Gay Dad Life

These Sisters Stepped Up to Help This Couple Become Dads

Nicholas and William Hart met in 2009 at college in Grand Forks, North Dakota. They knew they had something special and their relationship progressed quickly. After only a few months of dating, they moved in together. Both knew that children were part of their future and they considered surrogacy and adoption as possible routes for them to become dads. However, when they began discussing possible paths to fatherhood, they both realized that being genetically related to their children was important to them. They decided to first explore surrogacy, and then possibly adoption for any future children.

After Nicholas and William were married in 2011, they each approached their sisters to see if they were willing to donate their eggs in order to produce two two children genetically related to both dads. William asked his sister, Rebecca, and Nicholas asked his sister, Becky. If their sisters agreed, the plan was to find a willing surrogate to carry the embryos. Both Becky and Rebecca agreed, but unfortunately, that was the easiest step of their journey. It was after this relatively easy beginning that Nicholas and William began to encounter roadblocks and hurdles along their 4 year journey to parenthood.


The initial concern was expense. The associated price tag with surrogacy is a mountain of a roadblock in and of itself. At first, the couple approached a friend to be their gestational carrier, and she agreed. However, the couple later learned that, in order to serve as a gestational carrier, our clinic required that the surrogate already have carried a healthy pregnancy to term. Nicholas and William began to worry. They had not factored in the additional expense of paying a surrogate through an agency.

Luckily for the men, Danielle, Nicholas' sister, offered to be the gestational surrogate as she'd already had two children of her own. This was the ideal situation for Danielle as she did not think she or her husband was entirely comfortable having a child genetically related to her, but she loved being pregnant, and wanted to help her brother and his husband realize their dream.

Before any egg retrieval or implantation could occur, they all had to undergo extensive genetic testing, obtain a Gestational Carrier Agreement that was approved and worked on by two separate law firms – one representing Nicholas and William, and the other representing Danielle as the carrier - and psychological evaluations as part of the screening process. This was all before the surrogacy clinic would work with them.

"At the time we felt since it was all family, this was all somewhat unneeded, especially given the added expense," said William, "We later realized the importance of some of the questions and situations we were asked to process."

They also had to buy a secondary health insurance plan to cover Danielle as their own refused to cover anything related to a surrogate pregnancy.

After all paperwork was drawn up and approved by all parties, they were able to complete the egg retrievals and create embryos.

Enter their second roadblock: when it came time for the egg retrieval, the couple found out that William's sister, Rebecca, could not donate any eggs due to some complications. This meant the couple would be unable to move forward with Rebecca as an egg donor.

"This was a difficult time for us since our initial hope was that we would have embryos from both couples - Nick with Willie's sister, Rebecca and also Willie with Nick's sister Becky." explained Nicholas. "We had wanted to carry one baby from each pair at the same time so that even though the babies wouldn't share matching genetic material, they would still share the same womb."

However, they decided to carry on and had a successful transfer of two embryos. One of the two embryos did not develop. The other, after resulting in pregnancy, ended in miscarriage at the 14 week mark. The miscarriage was emotionally hard on everyone involved, made even more difficult after Danielle had to undergo a surgical procedure often performed after a first-trimester miscarriage.

"After surgery, and all the emotions that went with that, I did have second thoughts about trying again," shared Danielle. "I felt like I had failed Nick and Willie. But I also knew that they desperately wanted to be dads and that I wanted to do this for them."

So Danielle and her husband, Kyle, who she says was incredibly supportive throughout the entire process, sat down and talked. They spoke to Danielle and Nicholas' parents, and then they spoke to Nicholas and William. Together, they all decided to try again.

Danielle quickly became pregnant for the second time and everything seemed to go perfectly. After the 23rd week, the dads confirmed they were having a baby girl. And during a routine appointment on October 24, Danielle found out that she was starting to dilate. The dads rushed to Danielle's side and their daughter, ElleLouise Irene, was born at 4:14 a.m. on October 25, 2017.

"We had our whole team in the room for the labor and delivery: Nick, Willie, Danielle, Kyle, and Becky," said William. "It was the most beautiful experience of our lives!"

As a loving parent of two kids, Danielle made conscientious decisions to make sure she didn't form a maternal attachment to the child.

"It was important to me to really work on just being an aunt even though she was growing inside me," said Danielle. "I also wanted to make sure that the baby went straight to Nick and Willie after birth."

The dads held their beautiful baby girl just moments after she was born.

The next step was to have ElleLouise legally recognized as Nicholas and William's daughter, rather than Danielle's. The petition had already been drawn up prior to the birth, ready to present to a judge. This was to avoid the dads having to adopt their daughter from Danielle if she was recognized as the mother.

"We ended up having no issues legally and our law firm was fantastic in representing our groundbreaking case in North Dakota," explained Nicholas.

To Danielle and Becky, the new dads are eternally grateful, and to their parents and Danielle's husband Kyle, who was a tower of support throughout the entire process, they cannot thank them enough.

One of the strangest parts of the process was for Danielle, explaining her pregnancy to the people at church.

"They knew I was pregnant and of course assumed we were having another one," shared Danielle. "We are Catholic so some people had a strange reaction when I told them that I was having a baby for my brother. I usually just left it at that."

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Gay Dad Life

The Suburban Gay Dad

Are you intimidated by the suburbs? This gay dad was — but then he moved there.

In a recent article for Yahoo! Lifestyle, Steve Jacobs says the thought of living in the suburbs as a gay dad "intimidated" him. But when he started fantasizing about garages, he began to question that notion. Any apprehension he had soon evaporated, he said, one winter morning while trying to navigate the snowy streets of New York City with a stroller.

While "pushing the stroller through snow banks and pools of slush with snowflakes stinging our faces," he wrote, "a vision came to me: I pictured us walking into a garage, hopping into a car, and arriving at a diner with 10 times less drama. This image planted the seed of moving to the 'burbs that I couldn't shake."

Soon, the family of four found a house in a town a half hour outside the city. "It had grass and a beautiful yard for our spirited kiddos. The schools were good. There were even good restaurants. The only red flag: Census data estimated only 0.1 percent of the population was gay male."

There were some "growing pains" while trying to make friends in this environment. "When we attended our first dinner party, within minutes the hostess went to the kitchen and the other wives followed her, while the husbands settled into the living room. Ira and I froze, looking at each other. In the city, our straight friends hadn't separated out like this for the evening. Should we stay with the dudes, exert our masculinity, and blow off the mom we liked? Or does one of us go with the wives and accept the personal branding that comes with that? We did a quick rock paper scissors in the foyer. Ira went with the wives."

But ultimately, "being a parent defined me more than I ever imagined it would," he wrote, and he settled in nicely to his new suburban life.

Have you had a similar adjustment, from city life to the suburbs? Tell us about it at dads@gayswithkids.com for an upcoming piece!

Gay Dad Life

"Fridays with Fitz": A New Kid's Book Based Upon the Son of These Two Dads

Tracey Wimperly, author of the new children's book, said she hopes to give a more honest portrayal of the role grandparents play in the lives of children.

Guest post Tracey Wimperly

I've recently written a children's picture book (aimed at 2-4 year olds) called "Fridays with Fitz: Fitz Goes to the Pool." Every Friday - when his two dads go to work - Fitz and his grandparents (my husband, Steve and I) head off on an adventure. Through the eyes of a curious and energetic 3 year old, even ordinary adventures, like riding the bus or foraging for fungus in the forest can be fun and magical.

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Gay Dad Life

8 Ways for Dads to Find Work/Life Balance

Finding work/life balance is hard enough... but can be even harder for gay dads.

Having kids is an amazing part of life, and it should be fun. Life does tend to get in the way sometimes, and one huge aspect of that is work. Striking that balance between work and home life is tough. If you both work it's even harder.

And if you're a gay couple, it can have it's own set of problems above and beyond the standard work-life issues that people face. Recently, the Harvard Business Review conducted a study that focused specifically on the experiences of same-sex couples who wanted to make moves towards a work/life balance.

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David and Ben Met on the Dance Floor — and Are Now Grooving Their Way Through Fatherhood

David and Ben, who became fathers with the help of Northwest Surrogacy Center, live in Melbourne with their daughter, Maia.

In 2003, while both studying at Reading University in the UK, Ben Suter and David Cocks met after locking eyes on the dance floor and then being introduced by a mutual friend. Ben, a meteorologist and Operations Manager, and David, an Assistant Principal, have been together ever since. They moved to Australia together in 2010, seeking a different life, and an overall better work-life balance. The chose Cairns in Queensland as their new home, between the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest, "taking life a bit easier," said David. The couple were also married in June 2016, back home in England.

While David always wanted kids, Ben took a little convincing. So they started their parenting journey with a dog, Titan, who quickly became like their first born. From there, Ben came around rather quickly.

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Single Gay Dad and the City

When Kyle decided to take his four kids, ages 6-11, to New York City on vacation, his friends thought he was crazy.

"You're crazy, Kyle."

"You can't be serious? A single dad taking four kids to the Big Apple? Think again."

"That's bold. There's no way I'd do that."

Those were a few of the responses I heard from my friends as I told them I was thinking of booking a trip to New York City with four kids, ages 11-6. My children's fall vacation from school was approaching and I wanted to get out of the house and explore. Was the Big Apple too much of an adventure?

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News

National's Pitcher Cites Wife's Two Moms as Reason for Declining White House Invite

"I think that's an important part of allyship," Doolittle said of his wife's two moms.

Sean Doolittle, pitcher for the Washington Nationals, declined an invitation to the White House after his team won the World Series this year. In an interview with the Washington Post, he listed his numerous reasons for staying home — and a main consideration, he revealed, was his wife's two moms.

"I want to show support for them. I think that's an important part of allyship, and I don't want to turn my back on them," Doolittle said during the interview.

Trump's treatment of a minority groups, generally, factored into his decision as well. "I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked or the way that he moves his hands? I can't get past that stuff."

Doolitttle clarified that his decision had little to do with policy disagreements with the White House. "There's a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we've done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the 'shithole countries.'"

He concluded by saying he respected his teammates decision to attend the White house ceremony. "I want people to know that I put thought into this, and at the end of the day, I just can't go."

Read more of the Washington Post interview here.

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New York Will Fight 'Repugnant' Trump Rule on Adoption, Says Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York promises legal action of the Trump administration moves ahead with plans to allow discrimination against LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents

Last week, the Trump administration announced plans to allow adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against prospective LGBTQ parents — but he may face a legal fight from (former) hometown. In a tweet, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said the proposed move "isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values,— it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home." If the proposal moves forward, he continued. "we'll take legal action to stop it.

Governor Cuomo's office followed up the tweet with a lengthier statement posted to their website:

Once again the Trump administration is attacking the hard-earned rights and protections of the LGBTQ community, this time proposing a new measure that would give foster care and adoption agencies license to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Trump's proposal isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values — it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home. If he moves forward with this rule, we'll take legal action to stop it.

No matter what happens in Washington, New York State is and will continue to be a beacon of equality in this country. Our Human Rights Law and adoption regulations expressly prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community, including when it comes to adoption. I encourage any LGBTQ New Yorker who feels they are a victim of this discrimination to contact the State Division of Human Rights for assistance.

Our message to the Trump administration is simple: there is no place for hate in New York or in our nation, and we will not allow this noxious proposal to stop LGBTQ New Yorkers from becoming parents or providing care to children in need.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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