For those without the financial means, surrogacy can seem like an unattainable dream. But there is one organization that is offering assistance to make that dream a reality; Men Having Babies offers to ease the monetary burden for those who simply cannot afford surrogacy through the Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP).
This program has two stages - GPAP 1 and GPAP 2. GPAP 1 – the Journey Booster – is the first stage providing prospective parents with discounted or donated services from IVF, surrogacy, egg donation and legal service providers; GPAP II – Direct Assistance – provides cash grants and free services.
One such couple who dream of becoming dads through surrogacy are 27-year-old Mario Manaseri and 28-year-old John Romero. Engaged with a wedding date set for 2020, Mario is a social worker and John is a Special Education teacher although he predominantly teaches math; wonderful jobs that contribute to society and help people on a daily basis, but not employment paths that will give them the financial means for a surrogacy journey. This is where Men Having Babies' GPAP stepped in.
"There is no bigger dream of ours than to become parents," said John. "When researching different ways to make this a reality, Mario and I quickly realized that we did not have the financial means to afford surrogacy. That is, until we found out about the life-changing agency, Men Having Babies!"
"We are now connected with an IVF Clinic and a surrogacy agency," said Mario. "We have told our families and they are very excited about it!"
"The Gay Parenting Assistance Program is allowing Mario and me to start our very own family," added John, "and there are no words to express how unbelievably grateful we are for this tremendous blessing Men Having Babies has afforded us."
Recently, Mario and John attended Men Having Babies' Pride event in New York. It was a celebration of all those families (and future families) who came to be through the generosity of GPAP II. Many of the dads recounted where they were and how they reacted when they first heard they had been accepted to the program.
"I actually was tearing up..."
"I know when I found out I couldn't pay attention at work that day..."
"I was at work on a Friday morning when I got the email and I was... so happy!"
Men Having Babies is so proud, and rightly so, of GPAP. "It's really the heart of our organization," said the Executive Director and Founder of Men Having Babies, Ron Poole-Dayan, at the event in June this year. "And you being just shows that if you lead with your heart anything is possible."
"It let us have a family," shared another dad at the event, "I don't know how we could be more thankful than we are for that."
GPAP Stage I applications are accepted year-round on a rolling basis. We try to stick to a processing time of approximately four weeks once we have all required information (international applications may take longer, depending on our partners and their availability for translation etc.)
GPAP Stage II applications are accepted from July 1 through August 31 of each year. Those who have qualified for Stage I benefits and preliminary meet the criteria are invited to apply for Stage II (stage II is not open to the general public due to the requirements). The processing and evaluation of the Stage II applications takes up to six months, though we try to get applicants an answer before the end of the calendar year if possible. If approved for Stage II, the enrollment process may take an additional 1-2 months.