Gay Dad Life

Trials With Twins: Traveling Edition

We're starting a new series about the highs, the lows, and the downright hilarious moments parents find themselves in while raising twins. With the number of gay, bi, and trans dads raising twins on the rise, we're sure many in our community will be able to relate. First up! Ryan Sirois Heller and Chris Heller share their experience of flying, infant twins in tow.


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We travel often. In the 6.5 months since the twins birth, they've been on 5 round-trip flights with another coming in a few weeks. Chris and I have always been big travelers, so we had a great system for getting through the airport quickly and efficiently with little to no baggage. Alas, all that changes with kids - especially two. Nothing could have prepared us for traveling with two babies — and it's been a learning process every time.

The two experienced husband travelers are now two hustling dads seen shlepping through airports with the following items:
- 2 car seats
- 2 car seat bases
- 1 stroller
- 2 personal backpacks with laptops, etc.
- 1 baby bag stuffed to the max
- 4 stuffed animals on hand
- 2 jackets
- 2 blankets
- oh, and, 2 babies
All the above totaling an immeasurable weight that would make any Crossfit junkie blush.

So what we've learned about traveling with two babies can be said in one word: downsize. You generally don't need all the crap you think you'll need, so check in as much stuff possible at the ticket counter, or have one carry on suitcase to hold everything — including your personal items.

The worst moment by far is the security gate — teamwork is key here! I usually hold both babies and walk us through the metal detector while Chris puts everything on the conveyer, flips over both car seats (because apparently you have to do that), takes care of the stroller and does the dirty work. This may seem easy, but it's a science - especially when the twins are passed out.

We've had some crazy, albeit fun, experiences traveling with Connor and Olivia. There is nothing like the wide-eyed joy your kids get from seeing the world.

All that said, best of luck when you realize BOTH babies just had massive diarrhea and the flight is boarding!

Are you a dad of twins and have your own double trouble story? Share it with us and be featured! Email dads@gayswithkids.com.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

This Couple of 27 Years Learned to Dream Big — and Became Dads to Twins

When Jamie and Kenny first met in 1992, marriage and fatherhood seemed laughable. But as the years progressed, so did their dreams.

Jamie and Kenny have been all over the world. To be precise, they have traveled to 66 countries. So far, they hasten to add. And they used to live in London. But in their own minds, they are still two small-town country boys from Louisiana.

Their story together started in 1992, when both men were young students (Jamie was born in 1974, Kenny is just six months older) from similar backgrounds at the same university in Louisiana. A mutual friend introduced them at a cafeteria, and they hit it off.

They hailed from very small and very religious communities that disapproved of homosexuality. Without any positive role models, Jamie and Kenny had internalized those negative views: The way they looked at their own lives, they assumed they would lead lives of ridicule, be unwilling to commit to one partner, would contract HIV and soon after die of AIDS.

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How These Gay Dads Prepared for Twins

Marc and Steve, who are expecting twins girls later this year, tell us how they've prepared to grow their family

Guest post by Marc and Steve

As mentioned in our previous blog it was a shock to find out that we will be expecting twins later on this year. It had taken some getting used to idea but now we are counting down the last few months before we can welcome our twin girls into the family.

Both Marc and I knew we always wanted to have more than one child, the main reason for this was so our first (Spencer) always had some company, someone to play with and so he never felt like he was alone. From around the age of three Spencer has been asking about having a sibling, we knew this day would come as inevitably he was going to have friends who had siblings, so at some point he was going to question why he was an only child. We always said we wanted to have as small of an age gap as possible but unfortunately this did not happen for various reasons. Not that it makes that much difference to us now, in fact we believe it has worked out better this way, with Spencer being that little bit older and more independent he can be a lot more involved with the care of his sisters. He is already telling us that he will help us by getting them nappies and wipes.

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5 Questions for Gay Dads Considering Twins in Their Surrogacy Journey

To twin or not to twin: it's a question every gay dad contemplating surrogacy will have to face at some point.

Gay dads-to-be who are creating embryos for surrogacy have a big decision to make: who will be the bio dad? Some dads would BOTH like to be bio dads, and express an interest in having twins, where one baby is biologically related to each dad. The decision to do a Multiple Embryo Transfer (MET) which would possibly lead to a twin pregnancy is a big one, with much to consider in addition to bringing home two bundles of joy from the hospital.

Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation speaks with gay intended parents every day about the options they have to grow their families, including embarking on a twin journey.

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself if you're considering a twin pregnancy:

1. Am I ready for my surrogacy journey to cost more?

With an average singleton surrogacy journey costing anywhere between $110,000 and $120,000 (excluding IVF), intended parents should prepare for additional fees associated with a twin pregnancy. First, your surrogate will be paid additional compensation to carry twins. Second, the maternity expenses are typically twice as high with a twin pregnancy, as high risk OBGYNs are often involved. There can also be risks to the babies with a twin pregnancy. We have found that twins can be born one month early, with roughly half of twins needing to spend time in the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit). At Circle, we have seen the average cost in the NICU approach $100,000.

2. Have I spoken to my IVF Doctor?

Your IVF clinic is your best resource for understanding what it means to do a multiple embryo transfer and try and for twins. There are some IVF clinics that will allow any IPs that would like to try for twins to transfer 2 embryos, as long as the IPs and surrogate fully understand the risks. However, other clinics will not transfer 2 embryos unless there's a medical reason. You should consult your IVF doctor.

3. Have I discussed twins with my surrogacy agency?

It's important to discuss a twin pregnancy with your agency who will be supporting you and your surrogate throughout your journey. Circle Surrogacy, for example, would support Intended Parents on a twin journey if they make an informed decision to have a twin pregnancy; and Circle would ensure the Intended Parents fully understood the risks associated with transferring two embryos. Considerations include:

  1. A twin pregnancy provides risks to the surrogate and to the babies.
  2. The maternity expenses are typically twice as high with a twin pregnancy, as high risk OBGYNs may be involved.
  3. There are also risks for the children. On average, we find that twins are born one month early, roughly half of twins end up in the NICU and, in our experience, incurring NICU fees.
  4. Matching Intended Parents who want twins may take longer, as many surrogates are either not medically approved to carry twins or are unwilling.
  5. The overall cost of the journey will be greater as complications often occur, most deliveries are via c-section and surrogates often end up on bedrest.

4. Am I ready to care for two babies?

Caring for one baby can feel overwhelming at first, so caring for TWO babies (double the feedings and diapers!) may require additional help and support. You should be prepared to speak to your IVF clinic and agency about your plan for caring for twins once they arrive.

5. Am I open to hearing about doing a 'dual journey' instead of a twin pregnancy?

An option to doing a twin pregnancy is doing what is called a dual journey: when two surrogates are pregnant at the same time with singletons with staggered due dates. Scott Buckley, VP of Client Services at Circle Surrogacy, recommends dual journeys – or sibling journeys – as options to a twin pregnancy: "With a dual journey or sibling journey, there are fewer expenses because there are fewer risks with singleton pregnancies and births. Intended Parents will receive a discount on agency fees for a second journey. Plus, when parents decide to do a sibling journey and work with the same surrogate, their discount is doubled. Essentially, you grow your family with two babies without the risk of a multiples pregnancy."

If you're considering growing your family with twins, the first step is to talk with your IVF clinic, and see what your doctor recommends. From there, speaking with your surrogacy agency will help you understand what a twin pregnancy means for costs and fees, as well as for matching times and surrogate availability. There are a few options to have two bio dads in your family, you just need to find the one that works best for you.

What to Buy

A Gift Guide for LGBTQ Inclusive Children's Books

Need some ideas for good LGBTQ-inclusive children's books? Look no further than our gift guide!

Every year we see more books released that feature our families, and we're here for it! We're especially excited for the day when diverse and LGBTQ+ inclusive books are less of "the odd one out" and rather considered part of every kids' everyday literacy.

To help us reach that day, we need to keep supporting our community and allies who write these stories. So here's a list of some of the great books that need to be in your library, and gifts to the other kids in your lives.

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Gay Dad Life

Broadway Performer's Surrogacy Journey Briefly Sidetracked — for One Very 'Wicked' Reason

"Broadway Husbands" Stephen and Bret explain the exciting reasons they had to hit pause on their surrogacy journey — but don't worry, they're back on track!

In the latest video of the Broadway Husbands sharing their path to fatherhood, Stephen and Bret explain their hiatus for the past 4 months. The couple have big news to share including a relocation, a job announcement, and the fact that they're getting ready to restart their journey (which they had to take a brief pause from since September).

Watch their video to find out their latest news.

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These Gay Dads Lost Everything After Hurricane Dorian — Except Hope

The couple, who live in "Hope Town" in the Bahamas, lost everything after suffering a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian this past summer.

Max Bethel-Jones, 52, had traveled to more than 120 countries over the last 30 years working with the United Nations, but had never been to the Bahamas — in 2015, he decided to apply for a private teaching job as a special needs teacher in Freeport on the island of Grand Bahama.

Just weeks after his arrival, he'd get a whole lot more than another pin in his map of visited countries when he attended a social event at Freeport Rugby. "My object was to ogle the local male talent but several women had other ideas," he said. One woman was particularly insistent, he said, but after a couple of drinks she got the hint that he batted for the other rugby team. "She promptly told me there was someone I should meet."

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News

Gay Dads Told One Must Identify as 'Mother' to Enroll in Daycare

The Israeli gay dads told one must identify as mother — like a "normal couple" — in order to receive financial assistance for daycare.

Israeli dads Guy Sadak Shoham and Chai Aviv Shoham were trying to enroll their two-year-old twins in daycare when they were told by a government official that one would need to identify as the "mother" in order to be cleared.

According to Out Magazine, the couple was attempting to apply for financial aid to help pay for the costs of preschool when a government bureaucrat called them to discuss their eligibility.

"I understand that you are both fathers and understand that you both run a shared household, but there is always the one who is more dominant, who is more the mother," the government said, according to an interview on the Israel site Ynet (translated by Out Magazine). "I am just asking for a written statement in your hand which of you is the mother. From the point of view of the work, which works less than the father. Like a normal couple."

The official, apparently, said she was beholden to rules set for in the Ministry of Economy.

"It is mostly sad and a little disturbing," one of the dads told Ynet. "These are concepts that we consider the past. We do not necessarily come up with allegations against this representative, she is ultimately subject to the guidelines and as she said, they are the state. It is also sad that the state's definition of a mother is someone who works less and is at home with the children, and that we must choose which of us meets that definition."

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, fortunately, issued an apology following the incident, and promised to update its protocols. "We will emphasize that the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs practices explicitly treat all types of families and grant equal rights to all," the ministry wrote in a statement, an apology that was called "insufficient" by Ohad Hizki, the director-general of the National LGBT Task Force.

"The Ministry of Labor and Welfare must sharpen its procedures immediately to prevent recurrence of cases of this kind, as other public organizations have been able to do," he said.

Read more about this story on Out Magazine.

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