Here at ART of Infertility we strive to share a diverse community of stories including those that feature LGBTQ experiences. This past July, at a hotel in California, Maria and Elizabeth met with Rob and Scotty, a couple trying to conceive a child by using an egg donor and a gestational carrier. A gestational carrier, or gestational surrogate, is a woman who carries a baby created using a donor egg, not her own, while a traditional surrogate both provides the egg and the womb. Together for five years, Rob and Scotty have tried multiple times to conceive and are sharing their story in order to educate those about the journey and struggles that they have been through. We are proud to showcase Rob and Scotty’s journey to have children together.
Rob has always wanted children. He can remember being a member of the online community, “Surrogate Moms Online” for almost ten years, looking for egg donors and surrogates to carry his child. At this point, he doesn’t even remember how he found the group, it has just always been a resource to utilize.
Jump to October 2009, when Rob met Scotty and they began dating. At this point, Rob had already been trying to have children for quite a while with a traditional surrogate and Scotty was still a student trying to finish up his degree. Early in their relationship, when Rob was still in the process of working with a traditional surrogate, Scotty realized that he wanted to have children too.
“When we were dating, he was doing that process and in our relationship I didn’t feel that the kid was going to be mine if it did actually become successful, it would just be, I’m dating this person and that’s their kid.”
Scotty explained that that was the moment when he realized he wanted to have kids with Rob. He didn’t know when but he knew that eventually, that would be the right move. Because he was still in school, it wasn’t quite the perfect time but he pitched the idea to Rob and proposed that their kids be at least half-siblings by using an egg donor and a gestational carrier. Scotty confirms, “That’s how I always wanted to approach it and I was glad he was on board.”
Rob agreed and they did plenty of research. After going to a surrogate “get-together” in the area, Rob and Scotty realized that it would be perfect to use a gestational carrier in order for all of their children to have the same maternal DNA through an egg donor.
According to Rob, it made sense to utilize the same maternal DNA and then use a separate gestational carrier, “Because we’re having two or three kids” and a traditional surrogate might not want to undergo another pregnancy.
When the time was right, Rob and Scotty began trying to conceive with the help of Doctor Aimee, their reproductive endocrinologist. After securing both an egg donor and what Rob and Scotty call an “oven” they were ready to begin the process. When asked what an “oven” is, Rob laughs and explains that an oven is a gestational carrier who does not provide the eggs, she just acts as the carrier.
After plenty of blood tests and paperwork, both men provided sperm samples in order to have multiple embryos. When determining whose embryo would be transferred to the donor first, it was clear to Scotty that Rob had been waiting a long time to have a child. “I’m going to love our kid the same, it doesn’t matter, it’s the same. We’ve talked about having them one year a part.”
Rob and Scotty seem to have it all strategically planned out but they still have some concern for what the future might hold. They’re cautiously optimistic about their future children and take everything one step at a time.
“We don’t tell anybody where we are in the process. My parents are both passed but my sister knew we wanted kids.” Rob explains that it is difficult to update friends, Facebook acquaintances and everyone else on their quest to have a baby when their situation is so precarious. “It sucks but it sucks more when you have to start telling the world, ‘Oh yeah, that didn’t happen.’”
When it comes to Scotty’s family, things are a bit more difficult. His family isn’t even aware that they are trying and according to Rob, “We don’t know how she’s [Scotty’s mom] going to react either because of their Latin culture and he was brought up Mormon but his mom does accept me, she likes me.”
Scotty knows that he’s going to wait a bit to tell his family when the time comes. “I mean, my siblings know that I want to be a parent one day but like he said, they don’t even know where we are in that process.”
Despite the caution and waiting, Scotty already knows how he would tell his family of the news. He plans on testing out the news with his siblings while out to dinner, featuring an ultrasound image. After that, he’ll tell his parents. I want to have them come over for dinner. I want to make food that I cooked with my mom and my dad that they taught me. I could tell them ‘Hey you guys passed this down to me and I know how to cook this and that.’” Scotty’s idea is that he would pass those traditions on to his own children in order to honor his parents.
To some, it may seem like a lot of planning and strategy to tell the family something so exciting. For Rob and Scotty, it’s everything. They know that their situation isn’t necessarily traditional and that is why they exercise so much caution when it comes to the subject of growing their family. They’ve had some success but endured quite a bit of pain along the way and it is difficult to take a step back and admit that things didn’t work out.
It’s been a long road for Rob and Scotty–an even longer one for Rob. For now, they’ll continue to document their journey and share their story with others who are experiencing the same struggle. Rob excitedly showed Maria and Elizabeth some photos of their experience. As he flipped through the images, he explained each detail. “So this is in the car before we left to go do the egg donation. That’s Starbucks when we got the newspaper and then driving there. This is outside there. This is where the donation is. And then this is in the lobby area.”
The two are still working on the process and hope that something good will happen soon. Although it’s difficult to always be patient, they’re working toward their goal and they’ll remember every step of the way, thanks to modern technology. Hopefully one day, they’ll be able to share their pictures with their kids and enlighten other LGBT families with their experience. We here at ART of Infertility wish them all the best.