This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.
"On our third date, Jeff and I discussed our desire to become parents someday, so we've always wanted to be dads," said Freddie. Jeff and Freddie Beisler-Snell met through a mutual friend and have been together 13 years, married for three. Right from the very beginning, they saw fatherhood as part of their future. In May 2019, they welcomed their son Jace via surrogacy.
When Jeff, 40, and Freddie, 36, started their journey, they began looking into adoption. Although they both yearned for a biological connection to their future kids, they didn't know much about surrogacy, or if it was a viable option for them. After doing a little more research, they attended a Gay Parents To Be event, sponsored by RMA of Connecticut taking place in Atlanta. "This event was great because it opened our eyes up to the entire surrogacy process," said Freddie. "After the event, we did some additional research on potential agencies and IVF doctors. We ended up narrowing down our search, and landed on Circle Surrogacy as our agency, and RMA-CT for our IVF clinic."
And from there, their surrogacy journey began.
Within two weeks of moving forward with their chosen agency and clinic, they matched with their surrogate, Rose. "And it was a mutual match," Freddie told CNN during their documentary focusing on gay dads through surrogacy. "Just as we picked her, she had to in turn select us, too."
Sadly, the dads-to-be experienced their first speed bump on the road to fatherhood when their first embryo transfer was unsuccessful. "I don't think we ever doubted our decision to become parents, however, I did wonder if we were making the right decision after our first transfer didn't take," shared Freddie. "I think it was a combination of feeling very emotional, disappointed and sad that maybe caused some reluctance on my part. It was a feeling that I internalized and didn't share much with anyone."
Thankfully, their second transfer was a success and the rest of the pregnancy went smoothly. "I'd say the moment we found out we were pregnant, I knew then without a doubt that this was right for us," said Freddie.
Jace was born in May 2019, three weeks premature, but thankfully the new dads were able to leave the hospital with him just a few days after his birth. "Just in three days, I see the world differently," Jeff said during the CNN documentary. "Never loved somebody so much in my life."
Since bringing Jace home, the dads have learned a lot. "I quickly learned that we need each other more than we ever have before," said Freddie. "It's been a huge adjustment juggling a full-time career and a newborn with only a few hours of sleep each day." They've also see a new side to one another. "Since the birth of our son, I've come to appreciate Jeff so much more. He's always been a very caring person, but since the arrival of our son, I've definitely seen a softer and more nurturing side of Jeff - which is beautiful to experience."
"Being a dad is the best title that I have, bar none!" summarized Jeff.
Freddie and Jeff's biggest takeaways from their surrogacy experience
Do Your Research
For other GBT men considering surrogacy, the dads emphasize the important of researching different surrogacy agencies and IVF doctors. "There are some really great agencies out there, and also many not so great ones," said Freddie. "Surrogacy is a huge financial investment, but the RIGHT agency and IVF doctor is worth every penny!"
On the financial side, Jeff and Freddie also suggest folks looking into the different financing options available if needed. "And no, you don't need to pay everything all up front," added Freddie.
Be prepared for possible obstacles that may come up unexpectedly during one's journey. "Not all journeys are going to be perfect, and having the expectation of a perfect journey is not realistic."
Seek Out Support Groups
Seek out others who are going through the same experience as you. "It's so refreshing and educational to speak with similar people who are going through or have been through the same process," said Freddie. "We don't have all the answers alone, so being able to rely on others experience and knowledge is beneficial.