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“One Final Try”: A Complicated Surrogacy Journey Ends in Success

Written by Paul Isla. Feature image by Genevieve Lauren Photography

Early on in our relationship, Jack and I both expressed a desire to have kids one day. Once we were financially stable enough to know we were ready to raise a child, we started looking into what we thought would be our only option: adoption. But after attending a local support group for gay dads we discovered the option of surrogacy.

The thought of being able to have a biological child never crossed our minds, but we knew deep down that was something we both wanted to have. For myself, it meant being able to continue my family line — I am the last male in my family. For Jack, being Chinese, there was a cultural component of being able to give a grandchild to his parents.

So our journey led us to what would be our first agency and fertility clinic. After several attempts, things didn’t work out, and we eventually went with another fertility clinic and agency. People usually only hear of the end result, but for many, the path to parenthood isn’t — or as rosy as our Instagram posts depict. Before the twins were born, it took us several surrogates and donors (all of whom were amazing women) and the better part of ten years of trying to have a family via surrogacy. And we’re not gonna even sugarcoat how expensive the process is. Fees for the egg donor(s), surrogate mother(s), the clinic, the procedures, the agency, the lawyers, and the medications all began to pile up, with sadly no results to show for it. Our savings were beginning to tap out.

So we decided to revisit our initial option of adoption. We decided to go through the county rather than a private adoption agency. We went through all the necessary steps, requirements and classes mandated by the county (which is a whole other complicated process we could share at another time) and were well on our way to fostering to adopt. But while we were on the adoption track, we were concurrently trying one final crack at surrogacy. We honestly were about to give up on that option, but our doctors, agency and small knit support group had a good feeling about our chances for this one final try based on all the “parts of the puzzle” to make a baby.

So about half way through our “adoption track” we found out we were pregnant with twins!

Surrogacy Journey
Photo by Genevieve Lauren Photography

But having gotten pregnant once before, and sadly loosing that baby, we decided to continue with our adoption path. One month into pregnancy,  became three months, which became six, then eight (twins generally don’t last the full nine months in the womb). Once the reality hit us that the twins were actually coming, we informed the county that we were putting our foster to adopt plans on hold. But we vowed once the twins got to a certain age, we would revisit the foster to adopt route because it is something we still feel passionate about, especially after taking the many courses that opened our minds and hearts to fostering to adopt.

The moment our son was born, I began to ball uncontrollably, and that was the moment I knew my life from here on out would never be the same, and that I was finally, after over a decade of trying, was a father. Then they pulled our daughter out, too, and it became super real that we were the fathers of two brand-spanking new children…at the same time! 

There are a lot of surrogacy and fertility agencies out there, so our best piece of advice would be to do your research on any one you are considering to use. We didn’t really do that in the beginning and just went with a recommendation without doing any real background checks on their records, statistics, success rates, etc. We could have saved a lot of time, money and heartache had we been more informed. As mentioned, the surrogacy route is an expensive option, so keep all those factors and expenses we mentioned in mind.

Going through the adoption route has its own set of ups and downs. We could only speak about our experience going through the county, but it definitely was an eye-opening world that we knew little of. But like I mentioned, we want to revisit and pursue this path once the world comes back to some kind of normalcy.

Photo by Genevieve Lauren Photography

One other thing we wanted to encourage others is to never give up. Even in our darkest moments during our journey, we never gave up on our dream of extending our family beyond the two of us. We were determined to make it happen one way or another.

The best part of fatherhood? Everything. We knew what we signed up for, and cherish every single moment we share with our kids. The good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. We consider ourselves so blessed and lucky to be able to live in a time where a family like ours can even exist. A family that we thought was only a pipe dream, is now our reality, and we love every moment of it.

We’d be happy to answer any questions the gays with kids community has for us. We’ve “paid forward” our experiences with other gay couples before and would be happy to connect with anyone in the community who’d like more detailed information on either track towards parenthood.

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