Michael, 29, and Jordi, 37, were born over 5000 miles apart. Michael is from South Africa but grew up in Mauritius and Israel; Jordi was born and raised in Spain. Their paths crossed at a swimming competition over 3 years ago and it was love at first sight. They had a civil ceremony on June 26, 2015, which was followed by a celebratory party in September of the same year.
Michael (left) and Jordi at their wedding, 2015
In January this year, the two men became dads to their son, Noah, born via surrogacy in Canada. The two dads were drawn to Canada as a beautiful and welcoming country, and loved the nature of altruistic surrogacy. (More about the different types of surrogacy here.) A year ago, they were fortunate enough to find a wonderful surrogate in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, through a Canadian surrogacy consultant, and with the help of an egg donor an embryo was created. The embryo was transferred April 2016. Creating their family through surrogacy was important to Michael and Jordi, and they are incredibly happy to have become dads to their son, Noah.
The first month
During the first six weeks of Noah’s life, Michael and Jordi lived in Victoria, getting to know their son and becoming acquainted with life as new dads. They didn’t have any family around them for the first month. Everything, from feeding and burping to cleaning and swaddling, they learned from books and YouTube videos.
"The first month is really about this bonding time with your baby," shared Michael. “Going out for strolls as a new family and catching up on those hours of sleep you didn’t get at night.”
Selfie: Jordi and Michael with Noah in the baby carrier
The two first-time dads also experienced their first moment of parenthood worry, when Noah got a cold. Michael's first instinct was to rush to the hospital, but Jordi reassured his husband that the baby was fine and they were able to manage the cold at home.
They also found their midwife, surrogacy consultant, and their surrogate and her family to be very helpful whenever they had a question.
Michael and Jordi began doing a night each in terms of feeding and changing Noah so that at least one dad was more awake and alert during the day. They found that this tactic worked well for the two of them.
“Noah is a pretty good baby though, wakes up every three to four hours to feed and get changed,” explained Michael. "He hardly complains or cries."
Michael and Jordi with Noah just moments after his birth
Gays With Kids: What has surprised you the most about fatherhood?
Michael: The love that you can feel for a little stranger. It's incomparable and unique and we felt it from the very first moment.
Gays With Kids: Anything that hasn’t surprised you about fatherhood?
Michael: The smelly diapers!
Gays With Kids: Do you have any advice to future gay dads considering surrogacy in Canada?
Michael: Be patient, it can be quite a lengthy process in Canada compared to the States but it's all worth it in the end. You do have to put in a lot of yourself to build the relationship with the surrogate as she is not receiving any financial benefit from this. I believe the biggest benefit made out of this for them is seeing a happy family and also the care and love they get from that family before, during and after the pregnancy – it's a lifetime relationship. Communication is the key and it's between you and the surrogate, without anyone interfering.
Gays With Kids: What have been some of your most precious moments as dads?
Michael: There are so many precious moments with a newborn but if we had to choose one it would be the first time we saw his head pop out!
Gays With Kids: "As a new dad, I could not live without _________ to help me throughout the day."
Michael: My partner. It sounds cheesy but I just can’t imagine doing this on my own.
Thank you, Canada!
Michael and Jordi are now back in Barcelona, where they live permanently. They're anxious to see how well their city will embrace their family of three. Their experience in Canada was one of open arms everywhere.
"People would smile at us and stop us to talk and say nice things about our baby and how great it was for Noah to have two daddies – especially the more elderly generation," said Michael.
The first-time dads will forever have a special place in their heart for Canada, for helping them realize their dream of fatherhood.
Answers have been edited slightly for clarity.