Steven and James were neighbors before they were husbands. After passing each other many times, most often on James’ doorstep as Steven hurried by doing errands, they struck up a conversation. Not long after, James asked Steven out — seven and a half years later, they’re now dads through surrogacy.
“Jamie and I both knew when we met that we eventually wanted to start a family,” Steven said.
To help them become dads, Jamie and Steven worked with Dr. Juan Alvarez of Fertility Centers of Illinois. “Steven and Jamie are amazing patients,” said Dr. Juan Alvarez. “From the first day I met them, they were very eager to start a family.”
Dr. Alvarez began working with the couple in January 2018. As a fertility doctor, he said his role is to guide the couple throughout the whole process,” which includes a male fertility evaluation, an evaluation of the egg donor and surrogate, and conducting ovarian stimulation for the egg donor and the creation of embryos. “I also perform the embryo transfer and take care of the gestational carrier up to 8 weeks of pregnancy,” Dr. Alvarez said.
Their son was born right before the pandemic, so it hasn’t been a typical first year as dads. However, it has opened their world in different ways. As both the fathers managed to transition to working from home, they’ve been able to witness every milestone.
Their nanny, who comes to care for their son Monday through Friday, has also become an even bigger part of their life as she brings along her daughter who does home-schooling in their guest room. “Overnight we became a much bigger family and we love every minute of it.”
Helping form families, said Dr. Alvarez, is exactly what got him into this line of work. “The most rewarding part of my job is helping couples achieve a pregnancy,” he said. “I am always inspired by the strength and resilience of my patients to continue with their goal of becoming parents. When my patients achieve their goal it is the most rewarding part whether it was fairly straightforward or a complicated case.”
From becoming dads and getting through this pandemic with an expanded family by their side, these Chicago dads are counting their blessings.