Gay Dad Life

The Thing About Surrogacy? It's 'Constant Waiting,' Says This Gay Dad

Hours before his twins were born, Ryan Michael Sirois wrote this essay reflecting back on the wonderful and complicated path to becoming a gay dad via surrogacy.

Life truly began, Ryan says, on May 16, 2017, when his twins, Connor and Olivia, were born via surrogacy. Hours before that moment, Ryan wrote the post below. While life now is filled diapers and late night feedings, then his days were filled with the excitement, anxieties, and fears of all dads-to-be.


My twin babies will be born in a matter of days. To know with certainty my entire life is about to change while sitting idly by a phone awaiting the call. The only word is limbo. Mounting anxiety looms because, much like the oncoming of a hurricane, all I can do is prepare and wait. Well I've prepared. Now for the wait. The calm before the storm. The surreal experience of continuing with day-to-day routine; sitting at the office, watching television, eating dinner – all the while hearing winds slowly pick up outside. Whistling through palm fronds and fence boards, clouds fold to grey sheets, a slight chill in the air meets a lingering buzz of intensity.

In a matter of seconds, minutes, days, these two lives will collide with mine. They will look to me and Chris for everything and we will look to each other for everything. Our routine will never exist again, replaced by new modes of operation. The quiet dinner home alone will be something very different. This year-and-a-half long journey with surrogacy will be over and our life will begin as parents, our family will grow and our hearts will expand.

But the waiting.
The knowing.
It's the hardest part.

And the thing about surrogacy is it's constant waiting. Counting of days, of dollars, of new people in and out of your life. Doctors, nurses, egg donors, surrogates, agencies, escrow agents, lawyers. Meeting countless couples currently going through, or who have gone through, the same journey. All the while we try to maintain a level head and open mind as things out of our control fall apart. As dollars are spent faster than we can count, as obstacles are bound to happen, as constant opinions are given, continuous heavy decisions made.

Through all of this you wait.

You wait for the right agency, wait for the right egg donor, wait for a surrogate to appear who everyone feels comfortable with, wait for psychological and physical testing on all, wait for doctor appointments, for fertilization of eggs, to find out if they actually worked, how many survive till day five for transfer, wait for the transfer, to see if the transfer worked and if she is pregnant, wait anxiously to make sure we're in a safe zone to avoid miscarriage, wait to find out if both embryos take and we'll have the twins we hoped for. Then we're finally at a space of waiting like any normal soon-to-be parents – ultrasound appointments, finding out the gender, waiting as week-by-week goes by. That is to say all goes smoothly. Our first embryo transfer failed, we did not have enough fertilized eggs to try again, so we had to start the process all over. An unexpected financial, emotional and mental strain.

But we reminded each other how badly we want these babies. No matter what, we had to keep moving – and we did. We waited another two months for a new egg donor, then continued with the process again. Our surrogate was an incredible woman who stayed strong with us the entire time, enduring countless injections and emotional, physical and mental obstacles along the way. But together we faced those challenges and felt overwhelming joy when we learned she was pregnant.

Ryan and his surrogate at a baby shower

Where any other couple experiences the development of pregnancy together in real time, we get updates from afar. Mostly life remains the same all the while knowing our future children are growing in someone else's womb hundreds of miles away with no tangible proof at our fingertips. We don't experience the kicks, the tummy growth or baby movement, the random food cravings or doctor appointments. We wait for updates over the phone and celebrate mini-milestones like hearing the fetus size because it's all we have. I say this not as a complaint, but as an example of how foreign the pregnancy can be. How our life remains relatively normal as we wait for this massive change to hit. Waiting for the big call that we need to haul ass to Daytona Beach for the birth of our twins. Then two days later come home and – bam – we're parents.

It's all very strange, very exciting and very frustrating. It's one of those things no one could understand unless they've been through it. The emotional rollercoaster of surrogacy simply leads up to the emotional rollercoaster of being parents just like anyone else. But it's an over yearlong marathon to the finish line and the hustle is serious.

Thankfully the end is in sight; or rather the beginning is near. At any moment we will receive a call that Connor and Olivia are ready for their arrival into this world, the waiting game is almost over. For certain we know a C-Section is scheduled for May 24th, but they could very well come on their own time before then. Nine days. Nine days to the final countdown. Home stretch.

And then life begins again.


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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.

Sponsored

The Most Important Woman a Gay Man Will Ever Date

Kristin Marsoli of Circle Surrogacy gives some tips and tricks for getting to know your surrogate once matched

It's time to fine tune your dating skills because you're about to enter into the most important courtship you'll encounter. And it all starts with the biggest first date of your life.

And it's with a woman.

This woman is your gestational carrier; the woman who will carry and care for your baby until she delivers this little bundle of joy right into your arms.

Matching with a gestational carrier – or surrogate – is one of the most exciting milestones in your journey to parenthood through surrogacy. However, it can also be the most nerve wracking. Chances are you've seen a profile about your potential surrogate match so you know a little bit about her and her family. But before you commit to this woman, you'll need to meet her first – either in person or via video. And this is one first meeting you've probably never prepared for!

Circle Surrogacy has been matching surrogates and gay dads for almost 25 years. Here are tried and true tips and tricks to getting to know your surrogate...and keeping the relationship alive during pregnancy and after birth!

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Gay Dad Life

"Daddy, Which Belly Did I Come From?"

How do gay dads talk to their kids about the women that helped bring them into the world?

When you tell your kids the story of how they came to be, is the woman who delivered them identified by a face and a name? That's a decision that every gay dad has to make when it comes to having kids through surrogacy or adoption. In this episode we explored two ways of keeping in touch with the birthmother (for adoptive kids) or the gestational surrogate (for IVF and surrogacy) as part of gay dads' children's birth story.Some adoptive parents choose to have an 'open adoption,' where the child gets to meet the birthmother. Parents who go through surrogacy sometimes keep in touch with the surrogate and have their kids meet her when they are old enough.

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Fun

Gay Dad Penguins Strike Again! This Time in Berlin Zoo

The latest male penguins to care for an egg together are Skipper and Ping in the Berlin Zoo.

First, there was Roy and Silo — the two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo that served as inspiration for the famous children's book And Tango Makes Three. Then Magin Sphen got together in Sydney, where aquarium keepers gave the cocks (Calm down, that's what a male penguin is called!) a foster egg to care for.

And now, please welcome Skipper and Ping in Berlin to the latest list of gay dad penguins! As soon as the two emperor penguins arrived at the city's zoo, they set about trying to start a family, said Berlin Zoo spokesman Maximilian Jaege to DPA news.

"They kept trying to hatch fish and stones," Jaeger said.

So the zookeepers loaned the penguins an egg from a female penguin, who is apparently uninterested in hatching eggs on her own, according to the BBC.

Unsurprisingly, the gay penguins are killing it as parents. "The two male penguins are acting like exemplary parents, taking turns to warm the egg," Jaeger said,

Read the whole article on DPA here.

Change the World

Hungarian Company Raising Money for LGBTQ+ Organization with a LEGO® Heart

Startup WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is helping combat misinformation and prejudice in Central and Eastern Europe

Guest Post from WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD

WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is an innovative startup venture that sells LEGO® parts and unique creations. The core values of our company include social equality regardless of gender identity or origin. As LEGO® is a variety of colors and shapes, so are the people.

We all know that LEGO® is a brand that nearly everyone knows and likes between the age of 3 and 99 so this gives a great opportunity to connect unique LEGO® creations and Pride. We started a fundraising campaign for a Hungarian LGBTQ+ organization who's aim is to bring people closer to the LGBTQ+ community, they help to combat misinformation and prejudice regarding LGBTQ+ issues in Central- Eastern Europe since 2000.

You might know that gender equality and the circumstances of LGBTQ+ people is not the easiest in the former communist Eastern European countries like Hungary so this program is in a real need for help. For example a couple of month ago a member of the government said that homosexual people are not equal part of our society.

The essence of the campaign is when one buys a Pride Heart, a custom creation made of brand new and genuine LEGO® bricks the organization gets $10.00 donation so they can continue their important work. This Pride Heart is a nice necklace, a decoration in your home, and a cool gift to the one you love.

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Entertainment

Single Gay Dad Featured on Season Three of GLOW

Actor Kevin Cahoon joins the Gorgeous Ladies of Wresting in Vegas as a single gay dad — and drag queen — on Season Three of the hit Netflix show

For a couple of years now, Hollywood has been obsessed with gay dad characters (and who can blame them?) But the latest show to get hip to a story line featuring gay man raising kids is Netflix's GLOW, which explores a female wresting troop in the late 1980s.

But GLOW is helping represent a gay character that rarely gets time in the limelight:the single gay dad. In Season three of the hit comedy — which stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and Marc Maron — actor Kevin Cahoon joins the case as Bobby Barnes, a single gay father who plays a female impersonator. (80s divas only, of course — Joan Collins and Babs among them)


"I've never done female impersonation," the openly gay actor told OutSmart Magazine, "so I tried to learn really quick. You will know them all; I was very familiar with all of them. There were plenty of talk shows and performances on YouTube to study. I learned that their breathing was very informative."

A single gay dad AND drag queen on television? It's about damn time if you ask us.

Read the full interview with Cahoon 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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Fatherhood, the gay way

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