Gay Dad Family Stories

Two Surrogates, Three Babies, and One Very Full House

With the help of two surrogates, these gay dads welcomed three babies into their lives in the span of two weeks

Many of us measure our lives in BC and AC stages: Before Children and After Children. And although older kids can be just as much work, not much can prepare you for the immediate upheaval of a baby. Now, multiple that by three… In Bjarke Damm and Lars Hansen's case, that's what happened. With the help of two surrogates, they became dads in the space of two weeks to three babies. After 17 years together, their family grew from two to five in a matter of days. Talk about upheaval! And how are the dads managing? Let's find out.


Bjarke and Lars

Danish dads Lars and Bjarke met in 2001 at a nightclub they both used to frequent. "All of a sudden he was there, standing alone with a beer in hand, and somehow I just knew instantly that he was the one," remembers Bjarke. This moment was the beginning of a wonderful love story. "We have been together ever since, and are still very much in love with each other."

Lars and Bjarke were married in May 2007, and spent the next 10 years fulfilling so many of their dreams such as traveling, establishing successful careers (Lars is a GP medical doctor and Bjarke is a PHD psychotherapist), hiking and camping in the wilderness, and spending lots of time with loved ones as well as raising their beloved pup, Joey. But children was always a dream that never strayed too far from the husbands' thoughts.

Bjarke with Nora, Anna and Lili, June 2018

For several year, Lars and Bjarke had considered surrogacy but they knew it wasn't a route without hurdles. As commercial surrogacy isn't legal in Denmark, they knew they'd have to go abroad, and then bring their child back into Denmark. This was going to be a huge issue as Denmark doesn't recognize the parents of surrogate children as the legal parents. "We had heard some scary stories of couples who were basically trapped in a foreign country with a newborn child," said Lars. "This, combined with the excessive costs involved, kept us hesitant about the whole thing, even though we longed so much to create our family."

With these seemingly insurmountable hurdles, Lars and Bjarke almost gave up hope. But just as they were ready to give up, they were approached by two very important women in their lives: Bjarke's sister and another close female friend, Danielle, who both offered to carry their children.

"Two wonderful women offered their help, we felt so lucky and so blessed," said Bjarke. Since Bjarke's sister and their friend were both Danes, the children would automatically become Danish citizens as well. The men were incredibly humbled by their loved ones' willingness to help them become dads and decided to continue their journey with both women.

Bjarke and Lars with their daughters, March 2018

Bjarke, Lars and their two surrogates all traveled to the US for the egg donation and transfers. In June 2017, Bjarke's sister became pregnant, and a month later Danielle became pregnant. A few weeks later, they discovered Danielle's egg had split and she was carrying identical twins. Everyone was thrilled!

In late January 2018, Anna was born, and in early February Lili and Nora joined their family. Since then, the dads' lives have been dramatically altered.

"The arrival of the girls has changed our life in a very fundamental way," explained Bjarke. "I have now been a stay-at-home dad for almost 10 months, without doing anything but taking care of the girls. But the funny thing is that it feels so right just staying at home." Before their daughters, Bjarke says he constantly thought about work, even in his free time. Now, his priority is his new role as "Far" - Danish for dad – and the experience has been liberating. "I have learned that there is something here that is so much more important – and in a way it sets me free."

Bjarke with his daughters

That isn't to say everything has been smooth sailing – they are dads to triplets after all! "There has been a couple of times where it has been so hard taking care of three infants at the same time, that we almost collapsed," said Bjarke, but somehow they've both found the strength to work through the rough patches. "These hard times have brought Lars and I even closer together, because sharing the responsibility of raising our three girls, we really have to rely on each other."

Due to Danish law, the dads are still not the legal parents of each others' biological children. In Denmark, the birth mother has to wait two-and-a-half years until she can pursue adoption. This means that Bjarke's sister and Danielle are still technically considered the biological mothers of the children, even though they had egg donation. (Danish law considers the woman who gives birth as the legal mother.) Lars and Bjarke have full custody of the children so this doesn't affect their day-to-day life, but they're looking forward to the day Lars can adopt the twins (Bjarke's biological children) and Bjarke can adopt Anna (Lar's biological daughter).

Both Bjarke and Lars would tell any other gay man considering fatherhood through surrogacy to "go for it," but they would advise that if a female friend or family member offers to help, that both parties have to consider it thoroughly. "In our case, everything went according to plan," said Lars. "Both of the women didn't have any problems giving the children to us - since as they explained, they never felt like they were giving away their own children - they were giving them back to their parents. So this is really important!"

Further down the road, the family of five see themselves moving somewhere outside of Copenhagen and living in a smaller village closer to nature. This might include a temporary relocation to Greenland for a job opportunity for Lars, and for the family to explore the wild nature of the northernmost country in the world.

Whatever the future has in store for these dads, they feel immensely fortunate for those who helped and supported their dream of fatherhood. "We are surrounded by love, and without the two women helping us create the family, we'd always wanted - we probably wouldn't have had any children today. Because at the time they offered, we basically had given up hope. So this is really a miracle!!

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In the latest "Broadway Husbands" vlog, Bret and Stephen discuss the rather unconventional way in which they found their surrogate: through a Facebook group.

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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Demolition Daddies: These Gay Dads Recently Appeared on House Hunters Renovation

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"I'm really not sure what our lives were like before having our son," pondered Matt. "I remember always doing stuff, but I have no idea how I wasted all that personal time that I find so precious now. I took so many showers without someone trying to pull all the towels down to make a bed on the bathroom floor. It must have been nice, but also wasn't as memorable."

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.

Gay Dad Life

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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