Dad Tyler Fontes (read his story here) recently shared his experience as a dad through surrogacy with our Instagram community via a question and answer session.
Read Joseph's responses below.
What was the easiest and the hardest part of your surrogacy journey?
Easiest part was that we had a gestational carrier that we knew offer to do it for us allowing us to have someone we personally knew and trusted to carry our twins.
The hardest part was our carrier lived in a different state so we could not be there throughout the pregnancy process for all the check up's and ultra sounds. And knowing that twin pregnancies are already a high risk pregnancy, made for a long nervous 8 months of pregnancy.
What's your advice for finding an LGBTQ+ friendly agency?
We used social media to find recommended clinics from other gay dads. We also followed Men Having Babies and Facebook which has a huge wealth of knowledge on gay men pursuing having a family. We asked questions on there and got some great recommendations. After that we would call the agencies/clinics directly and personally ask about their experience with gay families to make sure they were very open and accepting of the LGBTQ+ community.
How did you know that surrogacy was the right choice for your family?
We knew we always wanted to have children and we continue to support adoption for us for the future to grow our family however we had the amazing opportunity to have a gestational carrier became financially and socially possible for us so we decided to pursue that opportunity first.
What are the complications that we are going to face throughout the year with baby and mother?
We love our gestational carrier and have a profound respect for the physical and emotional toll that the pregnancy takes on a woman's body, especially a high risk twin pregnancy. We were always worried about the health of the twins development along with the health of our carrier throughout pregnancy and also during the birthing process. It is a very emotional time for everyone involved throughout the pregnancy year. We will never be able to fully thank her for all she has given us.
How much money should a couple save? Do most agencies have payment plans?
In regards to all IVF, IVF medications, egg donor payment, FDA testing prior to creating embryos, embryo testing, embryo transfer, embryo storage, I would recommend about $35,000 - $40,000. That estimate is based off of our Arizona clinic pricing (who had their own egg donor bank to select from) and they did not offer a payment plan. All payments were due in full at time they occurred. That price also does not reflect a payed surrogate or birth costs. We did not go through an agency for our surrogate as our carrier was a family member and a huge financial savings for us.
What was the cost of having twins?
Most of this is answered in question 1, and really no additional cost for having twins vs a single pregnancy. Two embryos were transferred at the same time so all financial costs were still the same up to that point.
For more information on having twins, read this article: 5 Questions for Gay Dads Considering Twins in Their Surrogacy Journey
What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about becoming a dad through surrogacy?
It is going to be a long process full of emotions and at some times an emotional rollercoaster but it's all externally worth it all once you have a successful transfer and pregnancy! Do lots of research and find a clinic that's best for you and your specific needs. Also recommend some research into your state laws regarding same sex couples and having kids through surrogacy in regards to birth certificates (some states allow both dads to be on the child's birth certificate while other states only allow the one biological dad on the certificate).
Did you guys use grants or assisted funding?
We did not. We used a lot of our savings and saved finances to help with our payments. We also did our process in stages which helped pay everything off as we went along. We did embryo cryopreservation for a full year after they were created to wait until our carrier was available for the transfer.
What kind of research did you do for becoming dads through surrogacy?
We did a lot of research into well known IVF clinics in different states. We looked into some in Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico clinics trying to find the best one to fit with our situation as our carrier lived in New Mexico and we lived in Arizona. We also wanted a clinic that also had their own egg donor bank and embryologist on site so all our IVF could be handled at one location and office.