My husband and I knew we wanted to be parents even before we got married. One problem: we are two men.
Technically we needed a woman to help us fulfill our journey to become the family we always wished to be. Male same-sex couples that want to have biological children face a long, challenging (both financially and emotionally), but exciting surrogacy journey.
On episode 14 of Connected, "The Journey", you can see us reconnecting with our girls' gestational carriers. Don't be confused by assuming that each gestational carrier is the biological mother of each of our little ones, cause you can't be more wrong!
The traditional surrogacy process usually meant that the woman who gives birth would also be the biological mother. Today the majority of the surrogacy journeys include two independent women who fulfill these two different roles in the process as an egg donor (the female genetic part) and a gestational carrier.
The gestational carrier role has no biological relation -- so basically she doesn't "give away" her child, but she is willing to be "the oven" and deliver the best gift a person could ever give to another person -- to become a parent when real life circumstances don't allow it.
For both our daughters, Milo and Demi, we used the same egg donor, while each girl has a different biological dad (my husband or myself). We consciously decided not to disclose who is the biological father of each girl, but I am sure that people play the guessing game all the time. For us, it really doesn't matter who is biologically related to whom, and personally, I don't feel less of a dad to my non-biological kid.
Whenever I am asked where my girls' mom is, I always say: "I'm both the mom and the dad!" According to researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia, children of same-sex couples fare better when it comes to physical health and social well-being due to the likelihood that same-sex couples share responsibilities more equally than heterosexual ones. And indeed, in our family, my husband and I are splitting our housework and time with the kids equally.
While our kids may get more parent time and attention, the problem that same sex families usually face is stigma, and I am glad that stigma wasn't in our gestational carriers' mind when they decided to help us bring our girls into this world.
Each surrogacy journey was different for us, but what felt the same is the tremendous admiration we felt toward these women who had to go through injections and discomfort -- not to mention carrying a baby who wasn't theirs -- for nine months, and all to bring the gift of parenthood to a couple who was craving to love another human being unconditionally.
Some people may see couples who choose the surrogacy road to become parents as individuals who are taking advantage of women. From our own personal experience during our two journeys to fatherhood, here's what I can say: both of our gestational carriers didn't need the money to survive. They were both living a good life, and the money was a "nice to have," but not a necessity. In fact, I can't even put a price tag on what they did for us. Both of those women wanted to truly help people fulfill the dream of parenthood, and money was not their ultimate goal.
We will forever be grateful for what they did for us, and they will always be a part of our family! My husband and I cherish every person who helped us create our family, and if I had the power to impact other people's lives the same way, I would.