Gay Dad Life

How Canada's 'Gay Dollar' Helped This Gay Man Reflect on His Biggest Regret—Not Having Kids

Canada unveiled a 'gay dollar' coin earlier this year, helping Gregory Walters reflect on the progress the LGBTQ community has made—and his decision to forgo having children children

Earlier this year, Canada unveiled a rainbow-stripped coin dollar to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the country's decision to decriminalize homosexuality. With the coins now firmly in circulation, Gregory Walters, who lives in Vancouver, wrote a moving essay for the Globe and Mail, expressing joy for how far Canada has come on the issue of gay rights, but how the coin is also a symbolic representation of the "greatest regret" of his life—his decision not to adopt children.

Gregory writes that he had hoped to adopt a child ever since his early career working with persons with developmental disabilities. "Several children I worked with were wards of the State of Texas," he wrote. "Their parents having relinquished all rights either owing to egregious acts of abuse or a lack of desire to raise someone with so many needs. There were days when I felt, 'If I could just take you home and raise you.' I knew there was a need for adopting persons with special needs but my own internalized homophobia got in the way yet again. Despite what is probably my own gift in working with children, I never felt worthy enough to be a parent. I always felt that if I were a gay dad it would create more of a liability for the child."

Gregory decision to forgo having children, he says, is his "greatest regret." While he takes responsibility for some of this decision, he also adds: "society's view of homosexuals and its opinions regarding gay adoptions also played a major part."

To critics of Canada's coin, some of who have said its a cheap political pander to the LGBTQ community, Gregory concludes with this thought:

"I don't care if the indulged majority who never had to question marriage or raising children or being secure in a job may feel the coin is frivolous. The coin isn't for them in the first place. It's an acknowledgment for those of us who repressed our true selves and felt oppressed. It is for gays who never lived to see rights and protections enshrined in law. It is for younger LGBTQ people to learn more about how far we've come and to gain a deeper sense of gay pride. For these reasons, the coin has value so much greater than any monetary designation. The coin represents both empowerment and normalization."

Read Gregory's full essay here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse