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!!

Show Comments ()
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.

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Entertainment

First Gay Dads Via Surrogacy in the U.K. Separate as One Plans New Family with Daughter's Ex-Boyfriend

Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow first became known in the UK for being the first gay couple to become dads via surrogacy.

Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow first made headlines in 1999 when they became the first gay couple to become dads via surrogacy in the U.K. They did so again after they announced their separation — and when Barrie revealed he's dating his daughter's bisexual ex-boyfriend, the 25-year-old Scott Hutchinson.

And now the new couple are sending shockwaves through queer media by announcing the two hope to have twins via surrogacy in the near future.

According to Out Magazine, Scott not only dated Barrie's daughter, Saffron, but also worked as his assistant. Despite the age difference and potential for family drama, the pair fell in love. The couple still share a home with Barrie's ex, Tony — and their daughter Saffron.

Barrie told The Sun that the couple also hope to have twin daughters via surrogacy in the near future — and is revealing it now because he doesn't "want there to be any secrets and I want to get any negativity out of the way before our babies arrive." Barrie's ex, Tony, is reportedly onboard with this arrangement — he's even agreed to serve as the future twins' godfather.

Out Magazine further reported that Barrie and Scott each hope to fertilize an egg, and hope to conduct the insemination with their surrogate within the next three weeks. Of course, who are we to judge, assuming all adults involved are consenting and on board with this unconventional turn of events (though comment from the daughter Saffron is notably absent in the interviews). But that didn't stop Out Magazine from ending their reporting with just a wee touch of gay shade... If one of their future daughters "has a cute boyfriend one day," they write. "Who knows!"

What to Buy

Shop with a Purpose with Our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Want to find amazing gift ideas while *also* supporting LGBTQ-owned and allied businesses? Look no further than our 2019 holiday gift guide!

'Tis the season to show loved ones you care. And what better way to show you care, by also supported our LGBTQ+ community and allies whilst doing it! Shop (LGBTQ+) smart with these great suggestions below.

Keep reading... Show less
Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Newly Out Gay Dad Feels 'Demoted' After Divorce

Cameron Call showed up to his first family Thanksgiving since coming out and getting a divorce — and struggles to find himself "stuck with the singles."

Cameron Call, who came out in summer 2019, has generously agreed to chronicle his coming out journey for Gays With Kids over the next several months — the highs, lows and everything in between. Read his first article here.

Denial is an interesting thing. It's easy to think you're potentially above it, avoiding it, assume it doesn't apply to you because you'd NEVER do that, or maybe you're just simply avoiding it altogether. After finally coming out, I liked to think that I was done denying anything from now on. But unfortunately that's not the case.

And this fact became very clear to me over Thanksgiving.

Keep reading... Show less
Resources

New Report Details the 'Price of Parenthood' for LGBTQ People

A new report by the Family Equality Council takes a deep dive into the current state of cost for becoming a parent as an LGBTQ person

Parenthood is expensive. But parenthood while queer is still prohibitively costly for so many segments of the LGBTQ community interested in pursuing a family, according to a new repot by the Family Equality Council, titled, "Building LGBTQ+ Families: The Price of Parenthood."

Among the more interesting findings was this one: the cost of family planning is relatively similar for all LGBTQ people, regardless of income level. This shows "that the desire to have children exists regardless of financial security," the report's authors conclude.

Research for the report was conducted through an online survey of 500 LGBTQ adults over the age of 18, and was conducted between July 11-18, 2018. For comparison, the survey also included 1,004 adults who did not identify as LGBTQ.

Other interesting findings of the report include:

  • 29% of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents.
  • 33% of black LGBTQ+ respondents, 32% of female-identified LGBTQ+ respondents, and 31% of trans/gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ respondents reported annual household incomes below $25,000.
  • Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, and error associated with question-wording and response options.29% of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents.
  • 33% of black LGBTQ+ respondents, 32% of female-identified LGBTQ+ respondents, and 31% of trans/gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ respondents reported annual household incomes below $25,000.
  • Regardless of annual household income, 45-53% of LGBTQ+ millennials are planning to become parents for the first time or add another child to their family. Those making less than $25,000 a year are considering becoming parents at very similar rates as those making over $100,000.
  • Data from the Family Building Survey reveals that LGBTQ+ households making over $100,000 annually are considering the full range of paths to parenthood, from surrogacy and private adoption to foster care and IVF. The most popular options under consideration in this income bracket are private adoption (74% are considering), foster care (42%), and IVF or reciprocal IVF (21%). At the other end of the economic spectrum, for LGBTQ+ individuals in households making less than $25,000 annually, the most commonly considered paths to parenthood are intercourse (35% are considering), foster care (30%), and adoption (23%).

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.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse