Grooooooooow babies!!

How 2 men + 2 women - sex + science = 2 babies!!

This is the funny, heart-warming, tearful, inspiring, and shocking truth about my journey to have a child.

How a man, another man, a woman, another woman, a couple lawyers, a few doctors, a psychologist, a couple social workers and some agencies make a baby.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I only cried once!

Today was the meeting with the psychologist.

He started out asking me what I knew about this whole process. I knew that it was to talk about what I wanted from the surrogate and the egg donor. So a lot of this wasn't any new information, but we did hit on a few new ideas.

The doctor asked me to just talk about myself and what led me to surrogacy. I told him that this is something I have wanted since I was a child. I have always thought I'd have the wife and the kids and the house in the suburbs (well..the city). After realizing I was gay the dream was shattered and had to be built up again and now it includes surrogacy. Yesterday I was talking with a friend saying that I was kind of lucky I was born when I was. Had I been born 20 years earlier this would have been an impossibility. So while it's sometimes frustrating and sad that this is the process I have to follow and I'm spending a small fortune, at least I have the option of having a child.

We talked about the kind of relationship I want from a surrogate. The doctor said it ranges from business-like to being friends for life. I think I want a more friendly relationship. I know some couples want less involvement with the surrogate because, when the child is born, the parents don't want confusion over who is the mother. One of the small benefits I have is that I'm not threatened by the idea of a woman trying to take my role. And the doctor explained that sometimes it's nice to have a relationship with the surrogate so the child can see that piece of the puzzle when he/she grows up and starts to understand where he/she came from. He mentioned some surrogates like to be friendly with the biological parents because that often helps the surrogate's child(ren) understand what mom is doing. All surrogates must have a child already so that's something she has to deal with during her pregnancy. It can help her child understand what she's doing if there are pictures of me and my baby to help the child understand what happened to the baby inside mom.

The biggest piece of the puzzle is the egg donor. Oy! What a decision. That's what I'm struggling with now. There are pros and cons to both known and unknown donors and I think I need to talk with the doctor and the lawyers before I make a final decision. Using a friend means my child will know his/her mother. But there also are all the issues of how connected will we be and will she be ok not being the child's mother and what if I move to New York and am I comfortable asking her all the dirty details of her family's medical and mental health history? I did find out that the egg donor isn't always 100% anonymous. Some egg donors might be open to certain levels of contact. The field is just so new that no one knows what will happen as the children grow up. The psychologist said that the donor and I may have an agreement to do this anonymously, but "junior" never agreed to that deal so what his or her rights are will probably be challenged as this becomes more common.

One thing I did learn was how to approach the subject of surrogacy with the child. The psychologist said I'm like the perfect storm: egg donor, surrogate and single, gay dad. (Does this child have any chance to grow up normal?!?!?) But research has shown that it's best to tell the child the truth from the beginning. The answers should be age appropriate, but explaining how the child came to be helps the child process his/her history slowly instead of creating a history and suddenly being jolted into a completely different truth. That was some good advice. He even had a children's book that showed how mom and dad usually have a baby and then showed how mom and dad sometimes use a different mom's egg or a different mom's tummy. Pretty cool.

During the two hours I was there I only cried once. I was prepared with tissues but I was doing ok. Talking about the possibility of twins, being gay, a baby with diseases, relationships with surrogates, my parents, etc. didn't get to me. Then the doctor asked how my friends were taking this or if they even knew. I said the support has been overwhelming. I knew that my friends wouldn't be critical of me, but I expected a lot of friends to say "wow...that's a big step" and leave it at that. Instead, I have had so many friends tell me how brave I am, how excited they are, what a good dad I'd be, that I inspired them, etc. It makes me feel like this crazy idea isn't crazy at all. And what's more impressive is that my work acquaintances are equally as excited and supportive. I told the psychologist about Paula. She's an interpreter friend of mine, who is living in the suburbs with her husband and two kids. We're friends because we work together from time to time, but she's not someone I call up and chat with or meet for a movie and dinner. But Paula is so excited for me. And when I bumped into her today she told me again what a thrill she got from me starting a family and offered me any support or advice she could give. As I talked about her and all my friends I cried from feeling so much love from them. So thanks. Paula - start thinking about who you want to play you in the movie.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 first blog

I swore I would never do this. I never really understood the point of blogging. But this experience is going to be exciting and stressful and scary so maybe writing about it will help me cope with it. That plus maybe I'll get a book/movie deal out of it like "Julie and Julia." It's a long shot...but you never know. And maybe this will help others going through the process in the future. I'll have to look online to see if anyone else is doing this before me. Maybe I'll learn from him.

So February 11th was the day of the deposit. I went to the surrogate agency and talked about the process with one of the women who runs the agency. I had met her about a year earlier and wasn't quite ready to put down my money, but I'm feeling like it's the right time now. While I was at the meeting I was fine for about 15 minutes. Then something hit me out of the blue and I just bawled for a while. All my fears just came out. I remember saying it was weird to feel so scared and so at peace at the same time.

She told me that she has some other single men going through the process and asked if I would be interested in talking with them. Yes! I need to email her about that to see if she has found anyone willing to share their experiences with me. That would be a great resource.

I got set up with an account to look at the egg donors. Last Saturday I went into the registry and took a quick peek at what was there. I have to admit, it's a little weird thinking about the fact that I will have a child with a woman I will never meet. I'll meet the surrogate of course, but probably not the egg donor. From what I understand it's anonymous. The egg donors put up pictures of themselves, family histories, a little something about themselves, etc.

Soon after that I got an email from a friend of mine saying she would consider donating her egg. She is now the second friend who has considered donating her egg. There are a lot of pros and cons to knowing the donor. I have to think about it a lot more. But just knowing two of my friends would even consider donating their eggs makes me feel really, really special. I think the women involved in this process - both the egg donor and the surrogate - are doing something amazing for me and they might never fully know how much they will change my life. That's a powerful thing.

I'm meeting with the psychologist on Monday. The psychologist meeting isn't to decide if I'm fit to be a parent. It's just to discuss what I want/expect during the process. There are lots of decisions to be made like "What if it's twins?" and "Do I want to go to all the appointments with the surrogate?" I think it will be good for me to talk on Monday and learn more about the process. It may make me freak out more or feel more confident about this process.

Oh, and I've already called my friends James and Anne to help me calm down when I stress out. You two should think about who should play you in the movie. :-)