When Juan started dating Sergio, he knew he’d found the One. But to be completely sure, there was something he had to check first.
“I just asked him point-blank: are you willing to have a child? Because it’s something that I really want… and it’s a deal-breaker.”
Sergio couldn’t have had a better answer.
“He said, ‘Of course – who would not want to have a child?'”
As it turned out, Chilean-born Sergio shared Juan’s dream of becoming a dad but hadn’t imagined two men could build a family together.
At that stage, Sergio was already in his late 40s and Juan in his mid-30s, so both were aware that time was ticking. A former professional soccer player, Sergio wanted to have children while he was still agile enough to kick a ball around with his protégé.
The couple got engaged in March 2019 and attended a Men Having Babies conference shortly afterward. It was just the inspiration they needed to get the ball rolling.
A visit to Family Source Consultants in Chicago sealed the deal: they knew the vibe was right and signed on without hesitation.
The matching process
Once FSC directed them through the process of finding a loan, their first step was to find an egg donor and a surrogate.
Although the first surrogate they were matched with wasn’t the right fit, they were delighted with their second.
“She was perfect. The photo showed a loving, nurturing family, and we were like, that’s what we want.”
Erica had been through the process before and lived within driving distance of their home in Chicago, which meant they wouldn’t have to fly with a newborn.
In January, they met Erica and her husband in person when she came to Chicago for her screening. Over dinner, they knew they’d made the right choice.
“They were good people – the kind of people we would be friends with if they lived here,” Juan says.
The screening process was followed by several months of sorting out the contract with lawyers. Juan said this was the slowest part of the process.
“There’s a lot more detail than a lot of people think. I didn’t realize it was also going to take a few months, so that’s good for people to keep in mind.
While surrogacy contracts were being sorted, their chosen egg donor had her cycle. Unfortunately, it wasn’t successful. After some debate, Juan and Sergio decided to move on to another egg donor.
Then, COVID hit, which delayed things even further.
The contract with the surrogate was finalized in May, and luckily, the embryo transfer with their new donor was successful. Juan and Sergio were thrilled!
Juan and Sergio remained in close contact with Erica throughout the pregnancy.
“We would chat about her daughters or her dog and whatever we were doing. She would send us updates every week and pictures of her belly.”
COVID prevented them from attending appointments, but Erica managed to sneak her phone into one of her ultrasounds so they could at least hear the heartbeat. She also sent photos of the scans and took her phone to doctor’s appointments so they could listen to what was being said.
“We really trusted her and trusted that she knew what she was doing. She would ask us, ‘What do you think about this versus that, and we were like, ‘Well, it’s your body. I know it’s our baby, but as long as our baby is safe, you make the decisions about what you feel is best,'” Juan says. “But we really appreciated that she always involved us.”
He explains that she was worried that they would miss the birth if the delivery was unscheduled.
“We were so taken aback by that that she was really considering us. We said we just want a healthy baby – we trust you guys. We know that if we’re not there, the baby will be in good hands.”
The birth and beyond…
The pregnancy went smoothly, but the birth took everyone by surprise. During a parentage proceeding meeting on Zoom, Juan noticed that Erica looked a little uncomfortable.
Afterward, she admitted she was feeling some pain but put it down to being a little dehydrated.
A few hours later, her husband called to say that she had been taken to hospital. Then he called again: the baby was coming. Little Tomas was born that evening.
After a short stay in NICU, Juan and Sergio’s new arrival was healthy enough to go home. Their surrogate also got her wish to spend some time with him before Juan and Sergio took him home.
Tomas is now two months old and doing well. Juan and Sergio have been keeping in touch with their surrogate and her family. They also have plans for a reunion soon so that Erica’s daughters can meet Tomas.
Juan says that his own family and friends were fully supportive throughout the journey, especially after assuming he would never have children.
“They were all excited. If anything, people were just surprised because not a lot of people know that gay couples can do this. A lot of women were like, ‘Someone is volunteering to get pregnant for you guys? Wow, I would never be able to do that!'”
Juan and Sergio felt that Family Source Consultants helped make everything their 20-month journey much easier for everyone involved. Their FSC case manager kept them informed of appointments and other milestones and guided them through the parentage process.
“They were on top of everything. Whenever a date was approaching for something, they would contact us. Even when there was not a lot going on, she would still check in every week or two. The whole time it was great communication.”
Now that he and Sergio are finally dads, Juan urges anyone else considering surrogacy to just go with their gut – but also to be realistic.
“You know pregnancies take 10 months, but this feels like two years! By the time you get pregnant, it’s already taken a year to start the process,” Juan says.
“There’s going to be unexpected expenses, but I wouldn’t focus too much on that. Just trust your gut, be mentally prepared for the process. It’s not a typical pregnancy: the process takes a lot longer. Make sure that you are prepared for bumps in the road. Just enjoy it and think about the finish line. Think about that beautiful end result – that will keep you motivated.”
Learn More About Becoming a Parent Through Surrogacy or Egg Donation
We invite you to learn more about the miraculous route to parenthood via surrogacy or egg donation by requesting a no-cost in-person consultation at one of Family Source Consultants’ offices or from your own location by video conference. For those who reside outside of the United States, our team includes International Coordinators who speak fluently in multiple languages. We would be pleased to assist with an interpreter in your native language, if necessary.