When we started our surrogacy journey in 2018, we had no idea what to expect. From beginning to end, it took us roughly four years to finally meet our child. Our journey was full of surprises at every turn, but it was worth it.
As we reflect on the surrogacy process, there are so many things we’re grateful for. We are thankful for the lessons and milestones our surrogate helped us achieve. Through this process, we learned about patience, acceptance and unconditional love. We also learned about the strength of our own family unit. These are all priceless lessons that we will carry with us forever.
One of the things that made our journey unique is that we chose not to go through an agency. We loved our fertility doctor, Dr. Leondires, so we wanted to work with him and trusted him to guide us through the process. His office is based in Connecticut, and since we were married there and were living in New York City at the time, it was an easy choice.
Surrogacy is expensive. Not just uncomfortably expensive, but a “never-ending set of expenses” expensive. We tried not to think too much about the expenses and just take it one day at a time. It was important to us for our child to be biological. Some people get very opinionated about this, but it really is a personal decision.
Once we had the embryos frozen, we needed to find a carrier. Bret, being the most curious, read about Facebook groups where others had success matching with a carrier, so he proceeded to hop in and chat with people. It was a hodgepodge of sketchy-looking accounts and people who legitimately wanted money. However, someone reached out that seemed like a kind soul with experience as a surrogate. We had a Zoom call with her and her husband and even had a team day with our doctor to get the OK for her to carry.
Our doctor warned us that he didn’t feel comfortable with her, but he would support us if she wanted to go through it. We were ready to go, but then both of us lost our jobs. We were financially strapped and needed to put the process on hold. This Gestational carrier told us as long as we started before December she was good. We called her when we were ready and financially stable to tell her the good news. She told us she was no longer interested. We were devastated, having worked so hard to get to this point.
A few weeks later, we were at a friend’s birthday party and an acquaintance we met in Orlando a year before was there. Krystle and her family were the loveliest people and so much fun. At the party, Krystle offered her condolences on the loss of our surrogate, and then offered to carry our baby for us.
So many people were discussing this with us, so we were naturally cynical. But the next day, she called and said, “I’m serious. I wouldn’t offer this to just anyone, but you two would be such great parents.”
We are also grateful for the amazing support system we had throughout the surrogacy process. Our friends and family were there for us every step of the way, cheering us on and offering words of encouragement. We could not have done it without them!
Most of all, we are grateful for our surrogate. She was an absolute angel throughout this entire process. She went above and beyond to make sure we were comfortable and happy, and she treated our baby with so much love and care. We will be forever grateful to her for giving us the greatest gift of all: our beautiful son.
If you’re considering surrogacy, or if you’re in the midst of the process, we hope our story can give you some insight and inspiration. Surrogacy is an amazing journey, and it’s full of challenges and rewards. It’s a decision that should not be taken lightly, but we are so glad we made the choice to become parents through surrogacy. We would do it all over again in a heartbeat!
Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna started Broadway Husbands, an online community for creatives, parents, LGBTQ+ people and performing arts enthusiasts, when they got married in 2011. As actors on and off stage, the husbands share their own experiences as new parents, performing artists and entrepreneurs to give people the tools and insights they need to lead successful careers and fulfilling, multidimensional lives. They moved from New York to Houston in 2020, where they are raising their son, Maverick. Learn more about Broadway Husbands on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.