Proud dad Rich and Derek have written their #GayDadStory, during which they share the experiences of their journey to fatherhood through surrogacy. Want to share your story? Email Dads@GaysWithKids.com
Rich and I decided to look into having a child almost immediately after our honeymoon. It may sound like we rushed into it, but we had known each other for a long time and had been together for seven years before we got married. We had previously discussed adoption and surrogacy and had not really come to a decision either way. We also did not know anyone who had tried--or even thought about trying--either option, so we really did not know where to start. As luck would have it, a friend’s sister posted an article on Facebook about surrogacy and how happy she was for someone she knew who just delivered a baby for two dads. Jackpot! We reached out to see if the surrogate was willing to meet with us and share her wealth of knowledge.
We made plans to meet her for lunch which we thought would be a quick knowledge transfer. But it turned into a three-hour meet and greet during which she told us everything she knew about how surrogacy worked. She shared information about the fertility clinic, the process and the joy it brought her to be able to help others create families of their own. And the best part? She was looking to do it again right away! It all happened so fast, but by the time we left lunch we had partnered up and planned to get the process started right away.
Rich (left) and Derek with their son Grant
Next, we immediately scheduled an appointment with a fertility doctor to go over the specifics and review what would be required to make this baby happen. As we found out, there was actually quite a lot that we should have done before finding our surrogate. The fertility clinic doctor and psychologist each joked that we were sort of working backwards. There were blood tests, genetic screenings and physicals. There is no "So You Guys Want to be Dads” pamphlet that outlined each step we needed to take. The process was pretty much “Do this and then we will tell you what comes next.” And for us, one of the hardest tasks was choosing an egg donor who would be available to meet our requirements and our timeline.
The process was taking longer than we thought so we called our surrogate one day and told her that we would need more time. We worried that it would cause her to back out of the plans. She took some time, adjusted to the schedule change, and decided to stick with us which was really amazing! After the testing was done there were meetings, calls, and review and sign-off on numerous documents. Once it was all done, we were back on track.
Our egg donor was doing great and the fertility doctor retrieved 15 viable eggs, which was awesome news! We had spent many nights talking about how we hoped to have two children, one biologically mine and one Rich's. We were so excited!
Rich with Grant
I was standing alone in a store when the clinic called and gave me the news that none of Rich’s embryos were viable. It didn’t hit me until I hung up the phone. I buried my feelings and tried not to think about it until I got home. When I tried to tell Rich the news I could do nothing but cry. And I was not trying to be dramatic. I think it is fair to say that Rich wanted a child more than I did. It’s not that I didn’t, I just knew he was meant to be a father and because he wanted that so badly I wanted to make that happen for him. It was the toughest time in the process. Rich, too, was devastated. But he immediately saw the silver lining--because that's what he does. He reminded me that regardless of the biological ties, we were still going to realize our dream of being dads.
A month later we were at the hospital for the embryo transfer to the surrogate. Rich hoped for a girl and I hoped for a boy. We had several healthy embryos to choose from and we could have done so based on our gender preference, but instead asked the doctor to decide so we would be surprised at the birth.
During the ride home, neither of us could keep the secret that we had seen the embryo's number so we knew we'd have a boy. Now everything was becoming so real. Ten days later we got the test results; our surrogate was pregnant! I almost jumped out of my chair at work. We celebrated at home and settled in for the longest wait of our lives.
Once we passed the first trimester I felt like a weight had been lifted. Surrogacy and IVF turned out to be more stressful than we had anticipated. The decisions you have to make along the way are ones you probably never contemplated. The lawyers turn emotional decisions into business negotiations. The cost is high and you have to prepare yourself for the fact that you might come out at the end with little to show for it. The enormity of it all didn't really hit until afterwards. We were thrilled to have it all behind us.
Derek (left) holding Grant with Rich
The nine months passed by faster than we thought and our son Grant was born in June! We were in the delivery room for the entire labor and Rich and I held hands until he was born. It truly felt like a miracle! We were taken to our own room in the hospital and we each awkwardly held him for the first time. It felt unreal that our family had now grown to three. We conferenced our parents on a call so everyone got the news at the same time. Everyone was ecstatic, but no one more so than us.
Grant is a wonderful baby! He just turned 7 months old and is the light of our lives. He has an infectious smile and takes to everyone he meets like they are old friends. We could not be happier that he is now a part of and the heart of our family. He is so worth all the blood, sweat, and tears ... literally.