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The Most Important Woman a Gay Man Will Ever Date

Kristin Marsoli of Circle Surrogacy gives some tips and tricks for getting to know your surrogate once matched

It's time to fine tune your dating skills because you're about to enter into the most important courtship you'll encounter. And it all starts with the biggest first date of your life.

And it's with a woman.

This woman is your gestational carrier; the woman who will carry and care for your baby until she delivers this little bundle of joy right into your arms.

Matching with a gestational carrier – or surrogate – is one of the most exciting milestones in your journey to parenthood through surrogacy. However, it can also be the most nerve wracking. Chances are you've seen a profile about your potential surrogate match so you know a little bit about her and her family. But before you commit to this woman, you'll need to meet her first – either in person or via video. And this is one first meeting you've probably never prepared for!

Circle Surrogacy has been matching surrogates and gay dads for almost 25 years. Here are tried and true tips and tricks to getting to know your surrogate...and keeping the relationship alive during pregnancy and after birth!


7 Tips for your First Date with your Surrogate

You'll likely be nervous for this first meeting, which many times occurs as a video call. What should you wear? What should you talk about? The best advice: relax! Chances are, your surrogate is just as nervous as you are. These tips will help you prepare for – and survive! – your first "date" with your surrogate:

  1. Prepare yourself for an awkward first few minutes. Let's be honest, this is not a normal meeting or first date. You are meeting a woman to see if you 'click' so she could carry a baby for you! Sometimes it's best to acknowledge the awkwardness from the get-go. Starting the conversation by saying, "I'm excited to meet you, but I'm a little nervous!" is a great way to break the ice and get the chit-chat started.
  2. Prepare a list of talking points. We're not suggesting you read from index cards, however, you may want to have a short list of bulleted topics you'd like to cover on your call. The overwhelming emotions you'll be feeling may cause you to forget questions you'd like to ask; also, having a list of topics will come in handy to fill any awkward moments of silence.
  3. Be honest. Above all, be open and honest during your conversation. What are you looking for in a surrogate? What do you hope to get out of your surrogacy journey? What type of relationship do you hope for with your surrogate? Be sure to talk about what you truly think and feel, instead of what you think your surrogate might want to hear to agree to match with you.
  4. Share your story. Tell your surrogate about yourself: when did you know you wanted to be a dad? If you're coupled, how did you meet? What's your life like? This is an opportunity to not only get to know your surrogate, but for her to get to know the real you, too.
  5. Don't treat the meeting like a job interview. While you may have a million questions for your potential gestational carrier, try to not interrogate her. Treat this meeting like a conversation. Ask open-ended questions that allow her to share stories and her experiences and feelings on topics. And then share your story, too (see #5!). The last thing you want to do is make her feel like she's being questioned; you want her to feel like you're trying to get to know her.
  6. Keep the conversation light. The first date is probably not the time to discuss heavy or deep topics with your surrogate. Instead, focus on topics such as family, hobbies, vacation spots, and describing what it's like to live where you are. And it's NEVER the time to talk about money.
  7. Don't put expectations on the length of the call. Like any first date, the end can be a little...stressful. This first meeting does not need to be hours long. Some dads shared with us that they had wonderful conversations lasted around 45 minutes, while other dads had conversations that last over 2 hours! There is no "right" amount of time for this first meeting. Get to know one another enough to determine if she's "the one", whether that's 30 minutes or 3 hours.

5 Yips for Dating Your Surrogate Through Pregnancy

You've made it through the first date with success! You are now matched with a wonderful woman who you will now have a relationship with for the next 12-16 months...and beyond. It's imperative that you nurture this relationship throughout the journey, as you'll be experiencing some amazing milestones together.

Here are some tips on how to "date" your surrogate – and grow your relationship.

  1. Maintain at least weekly communication. Most intended parents and their surrogates communicate way more than weekly, however you'll find the cadence of communication that works for you both. Communication can be anything from video chats to texts, phone calls to photos.
  2. Ask for updates. Since surrogates have been through their own pregnancies before, what they are experiencing is not new to them. However, it IS new to YOU. It's ok to ask for updates throughout the pregnancy: how is she feeling? Is she craving any crazy foods? Is the baby kicking like crazy? Your surrogate wants to share all these details with you - so ask away!
  3. Share your feelings. This one falls under the honesty camp: be open about how you're feeling in your journey. Anxious? Nervous? Excited? Let your surrogate know. She's an experienced mama so she may be able to calm any fears or share some thoughts. Being open with her will also bring you closer.
  4. Openly discuss D-day (delivery day!). Around week 20 of your pregnancy you'll fill out your birth plan with your surrogate. You'll answer questions about what your expectations are for delivery day, who you'd like in the delivery room, etc. It can be helpful to discuss delivery day early and often, so all parties are as prepared as they can be...and ready for plans B and C should you need them!
  5. Talk about the future. While discussing the future may be taboo for your first date, it should be a talking point throughout your relationship. Discuss what you imagine your relationship with your surrogate is like after your baby is born. Every journey is different. The level of relationship you have after the baby is born is unique to you and your surrogate. Some parents and their surrogate remain in contact with periodic calls and videos. While others become extended families of one another and visit and vacation together.

First impressions are everything. Prepare for your first date – aka, your first video call or meeting – with your surrogate like you would any other meeting. Be ready to not only ask her questions, but to share information about yourself.

Our best advice: be yourself!

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Gay Dad Family Stories

This European Couple Became Dads Through a U.K.-Based Surrogacy Program

Janno, from Estonia, and Matthias, from Belgium, were accepted into the "Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy" Program.

Janno Talu, an accountant, and Matthias Nijs, an art gallery director, were born in different parts of Europe. Janno, 39, is from Estonia, and Matthias, 28, is from Belgium. Their paths crossed when the two moved to London, each from their different corners of the European Union.

Janno relocated to London earlier than Matthias, when he was 24, and his main reason for the move was his sexuality. "Although Estonia is considered one of the more progressive countries in Eastern Europe, when it comes to gay rights, it is still decades behind Western society in terms of tolerance," said Janno. "And things are not moving in the right direction." In 2016, same-sex civil union became legal, but the junior party in the current coalition government is seeking to repeal the same-sex partnership bill. "In addition," Janno continued, "they wish to include the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the country's constitution. Even today, there are people in Estonia who liken homosexuality to pedophilia, which is why I decided to start a new life in the UK, where I could finally be myself."

Keep reading...
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Asks: Is Destroying an Embryo Similar to Abortion?

It's a question many LGBTQ parents using advanced fertility treatments will need to face — what to do with "left over" embryos.

Let me start off by saying that I have always been pro choice and support all laws that allow people to have full reproductive rights including safe and legal abortions. This is a complicated subject and not one that I ever thought I would really have to deal with on a personal level, especially being a gay man.

I remember a very heated discussion on abortion in my biology class back in university. I was young, idealistic and had very strong convictions about abortion. I was debating with a female classmate who was pro life. She felt there was no reason for an abortion ever, not even if raped by your own parent or sibling. I could not really understand her position, then or now. Don't get me wrong, I still don't agree with her, but now that I'm older and wiser, and also a parent, I have come to respect and accept opinions other than mine.

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Expert Advice

What's It Like When You're NOT the Bio Dad to Your Baby

Lauren Mello of Circle Surrogacy breaks down some of the challenges facing the gay dad who will *not* become the biological parent.

If you're a gay couple considering surrogacy, one of the first decisions you'll need to make together is who is going to be the biological father. When it's time to create your embryos with your egg donor's eggs, you have a few choices when it comes to which dad will be providing his biology: one dad only can provide his biology, both dads can provide their biology and leave the fertilization to chance, or both dads can provide their biology and fertilize half of the embryos with each dad's sperm. Some gay dads choose this third option if they plan to have twins, or more than one baby through surrogacy.

Once embryos are created, you'll decide which embryos will be transferred into your surrogate mother. Hopefully a pregnancy results, and you'll be on your way to fatherhood!

The question is: what's is like when you're NOT the bio dad to your baby? We spoke with a few dads through surrogacy from Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation, about the emotions surrounding being a bio dad...and not being one.

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Change the World

Apply for a Paid Internship at Gays With Kids!

Are you a student who is passionate about journalism, new media, and supporting the LGBTQ community? Apply for a (paid!) internship with Gays With Kids and join the largest community for gay, bit and trans dads and dads to be!

We are excited to announce that Gays With Kids will be hiring two student interns to help support our rapidly expanding work as the largest online magazine and resource for gay, bi and trans dads and dads to be! At the moment, we have two paid positions available.

  • Our Journalism and Editorial Intern should be interested in journalism, editing, and the daily process of running and maintaining a major website. This is a New York-based position, who will work closely with our Editor in Chief, David Dodge.

  • Our Social and Community Intern should be interested in supporting and expanding our vibrate online community across multiple social media channels and will work closely with Rosalind Lonsdale, our Social and Community Manager.

Please see below for more information and how to apply!

Journalism and Editorial Intern — New York, NY 

Paid $15 p/h || 15-20 hours per week || Immediate start || New York City, NY


Gays With Kids is seeking an energetic, organized, and socially conscious Journalism and Editorial intern with an immediate start date. This is a paid position and the intern will be expected to work 15-20 hours a week. Position is ongoing but possible end dates will be discussed in the interview process.

About us: Gays With Kids is the world's premier website and social network dedicated exclusively to helping gay, bi and trans men become dads, and to helping queer dads navigate fatherhood.

We launched in 2015 and we're very excited to refresh our website in the next couple of months with a stronger and more clear focus on the different paths to fatherhood available to our community. We currently have close to 250,000 followers on social media, and our community is extremely engaged. You should be proud to be part of a small, but passionate and dedicated team that's making a meaningful impact nationally and globally.

Check us out: https://www.facebook.com/GaysWithKids/ / https://www.instagram.com/gays_with_kids/ / https://www.youtube.com/user/GaysWithKids

Much of this work can be undertaken at the intern's own residence but, at least initially, you will be required to meet and work closely with our Executive Editor, located in New York City.

Learning opportunities include:

  • Write blog posts, articles, and other pieces of content for the website as needed.
  • Identify and interview experts within various paths to parenthood for gay, bi and trans men, including: surrogacy, adoption, foster care, co-parenting partnerships and more.
  • Refresh and reimagine current content on the Gays With Kids website.
  • Support engaging and dynamic social media content across external channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest)
  • Assist with migration of current website to a new platform


Requirements:

  • Interest in journalism, particularly as it relates to the LGBTQ+ community
  • Interest and activism in equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community
  • Crucial skills: highly organized, good at multitasking, a strong problem solver, and a willingness to learn new skills and abilities.
  • Experience managing social media platforms, specifically Instagram and Facebook
  • Knowledge of Google Docs, iMovie, Canva, Trello, are a plus
    Proficient in MS Office Suite with excellent writing / communication skills
  • Interest in learning digital communications including social media management platforms and SEO skills

To apply, pleas send a resume and two writing samples to David Dodge, Executive Editor, at David.Dodge@gayswithkids.com

Social and Community Intern

Paid $15 p/h || 15-20 hours per week || Immediate start || Philadelphia, PA


Gays With Kids is seeking an energetic, organized, and socially conscious Social and Community intern with an immediate start date. This is a paid position and the intern will be expected to work 15-20 hours a week. Position is ongoing but possible end dates will be discussed in the interview process.

About us: Gays With Kids is the world's premier website and social network dedicated exclusively to helping gay, bi and trans men become dads, and to helping queer dads navigate fatherhood.

We launched in 2015 and we're very excited to refresh our website in the next couple of months with a stronger and more clear focus on the different paths to fatherhood available to our community. We currently have close to 250,000 followers on social media, and our community is extremely engaged…especially on Instagram. You should be proud to be part of a small, but passionate and dedicated team that's making a meaningful impact nationally and globally. As our social and community intern, you will have plenty of opportunity to engage with our community.

Check us out: https://www.facebook.com/GaysWithKids/ / https://www.instagram.com/gays_with_kids/ / https://www.youtube.com/user/GaysWithKids

Much of this work can be undertaken at the intern's own residence but, at least initially, you will be required to meet and work closely with our Social and Community manager, located in Philadelphia.

Learning opportunities include:

  • Support engaging and dynamic social media content across external channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest)
  • Write blog posts, articles, and other content for the website
  • Assist with migration of current website to a new platform


Requirements:

  • Interest and activism in equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community
  • Crucial skills: highly organized, good at multitasking, a strong problem solver, and a willingness to learn new skills and abilities.
  • Experience managing social media platforms, specifically Instagram and Facebook
  • Knowledge of Google Docs, iMovie, Canva, Trello, are a plus
  • Proficient in MS Office Suite with excellent writing / communication skills
  • Interest in learning digital communications including social media management platforms and SEO skills

All inquiries should be addressed to Rosalind Lonsdale, Social and Community Manager, rosalind@gayswithkids.com

Change the World

Miami Tourism Board Releases Vacation Guide for LGBTQ Families

Miami isn't just about circuit parties! The LGBTQ Family-Friendly Miami Vacation Guide showcases many options for queer parents, too.

As gay people, it can be difficult to find vacation spots that are LGBTQ-friendly out of the normal travel "fruit loop" — New York, Mykonos, San Francisco; repeat. For those of us with kids, the Venn diagram of destinations that are both queer and kid friendly can seem practically non-existent.

Fortunately, that's starting to change as the tourism industry realizes that LGBTQ families are a growing segment of vacationers. One city to quickly pick up on this trend is Miami. While the gays have long flocked to Miami for party weekends, the city has also recently noticed an uptick in the number of LGBTQ visitors who are parents. In response, Miami's tourism board release a guide, LGBTQ Family-Friendly Miami Vacation Guide, that includes loads of options for queer parents and their kids. Amid Miami's legendary circuit parties, it turns out, are tons of family friendly things to do — like the Museum of Science, an eco-adventure theme park, and other kid-focused events all year long.

Who knew?

"When I came onboard as Director of LGBTQ Marketing a little over a year ago, I found that our LGBTQ messaging was centered around our annual events," said Dan Rios, who works with the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. Massive parties like the White Party and Aqua Girl are a central part of the city's LGBTQ offerings, he said, but he was also worried the city was "developing a reputation solely as a party destination. "I want to diversify that message to highlight everything else that Greater Miami has to offer."

Hence the city's family-friendly guide that includes offerings within "art and culture, dining, beaches, fitness," Dan said. "We have unique and amazing family attractions that we had been promoting to our general audiences for decades. I saw this as an opportunity; an opportunity to introduce our attractions to LGBTQ families, and an opportunity to further promote our attractions -- it was a win-win."

Dan said the Bureau is also in the midst of a campaign that will prominently feature LGBTQ parents within different travel destinations throughout the city, which will be featured throughout both LGBTQ and mainstream websites, publications and advertising.

We applaud the effort to reach out to LGBTQ families, and hope more cities follow Miami's lead! Be sure to check out the guide here.

Gay Dad Life

Gong Hei Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

As we usher in the year of rat, we asked some of our dads how they honor this special time.

Today we're celebrating, alongside our families, the Chinese New Year! As we usher in the year of rat, we asked some of our dads how they honor this special time, what they do to celebrate, and how they're instilling these traditions in their kids. Here are some of their responses.

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News

Indiana Court Says Couples Using Sperm Donors​ Can Both Be Listed on Birth Certificate — But Ruling Excludes Male Couples

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the case, a major victory for LGBTQ parents — but the Attorney General may appeal to the Supreme Court.

On Friday, a US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling from a lower court that said that both parents in a same-sex relationship are entitled to be listed on the birth certificate — previously, the state of Indiana had required the non-biological parent within a same-sex relationship using assisted reproductive technologies to adopt their child after the birth in order to get her or his name listed on the birth certificate, a lengthy and expensive process not required of straight couples in the same situation.

It's a double standard LGBTQ parents have long been subjected to in many states across the country. So this represent a major win. As reported by CNN, this ruling "takes a lot of weight off" the shoulders of LGBTQ parents, said Karen Celestino-Horseman, a lawyer representing one of the couples in the case. "They've been living as families and wondering if this was going to tear them apart."

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals deliberated the case, according to CNN, for more than two and a half years, which is one of the longest in the court's history.

However, because all the plaintiffs in the case involved female same-sex couples using sperm donors, the ruling left open the similar question of parenting rights with respect to male couples. Indiana's Attorney General, moreover, may also appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

We'll be following the case closely and be sure to keep you up to date. For more on this recent decision, read CNN's article here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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