Three years ago I did something not every surrogate is willing to do, I chose to match with gay parents to help them have a baby, and I did so purposefully. When I decided to become a surrogate the first time, nine years ago, it occurred to me that the profound desire to have a child transcended categories of sexuality, gender, ethnicity and cultures. The surrogacy matching process is a uniquely person process based on compatibility of many variables, but amongst these variables is a surrogate’s comfort level with alternative parents. Because I have chosen to share openly about being a surrogate I am asked many questions from curious people, and sooner or later the conversation turns to “Why couldn’t they carry their own baby?” While two dads bring to the table everything a child could possibly need to thrive outside of the womb, including a loving home, unending support, patience, kindness, stability, and the knowledge and wisdom of their own lives, they do not have a womb between the two of them to gestate the child they so deeply desire. So that is where I came into the picture. Here is what I have loved the most about helping gay parents grow their family.
- The joy and hope they bring to the table. While an Intended Mother who has experienced infertility, failed IVF attempts, pregnancy losses and a whole world of heartache often before embarking on a surrogacy journey, my gay dads were a clean slate in this regard. They entered into the surrogacy full of positivity and enthusiasm, and as a surrogate it is incredibly uplifting to share in that energy. While it can be extremely rewarding to help a couple who has suffered emotional wounds to heal through the birth of their child, in my experience there is less emotional baggage overall with gay parents because there is less guilt surrounding their need for help.
- They were unbelievably supportive in their own relationships and in the relationships with their surrogates. They chose their partner knowing someday they would need help with having children if they mutually decided upon this. For many people choosing a mate is based on procreation, but when traditional means of procreation are off the table, the relationships I have witnessed are very special. My gay parents were polar opposites, one was a farmer and the other was a brain surgeon, and yet they were the perfect balances to each other: true partners in every sense. Their supportive loving relationship with each other translated to a very supportive relationship with me as their surrogate, and extended to support of my family because this is a family process.
- The sense of humor we all shared. Again, without guilt, without baggage, and motivated by pure joy we were able to laugh together more times than I can count. The couple that I helped had an one child already through surrogacy and I carried their second child, so they sent me pictures of their oldest child often. I still remember receiving a picture of their two year old boy dress in a full suit, tie, cap and all. The text message read, “Does this outfit scream ‘My dads are gay!’?” This became a running joke throughout our pregnancy, sharing pictures of the most sharp looking baby outfits we could find and asking that question. We shared in so many laughs, and I’d like to think all of that laughter during the pregnancy is why their little boy is such a happy child now because he received that wonderful energy through the womb.
- Sharing the birth with my two dads. When I gave birth it was quite literally “Three men and a baby”. With my husband present and both dads and our wonderful doula we had an incredible birth experience. I have never felt as much love in one room as I did on that day. When a surrogate delivers for two dads the delivery has a different dynamic. While most Intended Moms would want to hold their baby immediately, and understandably so, this was a different experience. As soon as their sweet boy was born he went immediately onto one dad’s chest, but only for a moment. I was completely taken by surprise when he then placed the baby on me next so he could wrap his arms around us both as we cried the most joyful tears of his safe arrival. I didn’t feel like I was just a surrogate that day, I felt like a part of their family in a very unique way.
- Least important, but also very sweet were the gifts they brought me and my family. I love my husband more than anything, but his taste in jewelry is that of most heterosexual men. I will never forget the beautiful necklace my Intended Dads brought me, they had exquisite taste. They paid attention to the small details that men generally miss, like whether they noticed me wearing white or yellow gold, big statements pieces, or small subtle charms, and they chose a gift for me that I will cherish forever. I love it because I know how much thought they put into choosing it, so when I look at it I see all of the love and thought they put into supporting me during our journey.
- Open ongoing communication. It was apparent to my Intended Dads that their children were going to have some questions as they grew up about how they were born. They made the choice to be very open, and to have ongoing communication with their surrogates. Both myself and their first surrogate have seen the children since the birth, and we get lots of pictures and updates. We get the honor of seeing all of that pure joy that these incredible parents brought to the table when we first met them, now illuminating the lives of their two beautiful boys.
So I chose to help gay parents and it was absolutely the right choice for me and my family. I observed as the hearts and minds of people around me who witnessed my journey opened. This loving family just happened to come in a different shape than some, but they had everything a traditional family would have to offer a child. I look at the extraordinary lives these children have with so much love around them, and I never worry for a moment what the future holds for them.