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
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