Ivan and I got together in early 2008. We’d known each other for about 4 or 5 years before that, but it wasn’t until both our circumstances changed that we opened our eyes and realised we wanted to be together. Forever. I’m not quite sure who he pissed off. Or just how bad he was in a former life. But he was stuck with me. Personally, I couldn’t have been happier, he’s hot. And actually a really nice person too. He makes me laugh, he’s clever, and kind. And he truly cares for me. How could I be happier!
Then my sister Lorna aka ‘The Angel’ came along and threw that idea out of the window.
It was early summer of the same year that Lorna came and visited us. Now I can’t quite remember how the conversation started; maybe that’s down to child induced dementia, or maybe one too many drunken nights at the aforementioned gay bar, or maybe simply because subsequent events took over and shadowed it. What I do remember however is that we were both gob smacked. I remember we were sat at our dining table and Lorna said something like “I think you guys would make great Dad’s and I would like to have a baby for you.”
Oh my god!
Now I know Ivan had always wanted kids. He was great with our nieces and nephew’s and he’d previously explored the idea of fostering. Me, I love kids too. But I love to give them back. We had previously had that conversation, about kids, we’d both agreed that we’d love them. But, in reality, we’d never really considered it was an option. Certainly not in that way. The notion was up there with unicorns and fairies. Ok, maybe not the latter. We’d both had enough experience of them to know they really did exist. Our own baby though? We’re gay. It’s unheard of. Certainly in our circle. Sure, we had friends who had children in straight relationships and then come out. But to create or own? Was it even legal?!
Funny thing is we didn’t even have to look at each other to know the answer we’d end up giving. I remember turning to look at Ivan and seeing the hope in his eyes. I’m sure he must have seen the same reflected in mine. There was a childish excitement to his face. A flush to his cheeks, maybe caused by the wine, but more likely sheer delight.
My memory fails me again on how the rest of the evening went. Definitely alcohol this time. My sister left for a weekend break and we all agreed to think about it and meet a couple of days later to discuss things rationally. All Ivan and I could do was discuss baby names and nursery colours. We tried to do the adult thing, to be honest we, ok me, struggle with that most of the time. We did manage to get a list of questions together for when Lorna returned. The biggest being ‘what if you can’t give the baby up?’ Lorna was blessed enough to have two beautiful daughters of her own and she was adamant that she didn’t want more. In the end we decided to taker her word for it. After all, what more could we do? We thought about a legal contract but Ivan and I both said that if the unthinkable happened and she couldn’t give up the baby then no legal document could force a break in that bond. Of course we had loads more questions that we tossed backward and forward…… I think we all knew that we were going to go ahead with things. How on earth could we miss such a gift being offered to us. It was our chance to lead the life we’d always wanted. The life we’d discussed. The chance to be a ‘normal’ family. To cut a really long story short we said yes please.
We consulted with Natalie Gamble the leading solicitor in surrogacy issues. Through this we discovered that at the time it was not legal for persons who were unmarried…and a civil partnership wasn’t good enough…. to use a UK surrogate to have a baby. You could go to America and do it, but then there were complications around parental rights on returning to the UK with said child.
There was hope however. Changes in the human fertility and embryology act that were going through parliament would mean that unmarried partners could use a UK surrogate to have a baby as long as no payment was made amongst other requirements. I must stress. This was a consequential result of the act being changed and not an intentional alteration to allow same sex couples to have a baby. Thank fuck for that oversight!
It was going to take some time for the act to go through parliament, but we were convinced it would. In the meantime we knew that as my sister would be having the baby using Ivans sperm and her own egg we could have parental responsibility through kinship fostering.
We decided to start as soon as possible. Why delay.
Now we established Lorna’s most fertile dates, purchased a turkey baster, and invited her over. I won’t post details, but Ivan did the deed and we despatched Lorna into the guest room with the glass full, well not quite full, and the aforementioned items. Lorna emerged some time later. We all looked at each other awkwardly. Had a cup of tea. Then repeated the process. Lorna left and we eagerly awaited her call a couple of weeks later to say she was pregnant. We were gutted when she didn’t fall the first time. I know. It was so unlikely to happen straight off, but we lived in hope. Still, we weren’t giving up!
The next month we met again. Same routine. Sadly same result.
The following month we met again. Same routine. Different tool. Lorna decided the turkey baster just wasn’t up to the job. I never thought I would visit the chemist and ask for the biggest syringe they had but I’m bloody glad I did. We waited like we had the previous two months. This time Lorna visited a few days before she was due on. She was supposedly delivering a bird cage to us. I can’t believe we were so dumb to believe that.
Our Angel walked through our door and in her hand was a positive pregnancy test! Dam her, the bitch made us cry! Once we had finished crying we danced around the kitchen in glee, hugging and kissing her.
Lorna. You truly are our Angel. You have given us the greatest gift in the world. Words cannot express our love and gratitude to you and your family.
We were going to be Dad’s!!!