2023 is a milestone year for Carlsbad couple Jonathan Lowe and Jimmy Tran. Jonathan, a police lieutenant, and Jimmy, an entertainment industry executive, will be celebrating 20 years together in the fall!
“We met after we both joined the San Diego Lucky Lion Dancers,” said Jonathan. “Lion dancing is a Chinese tradition, where we dress in traditional lion costumes for the Lunar New Year and perform at festivals, businesses, etc. The tradition is meant to scare away evil spirits and bring luck and prosperity to the recipient.”
This year also marks another momentous event for the husbands: they became first-time dads to twins born via surrogacy.
“Early on in our relationship, we never knew this would be a possibility for us,” added Jimmy. “Eventually, most of our friends and family members were having kids around us, [and] it was something we always wanted to be a part of.”
The new dads considered their options before deciding that surrogacy was the right choice for their family, and in many ways, it came down to cost.
“We were surprised to learn how much the adoption process can cost,” said Jonathan. “That made us think, if we’re going to be paying a lot of money to have kids, and we are fortunate enough to be able to afford surrogacy, why not try to have our own biological children first.”
Saying that, the financial burden was still the most difficult aspect to their journey.
“As two men, all we have to offer is our sperm,” Jimmy said. “Lesbian couples might at least have the option of carrying the baby themselves, whereas with two men, we must pay for every aspect of the surrogacy journey.”
The dads have some advice for others in a similar situation and considering surrogacy: start saving now and be financially smart. Jonathan and Jimmy were able to manage loans and refinance to help make their dream of parenthood come true.
Deciding upon the right IVF doctor was another important step for the husbands. They researched several in their area, but as soon as they spoke to Dr. Park of San Diego Fertility Center, they knew she was the one.
“From the very beginning, they treated us like family,” the two dads agreed. “There was never any hesitation about being a gay couple, and Dr Park explained every aspect of the process to us. All of the costs were explained in detail, and there was never any pressure one way or another. There’s no other place I would send people besides SDFC.”
On March 3, 2023, their twin boys were born. Their family is overjoyed and have been very supportive of their entire journey. For one of their dads, this has been especially magical. He never knew that the science was out there to help make him a grandad, and he’s thrilled to have this role.
But parenting newborn twins hasn’t been without its challenges.
“Currently, we are still in survival mode… the sleep deprivation is the hardest thing,” said Jonathan.
While having family in town has been a blessing, one of the dads had to return to work after 6 weeks, so they’ve hired a nanny to help.
“Having twins is a never-ending challenge,” explained Jimmy. “There is no such thing as rotating nights or giving the other parent a break. It’s always all hands on deck. So having the nanny’s help while one parent works is key right now.”
Despite the struggle of parenting two infants, the dads want other gay men considering fatherhood to know that it is possible – “we are living proof!”
“Representation matters. That’s why we want to showcase our family, be it on social media or with partners like GWK. Among all our friends and family, living in a major city, we only know one other gay couple who went through the surrogacy process. We want others to know parenthood is not out of reach, simply because you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community. There needs to be more of us out there to show the world we exist and deserve a seat at the table.”