I cannot easily express the feelings I had for wanting a family, with my own children.
I don’t know if this was from an inherent desire to reproduce, or from an incredibly strong fatherly feeling. I just knew I yearned to be a parent.
So it’s both remarkable and humiliating to me now that, along with my same-sex partner, I’m the father of two surrogate-born boys. The boys have just celebrated their sixth and fourth birthdays, days on which we also wish their surrogate mother a “happy surrogate”.
As an Asian homosexual accepting my sexuality at the end of the 80s, under the shadow of the AIDS epidemic and of article 28 (which prohibited the “promotion of homosexuality” by local authorities), with With the added pressure of conforming to the standard Asian community to get married, I often found myself in a state of limbo.
It was a time when homophobia was rampant in the UK and Asians just weren’t gay. So the prospect of having a family with another man wasn’t even on my radar.
It has sometimes occurred to me that an easy option for having and raising children would be to marry a woman. But it would never have been an easy or real life.
In my mid-thirties, I was with my immediate family, a handful of friends, and a few close co-workers. The community I lived in was bored asking questions about whether I was single at this point: either they thought I was barren, gay or “I just had a weakness and I wasn’t everything.” made a man ”. Also, by then, they had moved on and had other people to chat with.
It was in 2009 that with the help of old-fashioned internet dating, I met the man I will be spending the rest of my life with, Vince. At the start of our relationship, I brought up the subject of children. He felt the same as I did, and about five years later our journey began.
We considered adoption, but the board’s reception was freezing, our age meant we were unlikely to be immediately considered for a baby or toddler, and the process could take years.
As another option, I had researched surrogacy in the United States and contacted one of the agencies that worked in this area. First of all, I was surprised at the cost – over £ 60,000.
They detailed the cost as a pick and mix list; the donor’s eggs would be classified according to ethnic origin, health, age, education… and priced accordingly. Honestly, I felt like I was shopping for a made-to-order baby. Everyone has their own tastes, but personally, commercial surrogacy was not for me.
Our surrogate texted us on our WhatsApp group saying, “Congratulations, you are going to be dads”
If I was to have children through surrogacy, I was hoping to see and meet the real person who would help conceive our children – the personality. I wanted our children to know their heritage from an early age.
But it seemed like a big request.
However, during further research on ‘surrogacy’ on the internet, I came across Surrogacy UK (SUK) – a non-profit organization providing an environment for altruistic surrogates and future parents to learn more about motherhood. surrogacy and hopefully form a friendship leading to surrogacy. agreement. Their convictions mirrored our own: trust, mutual respect and above all friendship.
We spent this evening eagerly reading their website. I admit that I was looking for the trap. Until then, all the surrogacy stories we had encountered were in soap operas, or news stories of birth mothers changing their minds at the last minute. I guess no matter how reassuring the information we read was, I kept wondering why anyone would do this without payment other than a reasonable expense?
It was too good to be true. I had to keep my feelings under control because it was starting to get real – and I really wanted it to be!
After registration, we received a visit from a volunteer member of the association. The first thing I noticed about her was that she was very pregnant. It turned out that she was actually carrying twins for another couple. It was her second time as a surrogate – her motive was simple; she had completed her family with her husband and had witnessed the sadness of couples who wanted children but could not.
Quite simply, she wanted to give the gift of having a family to someone else. How altruistic. I was amazed and reassured that these wonderful ladies existed.
We attended one of the organization’s biannual conferences where surrogates, parents-to-be, whole families through surrogacy, and legal and healthcare professionals meet. It’s a chance to meet a potential surrogate – but it’s firmly in her hands that she might want to get to know and ultimately help.
Our first conference was a long and exhausting day with social activities ending at 11pm. After leaving, I remember being a bit dejected; there were hundreds of couples who all wanted the chance to start a family. Two regular guys from the Midlands. Why would we be chosen?
He was back to work the following Monday. Incredibly that afternoon I got a text saying that a surrogate spotted us at the conference and liked what we wrote on our profile – a brief summary of who we were and why to want to be parents. We were asked if we would like to meet her. Of course we said yes.
We arranged to meet Frankie this weekend and immediately clicked; it was like we had always been friends, no embarrassment, no long breaks. I just remember how happy we were all to chat. This was followed by further trips to get to know her and her family and friends better, including her young son.
From the start, Frankie was happy to be a traditional surrogate using her own eggs – her take was “well, I throw my eggs in the toilet every month, why waste them?” “. It was that almost flippant but down-to-earth attitude that we loved about her. After building our friendship for four months, we started trying to conceive.
After our third attempt, we tested positive.
Frankie texts us on our WhatsApp group saying, “Congratulations, you’re gonna be dads.” She sent a photo of the test stick, with two lines on it – one was barely visible, nonetheless it was a positive test. Receiving this news was a defining moment in our lives.
Our first son was born in July 2015 at the Royal Hospital in Gloucester. As we drove to the hospital it was surreal – almost like we were going on vacation, except this trip was going to change us forever.
We were there for the birth, with Frankie’s mother who acted as the birthing partner. Fortunately, it was very simple. Since I was the biological father of our firstborn, it was symbolic for Vince to cut the umbilical cord. And have the first skin-to-skin contact.
I burst out laughing looking at this little baby in his newly born bluish gray tone wrapped in a white towel resembling an ET picture, but he was calm, calm and perfect. He was our son.
We looked at each other and were able to say we had the same thought – Frankie, our best friend, had just made the ultimate sacrifice for us.
Almost exactly two years later, in July 2017, we welcomed our second son – conceived by Vince – again helped by Frankie. This time I cut the cord and made the first skin-to-skin contact. Our family was now complete.
We cannot express our gratitude to Frankie and all she has done for our family. From playing our voices telling the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar to our unborn children, gracefully and safely bringing them into our lives, it is amazing that we have met such a selfless human being – let alone all of them. the other surrogates in UK who make dreams come true.
Every morning I kiss my boys’ heads, taking a long breath, feeling eternally grateful to have my own family.
We received the ultimate gift anyone could receive, from the most amazing person. A cherished card in our memory book simply says, “Thank you for trusting me and letting me carry YOUR babies – I feel honored, Frankie.”
But it is we who will be eternally grateful to him.
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