Meet Michael and John!
A gay couple who are pursuing surrogacy to build their family. With Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and fertility services, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and couples can fulfill their dreams of becoming parents.
1. Tell us about yourselves! Tell us your love story!
John and I met back in 2015, originally through match.com. We hit it off pretty quickly and wound up going to three different destinations in Ann Arbor on our first date as I showed him around town and we knew after our second date pretty much that we had found our match.
Since then we’ve been together, and we just celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary last week. John and I balance each other out in many ways with our personalities, he’s more to the point and active, and I tend to balance him out with being more laid-back.
John and I love going eating Japanese food, trying new restaurants, kayaking, hiking, and the outdoors, and we love to travel together as well. Aside from that, both of us are health care workers (John’s a nurse and I work as a financial navigator/counselor at a cancer center) and we are very passionate about our work.
2. Why did you both decide to pursue surrogacy, and what were the key steps involved in the process?
Growing our family through surrogacy has been a priority for us since 2015. My husband John is originally from the Philippines and it we decided early in our relationship that adoption was out of the question and that we would have to save up for a bit to pursue surrogacy.
As we both have followed the Dave Ramsey baby steps and have prioritized pursuing this journey debt free, we wanted to make sure we were financially ready and paid off our condo first that we bought in 2017 (we did this in about 2 and a half years).
While we decided to try an independent journey initially – this process did not prove fruitful and after a couple years of significant setbacks during the pandemic and difficulty with an overseas clinic, we decided to pause for a bit and do further research about how to do this domestically. After doing further research we decided to proceed with Gift of Life Surrogacy and IVF Michigan & Ohio Fertility Centers after attending the Men Having Babies conference in Chicago once we determined this was the most convenient option for us.
3. What was your criteria when searching for an egg donor?
Egg donor criteria were based on medical history primarily.
4. What criteria are you both looking for when matching with your surrogate?
For our surrogate criteria (which we have set with Zein), we’re primarily looking for a candidate that’s ideally in the Midwest region and who would have surrogacy friendly insurance or willing to purchase a plan during open enrollment that would be considered surrogacy friendly, be 32 years old or under and meet the agency’s criteria.
5. What are you both most excited about?
John and I have been very much looking forward to having our own children since we first met in 2015. While we are happy “Dog dads” and love spoiling our Pomeranian mix, we and our extended families have very much been looking forward to seeing our family grow. This whole process has been an exciting and sometime anxiety inducing journey.
6. What has been the most challenging aspect of surrogacy?
I would say the most difficult part of the process has just been the information gathering phase, as we (and I think this is especially true for those in the LGBTQ+ community) don’t really have well-established resources for finding out how to do a surrogacy journey properly, and the criteria for what “success” entails will differ from couple to couple based on their own expectations and needs. That being said, the Men Having Babies conference was an absolute help for us as we would likely not have known about Gift of Life Surrogacy if we did not attend that conference last fall, and it really helped us understand the full picture of what to expect from start to finish and had an informative panel of experts who weighed in and educated us and other couples.
7. Any helpful information/tips that would help the LGBTQ+ community when it comes to surrogacy?
In terms of advice for other families who identify as LGBTQ+, I would urge doing a thorough search and making sure that both you and your partner are on the same page throughout the journey. While trying to expand a family can be challenging and an emotional journey. Being there to support your partner before, during and after the process are critical. That and having a good amount of patience for letting the process play out.