*This post is written as part of our ongoing collaboration with Circle Surrogacy as they explore topics that help to demystify the surrogacy experience for our community of gay dads. This article is written by Heather Manojlovic, the Prescreening Coordinator at Circle Surrogacy and experienced gestational carrier.
"What was it like carrying a baby for a gay couple?"
I'd be lying if I said I was never asked that question both during and after my surrogacy journey. First off, no matter whom you carry for as a surrogate, the journey is monumental and life-changing. You are carrying a baby for someone. They are entrusting you with an enormous gift. It's a big deal!
With my gay Intended Parents (IPs), the journey was unforgettable for so many reasons! We had a very special relationship, and I was honored to carry their baby.
But is carrying a baby for a gay couple different than carrying for a heterosexual couple?
Here are 5 insights from my surrogacy journey with a gay couple:
#1: Carrying for Gay Intended Parents is Special
The fact that I was able to help someone that may have had to overcome a lot of adversity during his lifetime to fulfill a dream meant so much to me. I've always felt like love is love, and the idea that gay rights are human rights has always struck a chord with me. I feel that anyone who has the passion to become a parent should be able to do so, regardless of his/her relationship status or sexual orientation.
Heather with one of her gay IPs
#2: My Gay Intended Parents Trusted Me Completely
My IPs were so relaxed, they truly did not worry about anything! They were always curious about how I was feeling and what my cravings were. I enjoyed sharing those details with them! We were able to build such a beautiful level of trust during our journey, and I believe this was because their worries were kept to a minimum. The fully entrusted me with their most precious cargo and gave their full faith in me as their carrier.
#3: Working with Gay Intended Parents Helped Me to Educate Friends and Family
Most of my family is pretty progressive in their thinking and like to stay open to ideas and respect others. So my family and friends were all very receptive when I told them I was carrying for Gay IPs. Most people automatically assume only a woman would require a surrogate, so it brought up really great conversation points when talking about my Intended Parents. Everyone always loved hearing how the Dads were preparing for their baby's arrival; I don't think there was one person that wasn't excited about their journey to parenthood!
#4: Watching People Try to Figure Out 'Who Was Who' Was Hilarious
One of my funniest favorite memories was when my husband was mistaken for one of my gay IPs! After delivery my IPs spent a great deal of time back and forth between my room and their own room, just chatting and connecting and celebrating this monumental time. The hospital was aware that I had carried for a same-sex couple. There were often times when only one of my IPs was in the room with me and my husband, and the hospital staff constantly confused my husband as one of my IPs. My husband actually ran to a baby store with one of my IPs to help him get some last-minute baby items and they were also mistaken as a couple shopping. It was such a silly moment and my husband always said he was in amazing company and joked they made a good-looking couple.
#5: My Biggest Piece of Advice for Other Gay Men Considering Surrogacy? Go in with an Open Heart.
Remember to not let any expectations take over. Go into the process with an open heart and an open mind and know this is a personal experience for everyone involved. Your surrogate really just wants to partner with you in whatever capacity you are needing to help your dreams come true. Try not to have too many ideas of WHO you expect your surrogate to be. Be prepared to grow as an individual and couple during this experience. Let go of preconceived expectations!
Working with Gay IPs, I truly felt their gratitude. It was special to experience this gratitude, and to be able to share with my own children how amazing our world is, and how all the people we love and interact with are comprised of so many different dynamics.