As part of our 15th Anniversary celebration, we are following up with some of our amazing FSC Families.
Jeffrey and Mack have been married for 6 years and have a beautiful daughter born through surrogacy and egg donation. They shared their experience with us in this one-on-one interview with Family Source Consultants CEO, Staci Swiderski.
Staci: We’re so still thankful that you’re willing to share your story and your family with everybody. So, I will hand it over to you for you to really introduce yourselves. I have some questions and we’ll talk about family building.
Jeffrey: Hi, my name is Jeffrey, and this is my husband, Mack. And we’re the Fernandez-Williams. And we are gay, married six years going on seven this spring. We’ve been together more than seven years. We have a beautiful two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. We’re very thankful to our surrogate company and our surrogate and everybody that was involved. And it’s been such a blessing to have our daughter.
Mack: Like what Jeff said, we have a child that was born through surrogacy. which you guys helped – Family Source Consultants. You guys are amazing and we’re very thankful and grateful for you guys. You guided us from the start to the end of our journey, and up to now. You are still staying in touch with us, which we appreciate.
Staci: As a same-sex couple, obviously you need a surrogate to carry for you, but how did you and Jeffrey decide that this was the route for you versus, say, adoption? When you met each other, did you know right away you wanted to have a family?
Jeffrey: Yes, we did. And we planned we planned out that we would have three years together and then we would go through surrogacy.
We looked at adoption too. And we went to several orphanages overseas. And so, we looked at that, but we were more interested in having a biological connection. So that’s why we ended up going with surrogacy.
Staci: What was important to you with choosing your surrogate? Everybody has different criteria, but what was really important to the two of you when you were seeing profiles?
Mack: Of course, we wanted our surrogate to be healthy, not smoking and not drinking alcohol. And she should have at least had a good support system in her family because it’s such an amazing journey. It’s a big sacrifice. So those are actually our main criteria.
Jeffrey: And then she had already, previously,at least have two full-term carries [pregnancies] of her own.
Mack: And we wanted an open relationship with her because she’s carrying our child. So we wanted to have her keep us updated with what’s going on.
Staci: Do you remember back when it was time for transfer? Were you present for that physically? What were your feelings around that?
Mack: We were not there and we would have wanted to be there. But I remember as you guys coordinated all her travels, her hotels, and everything, you guys took care of that. We were very excited at that moment. “It’s like really happening now.” It was just like, “Oh wow, we wanted to do this. And we want them to do that. But it’s really happening.” We can possibly have a child after a year or less than a year. It was pretty amazing.
Staci: So fast-forwarding a little bit to the delivery. I remember seeing the videos that you’ve shared when Maria was born. Do all those emotions come back? Can you remember that like it was yesterday?
Jeffrey: We went down actually for a couple of the sonograms. We actually toured the hospital prior to going with the hospital administrator so that we knew exactly what was going to happen and transpire.
Mack: Then right after Maria was born, the nurse came over and brought Maria. I can remember that she was that in the little, what is that incubator or bassinet.
I remember it was just the two of us. Jeffrey was filming me. I wish he could have somebody with us that would have filmed us. But it was Jeff filming me and it was such an emotional moment because, oh my God, that’s our child now. I remember myself crying.
Staci: Did you know the gender you transferred Maria? The sex of the two embryos?
Jeffrey: They were both girls. And we’re happy with that. Don’t get me wrong. We want a balanced family, but at the same time, we were so thrilled to have a daughter. We had hoped to have two. We definitely plan, as Catholics, to use all our embryos.
Mack: First of all, we didn’t have an option because they were all three girls. We did genetic testing. And that’s when we found out that they were all females. We had three embryos the first time, and they were all females.
Staci: So that brings me to the egg donor piece. Let’s talk a little bit about her. I know you had the opportunity actually to meet her in person about a year ago and that was your first time actually meeting her in person. I would love to hear more about why you chose her, other than the letter, and your unique story of her donating for you a second time.
Jeffrey: We received numerous files are so many women that have had so many great qualifications and some of them were six-foot-two, with two PhDs.. some of them were just great, but they had too many children already.
We didn’t want someone that was so popular. And we were a little bit concerned about how Maria would interact, what would happen in the future if she ran into siblings, would they have a connection? Would they not? And then we ran across the one that we chose.
Originally what we had originally thought was that I would use an Asian donor and Mack would use a white donor. Then our kids would both come out Amerasian and look Amerasian. They would look more “biologically correct”.
But through our research, and with help from your company, we found out that children that have a biological connection actually have a better relationship in the future. So that’s why we decided just to go with one egg donor.
Mack: She had the most beautiful letter to the parents and to the child. Which definitely sealed the deal about us choosing her. And then her looks were just a bonus.
Jeffrey: It really was the personality. And she was so much exactly like the letter she wrote. We had such a beautiful meeting in Chicago. We went out to dinner and her friend came.
We spent hours at the restaurant and then it went so well. We actually ended up having brunch the next day with just her. And there was a connection between her and Maria. We were very open. She was very open too.
We talked about her mom’s feelings about her being an egg donor. She has no children of her own. She was really reconsidering after playing with Maria. And we had talked about that. And then it was a little bit of oddness about it with Mack and her, because together they created a life, but yet she married somebody else and we’re gays. It was just different. It was a unique experience.
Staci: How is your relationship now with your egg donor?
Jeffrey: She keeps track of Maria.
Mack: We send her photos once in a while.
Jeffrey: We communicate with her. Not all the time. We don’t inundate her, but she’ll comment on certain things. We talked about where did Maria get her curly hair from. I actually had curly hair, but I am not genetically related.
I posted about it, and she commented, “oh my God.” And she does, she looks so much like the donor.
Mack: The reason why we tried to reach out to you guys about meeting her is it’s a good time for Maria to meet her. And we don’t know when she could meet her again. It’s also good for us to meet her in person. We wanted to see her, and we were very thankful that you guys made it possible for that to happen. It was a very special moment.
Staci: I would love to end it with just some words from the two of you of just motivation for other people going through the process
Jeffrey: We always recommend your company every time. We always tell people that on your first journey, for sure you should go with a good qualified, reputable company.
We always recommend you. And we tell people to always make sure you have a good lawyer. [Surrogacy] is still illegal in many states. It’s not legal. There are crazy laws in every state. So, you really just have to be careful how you transverse this.
Can I do a shout-out to our lawyer, Amy Colon here in Florida? You guys did a great job giving us lawyers recommended for each state.
Unfortunately, you have to get a lawyer from that state, wherever the surrogate lives. But Amy was fabulous, and she was recommended by your agency. And everything went so smoothly with her.
Mack: Jessica, Nicole, Ronda, and all of you guys are amazing.
Staci: Thank you. We so appreciate that. That’s our goal is to make sure that the intended parents, the surrogates, the egg donors just have a really smooth, happy, successful journey.
I really appreciate your time today. And your openness to sharing your life with the world. It’s appreciated by so many that you don’t even realize.
Mack: To all the intended parents. You will get there! The journey might be rough. You’ll be able to hold your baby and we’ll all be worth it.