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.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Doctors and Surrogates and Gay Parents, Oh My!

So this week a lot happened.

I talked with one of the doctors the surrogate agency recommended. I played telephone tag with a nice woman named Jennifer for a while. We finally connected on Thursday morning. I learned a little bit about the role of the doctor in this crazy process. If I use this particular doctor I get assigned a "Third Party Coordinator" who is a nurse. She helps coordinate everything since I am using an egg donor and a surrogate. It's nice to know someone figures out the timing of all of this. Apparently I donate my sperm the same day that the egg donor donates her eggs. Since the egg donor is (99.9% of the time) anonymous my guess is that she comes in the morning and I come in the afternoon or vice-versa so we don't run into each other in the waiting room. But I could be wrong. Regardless, we donate on the same day so the eggs and sperm can be put together. The surrogate comes in 3-5 days later to get the embryos transferred. There is a battery of tests I do, the egg donor does, and the surrogate does before any of this can proceed. There's some basic blood work, std testing, pap smears, semen analysis, etc.

The next thing that happened was huge. I got an email from the agency saying that they have a potential surrogate. WOW! It was only four weeks after I put down my deposit and they told me on average it takes 6-8 weeks to find someone. I really didn't expect a potential surrogate to come up so soon. A little while later I was emailed the dossier. The dossier includes no identifying information, but does include a lot of her surrogacy application which includes: weight, height, age, marital status, education, children, eating habits, exercising habits, smoking and drinking habits, reasons for wanting to be a surrogate, how she will break the news to family and friends, who will support her, insurance status, work status and more. I certainly have a lot to think about now that I have a possible surrogate. There are some positive aspects to her. She has a degree in science, she wants to get a doctorate, she says she is ok working with same-sex couples and single parents, she lives in IL (which has good surrogacy laws), and she has her own health insurance. It's just so hard to know if she's the right match from a piece of paper.  She is a black Baptist. I have to say that on first look a black Baptist and a single, gay, Jew from New York don't seem like a likely couple. I would prefer someone who is not very religious, although I do get the impression that she isn't overly religious. The race issue poses an interesting question. When the child is born he or she will have to figure out how he or she came into being. Children try to figure out their history and their identity. My child will have enough to grapple with having a gay, single father. When the child learns about the surrogate and either sees pictures or meets the surrogate adding the race may just be one more piece to an already confusing story. Although, on the plus side, it could make the child a lot more accepting of other races. I guess there are two sides to everything.

The third thing that happened was I talked with a man who used a surrogate. My voice teacher put me in contact with his friend who, along with his partner, had two kids using the same surrogate. The couple lives in Illinois but their surrogate lives in California. Some of the issues are a little different, but some of his advice was really good. He said that he would recognize the surrogate for Mother's Day and her birthday. Making more of a personal connection made him feel like she would be more invested in taking care of the baby. And he mentioned that the motivations/personalities of the egg donors and surrogates are very different. The involvement and time commitments are vastly different so they tend to attract different types of women. One great question he suggested I ask the agency is "Why did you match me with this surrogate?" The agency obviously knows more about the surrogate than I do and I think that's a great question to ask. I also mentioned to this father that the whole process of picking an egg donor from an internet data base and having a stranger carry my child seems odd. Looking at the egg donor profiles seems a little voyeuristic and the surrogate selection is weird and scary. He agreed with me and said that he knew what I was feeling. That was nice to know that this slightly creepy feeling was normal. He also said "after you get your kid the process just fades away." His children are now 5 and 7 and it was funny to hear him try to remember what he did during the surrogacy process because it's just a small, and in some ways an insignificant, part of a long journey.

I like that. I'll have to think about who I want to play him in the movie. :-)


  1. Just curious, and if this it too personal a question, you don't need to answer. But I was wondering if you had thought about doing a "traditional" surrogacy where the surrogate uses her egg and your sperm instead of only a "gestational" surrogate. Is part of it the anonimity of the egg donor or making it a bit less complex legally?

  2. It's not too personal, Tiffany. It's a good question. But you're right that using two women makes it a lot less complex. I believe it is actually illegal in IL to use the same egg donor and surrogate. The potential for the woman to fight for rights to the baby increase exponentially because then she is biologically tied to the baby she gives birth to.

  3. One thing about having a black surrogate - there will be no question at all about biological connection (assuming you choose a white egg-donor).

    BTW - all this time, I've been thinking that the "deposit" you made was sperm, not money. I was wondering why they had you do it so soon and figured maybe they were checking to make sure you were fertile at all and that you'd have to make another "deposit" later when the eggs were ready. I am laughing at myself now...