Tony Chien and Brian Mills live in Roseland, New Jersey with their daughter. The couple met on OKCupid, have been together 5 years, and were married on August 30, 2014. Brian works in human resources at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Tony runs marketing at Atari. They both work in New York City. We caught up with the dads to see how fatherhood was treating them!
Tell us about your path to parenthood. [We chose] surrogacy. We always wanted a family and knew surrogacy was a viable option for us.
Tell us about any obstacles you faced on your path to fatherhood. The gestational surrogacy process was complex but completely worth it in the end. Starting from scratch and not knowing how to go about having a baby via gestational surrogacy was a challenging experience. We prepared ourselves by doing research online and talking to many people from various sources such as the LGBT Center in New York City and other gay men who were going through the same process. We attended seminars hosted by the organization, Men Having Babies, and also joined their Facebook group to connect with others. Speaking with fellow gays who already had a baby through surrogacy was the most inspirational because it showed us this was all possible. We had a lot of questions along the way such as figuring out which surrogacy agency and IVF doctor to use, what the best approach would be – should we transfer fresh or frozen embryos, how many embryos should we transfer and other important questions. Our first surrogate had a miscarriage at 8.5 weeks and that was devastating. That was our biggest obstacle to overcome. The miscarriage was tough on us and it took time to process our loss but we knew we still wanted to have a baby and we shouldn’t give up. We were fortunate to have more embryos and the resources to try again.
How has your life changed since you became a father? We are so happy now that our baby girl is finally with us in this world and we couldn’t imagine our lives without her. Taking care of our baby was something we had to figure out on our own, but just like many first time parents, gay or straight, you learn and get more comfortable with time and experience. Our lives haven’t really changed that much. We both still work and do the same things we did before our baby arrived, but are more homebodies now. We are fortunate that my parents live nearby and can help out and our in-laws are within driving distance.
Was there ever a moment that you or your husband experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself? After our surrogate had a miscarriage in 2015 we questioned if having a baby of our own was meant to be. But after speaking with others who also experienced a miscarriage and went on to have a healthy baby, it gave us hope and inspired us to not give up.
Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation? Our family and friends are wonderful – they are inclusive, supportive and we are very lucky. We have yet to fully venture out in public with our baby since she is still a newborn but the few times we have gone out we have not experienced any negativity.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experiences creating or raising your family? Our family and friends have been extremely supportive throughout our journey.
What Does She Call You? Tony is called “Baba” which is Mandarin for Dad; Brian is “Dad.”
Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? We hope to add another baby into our family in the next couple of years. From here on out we want to go on more adventures with our family and watch our kid (or kids) grow-up. We are excited for what the future holds!
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