Frank & Norm’s Story

FRANK AND NORM ARE THE PROUD FA­THERS OF TWO CHIL­DREN BORN THROUGH A SUR­RO­GATE. FRANK RE­CALLS THEIR JOUR­NEY TO PAR­ENT­HOOD WITH THE HELP OF FIRST STEPS FER­TIL­ITY

Pride Life Magazine - - SPONSORED FEATURE -

So our story... Where to be­gin?

I’ve al­ways known I would be a father. It’s just one of those things that you just know… be­ing gay kinda put a wrench into that plan but I was sure that some­how I’d make it hap­pen.

I was in­tro­duced to the world of fer­til­ity about seven years ago when I agreed to be a known donor for a lovely les­bian girl named An­drea. We met through mu­tual friends and, al­though I wasn’t ready to be a par­ent yet, I thought it was im­por­tant to help some­one else in need. Maybe I thought of it as adding to the fu­ture karmic bank or per­haps this was my way of learn­ing the ropes I would soon nav­i­gate on my own.

An­drea and her part­ner Emily had a beau­ti­ful baby girl in 2010 named Tobin.Through­out the process, Norm and I grew to be close friends with Emily and An­drea. We are now known as Un­cle Frank and Un­cle Norm and can’t imag­ine not be­ing a part of Tobin’s life.

At around that time (2010) Norm and I started our own jour­ney to par­ent­hood. We found a lo­cal fer­til­ity clinic in Lon­don (a city ap­prox­i­mately one hour away from Toronto) but it didn’t work out. As you well know, the rules are much dif­fer­ent for same-sex cou­ples and this clinic didn’t bother to learn the process prop­erly so we ran into many in­stances that added months and months to the time­line.

It was then that I re­alised we needed help from some­one who does know all the ins and out of same-sex fer­til­ity laws and sur­ro­gacy. An­drea, Emily and Doc­tor Dixon of First Steps Fer­til­ity share many mu­tual friends. So the girls took it upon them­selves to or­gan­ise a break­fast with sev­eral les­bian cou­ples and their kids. This event was later coined as the “les­bian break­fast”. I re­mem­ber how won­der­ful it was to meet so many moms who them­selves had many hur­dles and hoops to jump through to get the fam­i­lies they al­ways knew they’d have. I re­mem­ber be­ing sur­rounded by so many beau­ti­ful kids who in­stantly felt com­fort­able around me. Norm and I had a won­der­ful one-on-one con­ver­sa­tion with Doc­tor Dixon and im­me­di­ately I knew she’d be the one to help us on our jour­ney.

Af­ter our first ap­point­ment at First Steps, my to-do list was clear! The con­tacts (lawyer, so­cial worker, etc.) I got through the clinic were all ex­cep­tional and very pro­fes­sional. We went with a known donor, a friend of ours who em­braced our cause and now rel­ishes be­ing an aun­tie to our kids. All the in­struc­tions and sched­ul­ing for the “har­vest” and the in­sem­i­na­tion were all clear and that process went very well. Within a few short months we had frozen em­bryos wait­ing for the next big step - a sur­ro­gate.

This was prob­a­bly the most chal­leng­ing part of our jour­ney… find­ing the right sur­ro­gate. I signed up with a sur­ro­gacy agency and was able to re­view pro­files to see if they matched our re­quire­ments. We wanted some­one lo­cal to help best sup­port the process and at­tend ap­point­ments to­gether. We wanted some­one rel­a­tively sta­ble in their lives who had plenty of sup­port from fam­ily and friends. We also wanted some­one we could con­nect with. As a bonus, it would be great if our kids knew both our donor and our sur­ro­gate to help com­plete the won­der­ful story of their cre­ation.

Af­ter sev­eral months of search­ing, we fi­nally met An­gela. She wasn’t even part of the pro­files I re­viewed. She was a cu­ri­ous po­ten­tial sur­ro­gate who was on the agency’s Face­book group look­ing for more info. Our con­nec­tion was pretty in­stant. We chat­ted for a few days and then she in­vited us to her home for sup­per. We met her fam­ily of four kids and fell in love with all of them. I re­mem­ber go­ing home from this din­ner in the car with Norm think­ing how this could be the one. Even though my ex­cite­ment was over­flow­ing, Norm (al­ways be­ing the voice of rea­son) re­minded me of the past year’s strug­gles and how we needed to keep in check in case this didn’t work out.

Once An­gela gave into our un­wa­ver­ing charm, we jumped into my al­ready wait­ing To Do list, drafted a con­tract, and set up to in­tro­duce An­gela to Doc­tor Dixon. Ev­ery­thing went smoothly af­ter that. The clinic was fab­u­lous with An­gela. They lis­tened to her fears and al­ways made them­selves avail­able to her ques­tions and con­cerns. There were many ap­point­ments where ei­ther Norm or I had to drive An­gela to Toronto so a lot more bond­ing hap­pened on the road… and many of th­ese trips were in the win­ter so you can imag­ine how much fun they were!

We were all giddy and high with ex­cite­ment through­out all the prepa­ra­tion. Even the in­jec­tions were bear­able and An­gela hardly ever com­plained. Af­ter our first failed trans­fer, I re­mem­ber An­gela be­ing the one who was the most up­set. The re­al­ity of the process hit her the hard­est but we all got through it and were ready for an­other trans­fer the fol­low­ing month.

I re­mem­ber An­gela pee­ing on sticks al­most ev­ery day af­ter the trans­fer! And sure enough, we had a pos­i­tive! Be­cause it was the dead of win­ter and she lives about an hour away from us, she had taken a video of sev­eral pee sticks so that we could watch the pos­i­tives ap­pear to­gether. It was in­cred­i­ble… I watched that video dozens of times to make sure it was real. The preg­nancy went very smoothly. All the while we got to know An­gela and her fam­ily a whole lot bet­ter.

Luca’s birth was rel­a­tively un­com­pli­cated and life was never the same af­ter that. Soon af­ter Luca was born, An­gela let us know that she wouldn’t have it any other way than to help us com­plete our fam­ily with a se­cond sur­ro­gacy jour­ney. Two years later, Nico was born.

“We were all giddy and high with ex­cite­ment through­out all the prepa­ra­tion”

FRANK AND NORM WITH THEIR CHIL­DREN NICO AND LUCA

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