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“Alan’s Story” – A gay IP’s perspective on surrogacy

I’m a gay, married, 40-year-old intended parent (IP) and I’m on a surrogacy journey that’s been both challenging and amazing. I’ve been in a team with my husband, Nic and our friend and surro, Emma since January 2020 and, after several miscarriages and loads of Covid-disruption, we’re still trying to conceive but really enjoying our journey. It’s happy, positive, and built on a friendship that – and this might sound weird – is so strong that sometimes we forget why it started!

My personal path to surrogacy has – like many people’s – been a slow one full of doubt, anxiety and reflection – but I’m so glad we made the choice to pursue it. I’m such a big believer in surrogacy that I became a Trustee of SurrogacyUK in March 2020. Here’s a quick summary of my surrogacy journey so far…

Like, I guess, a lot of gay men I’d spent a long time believing that my future wouldn’t involve kids, and it wasn’t until I met Nic that I started to think it could. After about five years together we started to think seriously about having children, and how we could make that happen. I didn’t know anything about surrogacy at the time and I was really nervous about it. I didn’t have any moral problem with it at all, but I found it really difficult to get my head around. 

With fostering and adoption I understood the process – but surrogacy felt a bit ‘weird’. It felt like it was in a grey area (which I now know it isn’t) and I think the idea of involvement of social services etc in fostering/adoption actually gave me some comfort – I wanted that structure. I knew that neither pathway offered guarantees, but at least in fostering/adoption I felt like I knew how it would all work (I probably didn’t!) and that there would be an answer at the end. 

Nic did loads of research and joined lots of Facebook groups. We were quick to recognise SurrogacyUK as the right organisation for us. It looked like they would offer the kind of structure that I was looking for. We went to an Information Day and we were impressed with how organised and friendly it was. We made an application and we haven’t regretted it for one minute. 

It still took me a while to get used to it. I’m quite a bit of an introvert, suffer from anxiety/depression, am a bit of a cynic and I find big social things difficult. Surrogacy communities tend to be pretty positive places, they might feel a bit ‘happy clappy’ for you at first, but that gets easier. Yeah, you have to put your face on sometimes and drag yourself out of the house to go to socials on days when you’d prefer to stay in bed. But you’ll find a place where you can be yourself and you’ll find that behind the positive tendencies, surrogacy communities are just like any communities – full of variety, big characters, quieter types, joy and sadness. 

To anyone considering surrogacy I would recommend giving it loads of thought, taking your time, and being clear about a few things:

  • Surrogacy is a real, achievable pathway to parenthood. It’s not murky, it’s not weird and it’s not exploitative (if you do it properly) but nor is it easy. You’ll need strength, resilience and patience. 
  • It can feel like a mountain to climb, but if you keep focussed on the next step and seek all the support and advice you can, you’ll make progress.
  • Remember that surrogacy isn’t a guaranteed path to parenthood: pregnancy (even via IVF) is a natural process: I always keep in mind a future without children, just in case things don’t work out, and make sure that this vision is a happy one. 

Surrogacy is a wonderful thing and I love SurrogacyUK’s “friendship first” approach to it. Emma and her family will be friends for life whatever the result of our journey is, and I’ve met people and had experiences through surrogacy (many of which will be stories to tell the grandchildren!) that have made life richer.

So wherever you are in your journey, keep researching, keep asking questions, keep believing that this can happen for you, and good luck!

Alan, Steve, Emma and Nic on the day they first met.

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