“Our Little One Was Born in the USA!” One Couple’s USA Surrogacy Adventure

Posted by on March 2, 2019 in Conscious Living, Inspirational with 0 Comments

One couple's story of going abroad to get the child they’ve always wanted.

Monschau is a sleepy German town, that rests near the mildly confusing border between Belgium and Germany. The town has only about 12,000 residents and is nestled between two large nature reserves. Monschau is pretty much exactly what you would expect from any quiet west German town. All of the houses and buildings are superbly kept, each lawn manicured perfectly. The people are friendly, but largely keep to themselves, and the streets are filled with rambunctious children.

Alexander and Thomas want to add to this stunning scenery. They already have the modest, but proud house with perfectly groomed yard. Two cars for ease of travel to their respective jobs. The only thing their idyllic lives were missing was a child. While Germany legalized same sex marriage in 2017, the country was still on rocky ground in recognizing the legal status and citizenship of children born via surrogate. Adoption and step-child adoption rights had been available to LGBTQ relationships since 2005, it wasn’t until 2017 that the queer community was allowed the same adoption rights and recognitions that were extended to heterosexual couples.

The two had been together for almost 15 years before they were legally allowed to marry. “That was such a huge moment for us” Alexander recalls. “It never seemed outrageous that we couldn’t get married, our government recognized our partnership, our neighbors knew and didn’t mind. I don’t know that we ever felt less than. Until the day we started discussing the fact that we wanted a child.”

While Germany offers its LGBTQ citizens most rights that it offers anyone else, the subject of surrogacy is still vague at best. For any of its residents. While the country itself doesn't offer surrogacy, and has deemed it illegal, the government can still grant citizenship to children born via surrogate to German parents. The parents just have to look elsewhere for their surrogacy needs.

“I wanted to go through Canada” Thomas states, playfully pouting as he looks up to his burly and bearded husband. “But Alex made a plea for California, and in hindsight, I’m so happy that he did.” In searching out different avenues that were available to them, the couple discovered that surrogacy in the United States was, legally, their best option.

The United States and Germany have simple visitation laws that can allow residents from either country to visit freely for multiple months at a time. All you need to travel between the two is a valid passport. The couple also said that the laws in California regarding surrogacy referenced the LGBTQ community specifically. Making it mandatory that Alex and Thomas were named as the legal parents on the child’s birth certificate.

Working as a team, the two were able to narrow down a suitable donor fairly quickly. Now came the task of finding the right surrogate. “It made everything so much simpler when we found the right help. We had heard horror stories of couples waiting for years to be able to find a surrogate, and I think we were both really nervous about that.” Alex shares. “The US surrogacy agency we chose was phenomenal though, and in after about 8 weeks of interviews and video meetings, we were flying into the US to meet our surrogate and start the IVF process.”

The couple says the whole process, from choosing a surrogate, to negotiating a surrogate contract, to implantation the fertilized eggs took about 2 weeks. “It was all very quick.” Thom marvels. “Honestly, I remember it seeming to take forever and then poof it was done.” The couple says that the dreaded “two week wait” was the worst part of the entire journey for them.

With IVF treatments, it takes two weeks to be able to give a reliable answer to whether or not the fertilized egg has fully attached to the lining of the uterus. Implantation rates in the US hover around 65% success based on the maturity and status of the donated eggs. The couple states that they elected to only have one fertilized egg implanted at a time, to dissuade the probability of multiple births. “We wouldn’t have minded twins, but all we wanted was a healthy baby” Carrying multiple children can put both the surrogate mother, and the babies, at risk. Thomas and Alexander wanted to keep any risk as low as possible.

In California, surrogates must pass a series of medical and psychological evaluations prior to becoming candidates, ensure to the best ability that they will be fit for the challenges that pregnancy can bring. They also must have at least one child of their own. Alexander and Thomas said that they were encouraged to create a relationship with their surrogate should they want to, but the distance and stress proved to be too much.

Following the birth of their daughter, Alex and Thom wrote their surrogate a letter, explaining how grateful they were to her and what she means to them. “I can hardly talk about it without tearing up” Thom admits. “We’re just so grateful to her. That type of kindness, that true selflessness, is so incredibly hard to come by and we feel utterly blessed that someone would do this for us.” While their surrogate mother fully understood the implications and the degree of difficulty nurturing that type of relationship can cause, the agency told the couple that she had indeed received the letter, and was thrilled and humbled to receive it.

A little over a year after their journey had started, Alex and Thom welcomed a 7lb 4oz baby girl into the world. Naming her Marina, after Thomas’s late aunt. The men said that getting their child home was surprisingly easy and that they had just received her official documents in the mail not two months ago, just shy of Marina’s 2nd birthday.

“It was the best birthday present she will ever receive. And the most expensive!” Alex jokes.

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