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7 Things Parents Wished They'd Known About Surrogacy Before Starting the Process

Circle Surrogacy asked parents through surrogacy what they wished they'd known about the process before beginning. Here's their (very honest) feedback

If you're considering surrogacy, chances are you've started your research: reviewing agencies, understanding costs, and even speaking to friends who have become parents through the surrogacy process.

No matter how much research you do, you will still encounter surprise moments along your journey. To help prepare yourself as much as possible for what's to come (as best you can!) Circle Surrogacy spoke with parents through their surrogacy program and asked them: "What do you wish someone had told you about surrogacy?"

Here are 7 (very honest) things parents through surrogacy wished someone told them about the process:

​#1. Put yourself out there emotionally.

As an intended parent, you determine your comfort level with the depth of relationship you have with your surrogate and egg donor. Martin shared with us, "I wish someone had told me the importance and positivity of having an open process, open donor and open surrogate relationships. These meetings are so beautiful and important to the kids." New dad Byron seconds that, "An open relationship with your egg donor and surrogate is extremely rewarding and amazing in times of celebration." However, he also adds, "But it can be tough in times of struggle managing and understanding 4 sets of emotions rather than just 2." Still, putting yourself out there is emotionally rewarding, and deepens your relationship with the women with whom you work.

#2. Focus on one thing at a time.

The old saying, "It's not a sprint, it's a marathon" should be turned on its head for surrogacy. Because while the surrogacy process is a marathon, thinking about it that way can feel very daunting. It helps to focus on the individual sprints and milestones, while keeping your eye on the finish line – your baby! Having smaller milestones to achieve and celebrate will help you stay in the moment and keep perspective. "Surrogacy seemed so unattainable at first," parent Siobhan told us, "but it is manageable by taking everything one step at a time."

#3. You Won't Feel Happy/Overjoyed/Excited Every Minute of Your Journey.

It's okay to have a range of emotions during your surrogacy journey. Of course you'll feel joy and excitement (you're having a baby!) However, the chances that you'll also feel frustrated, disappointed or anxious at certain times are pretty high. And guess what? That's okay. (Not only is it okay, it's NORMAL.) "Talk, talk and talk some more to your partner, good friend or agency support person," Siobhan shared with us. "Don't bottle up your emotions!" If you're feeling it, SHARE IT. Even if everyone might not like what you have to say. Remember: you're not alone on your journey!

#4. You may experience financial stress.

It's no secret that you've investing quite a bit financially on a surrogacy journey. "While we were told about financials, it took some time for us to fully understand how you as intended parents bear the ultimate financial responsibility for whatever happens during your process," Johan, a parent from Norway shares. "And if financial uncertainties stress you, you should prepare yourself for this. Some things might not go as you hoped or planned for…this could mean that your costs could be higher than those estimated." It's wise to build in a cushion into your costs for anything unexpected that might come your way.

#5. There is SO MUCH paperwork.

"I wish someone had told us about the crazy amount of paperwork and notarizations!" parent Stefan says. Surrogacy does require quite a bit of paperwork, however all of this paperwork is in place to protect you as intended parents, and establish the guidelines of your relationship and contract with your surrogate and egg donor, as well as ensure a smooth return home with your baby. Getting the paperwork in place upfront allows for a smooth journey and for you to be fully engaged emotionally at every step. Also? Your agency may reference this paperwork throughout your journey – be sure to keep it in a safe, handy place!

#6. Your journey will not be perfect.

Just like very few traditional pregnancies are perfect, surrogacy journeys are the same way. Your vision of how the journey will go may not happen the way you intended: Delayed egg retrievals. Flight cancellations. Additional transfers. For me, our journey was 5 years long, with 2 surrogates, and many disappointments along the way. Not exactly how I pictured us building our family. But we endured, and we had tremendous agency support from Circle. In the end, we have an amazing little boy, who made the five years leading up until that point literally disappear. Don't expect perfection, be flexible, and accept that you have very little control.

#7. Navigating the emotional waters of surrogacy is much easier with an experienced agency.

Larger agencies, such as Circle Surrogacy, have social work support and lawyers in-house who will support parents at each milestone. Plus, their team is made up of former surrogates, egg donors and intended parents – people who have been through the surrogacy process – who are happy to share their experiences and answer any questions.

Our advice: expect the unexpected and hold on tight for the best ride of your life! You WILL get there.

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Learn How These Dads Used Social Media to Find Their Surrogate

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In this, the Broadway Husbands' sixth video, Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna discuss the rather unprecedented process they went through to find their surrogate. The lucky couple also chat about winning an "Intended Parents" competition, which granted them the free services of a surrogacy agency who is now helping guide them (and their new surrogate!) on their journey.

In the first video below, get caught up to speed with the dads-to-be. Plus: there's bonus footage! Ever wondered about the financial side of their journey? In the second video, Bret and Stephen talk candidly about how they're managing to afford their dream of fatherhood.

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"I think my water broke. No wait, it definitely broke," our surrogate tells me.

"Your water broke?" I replied helpfully. "Should we head to the hospital?"

"Um, yeah. Get in the car and drive. I'll meet you at the hospital."

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Matt DeLeva and fiancé Joseph Littlefield met in 2014 at a Pride event at the San Diego Zoo, and have a 2-year-old son Theo through adoption. For this Los Angeles-based couple, and like many others, becoming dads was an emotional rollercoaster. Before being matched with Theo's birth family, they had two other connections with birth moms that didn't work out. "Each was upsetting," said Matt. "When you talk to birth mothers, you start to get excited and mentally plan your future. When it doesn't work out, it feels like a loss."

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Terrell and Jarius need your help. Earlier this week they were made aware of an act of discrimination against a male transgender student at Johnson High School in Gainesville, Georgia

"Dex Frier was elected by the student body to run for prom king but is now facing backlash from the school's administration," shared the dads via their Instagram. "The school's Superintendent is forcing Dex to either run as prom queen or not run at all. This is very unjust and does NOT reflect the opinion of the parents nor the students."

Watch their video below:

Dex, 17, who came out identifying as male in his sophomore year, spoke with Gainsville Times about being nominated by the student body. "Frier said he kept his emotions in check while at school, but 'the moment I got home, I immediately started crying. I've never been shown so much support before,' Frier added."

He was later informed by school officials that his name had been withdrawn and he could only run in the prom queen ballot.

Sadly, there have been rival petitions started in support of Dex's nomination being withdrawn, and he's received backlash from those who believe he shouldn't be able to run.

Although Terrell and Jarius do not know Dex personally, they were made aware of what was happening through Jarius co-worker who is a parent at the school. "He's such a brave kid and is standing firm in his beliefs, and we should support him," said Jarius.

These dads are asking all of us to take a minute and sign this petition and share with friends and family, or anyone you think could help.

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Gay Single Dads Defend Andy Cohen's Right to Be on Grindr

After the Internet rushed to judge Andy Cohen for signing onto Grindr a couple of weeks after welcoming his newborn son home, fellow single gay dads rushed to his defense.

Last week, we wrote a post about reports that "What What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen had been "spotted" on gay dating app Grindr several weeks after welcoming a newborn into his home. This has some of his followers on social media all worked up"

"Get off Grindr and start being a dad," said one follower who appeared to think single parents must take a vow of celibacy the minute they start changing diapers. "You're sad, that kid has no chance," said another.

Well, suffice it to say that this judgment from people who are presumably not single gay dads of Andy Cohen certainly struck a nerve with our gay dad audience! We received well over 100 comments on this post on Facebook, the vast majority of them coming to Cohen's defense. We caught up with two fellow single gay dads to find out why the story struck a nerve.

"We don't have to live like monks!"

One of the most liked comments on our piece came from Owen Lonzar, who wrote the following:

"I have always been a good single father to my biological son who came to live with me when he was 7 years old. He is now 25 years old and we are very close. I used Grindr and dated while he lived with me. I never had anyone sleep over and he certainly never saw some man he didn't know hanging around my home. Single parents have to date responsibly and with sensitivity to their child but that doesn't mean they have to live like monks!"

We asked Cohen to elaborate a bit more on why the backlash against Cohen bothered him. He had the sense, he said, that much of the criticism against LGBTQ parents comes from gay men without children. "Gay men without kids have a lot to say," he said. "And all of it is ignorant, because they have no idea what it means to actually be a father." He said he was particularly disappointed in gay critics, given our shared history of discrimination. "You would think with all the prejudice we have faced that gay men would be less judgmental themselves," he said.

"Are we supposed to be celibate?"

Another commenter, Josue Sebastian Dones-Figueroa, who is a divorced father of five, questioned what Cohen's critics would prefer him do. "So what, parents are supposed to become celibate because they have kids?" he asked.

We followed up with Josue to ask him to elaborate a bit more: "The idea that just because he is a dad that he would need to stop being a man," he said, questioning why Cohen should have to put his life hold and stop dating, or having sex, just because he's now a father. "If the child is cared for loved and not neglected what is the problem? Life goes on right?"


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