For Daniel & Tyson, their daughter London was quite literally loved into existence. Knowing they wanted a family together was the easy part - understanding the complexities involved from a legal perspective and meeting all the criteria for surrogacy in Australia was the difficult part of the journey. In the process they have become vocal advocates for surrogacy in Australia, even charting out the Australian Surrogacy process chart for other couples attempting to make sense of the complicated process.
“I think as Tyson (Daniel’s husband) and myself grew up, we always knew being gay that we’d need to find an alternative way to have a family. Surrogacy was always something I had heard about but didn’t know anything about it or if it was even legal in Australia. As we embarked on this journey, we took a lot of time learning and a lot of time not knowing what was next,” explains Daniel.
Ultimately, it was Facebook - the connector of people and communities born through shared interests, that provided something of a turning point for the couple. “Once we found the community on Facebook it made it a little easier. We will be forever grateful to all that helped along the way and especially to our surrogate and donor who helped create the magic we only dreamed of. Because of this we are still active and continue to help within the community and are always available for advice if needed.”
Their story is particularly magical, with the couple’s donor egg provided through an old school friend Emma and then through the Egg Donation Australia Facebook group, they met their surrogate, Beth - with both women taking an active part in London’s life.
“Emma is great and upon receiving her donation she wanted to keep in touch but we also wanted this for London. As London’s parents we want London to know how she came about and who helped along the way. Emma is London’s aunty and we still see Emma and her family quite often.
“Conversations were had prior to any transfers and we welcomed Beth to be a part of our lives forever and play an active role as London’s aunty as well. We also see Beth regularly for catch ups and wouldn’t have it any other way,” Daniel explains of their extended family dynamic.
With surrogacy, communication is critical in ensuring everyone's needs and expectations are voiced, heard and managed at every step in the journey, including post-birth arrangements like feeding.
“When embarking on this journey it’s always a great idea to ask all the tough questions. It’s also a true testament to your relationship with your surrogate. With Tyson and I we very much listened to Beth and let her take the lead on most things and guide us through the process, especially being a mother herself,” Daniel says.
“London was very quick to adapt to bottle feeding and she was a very healthy eater. It did help form a special bond for both Tyson and I being able to feed our sweet little baby,” he continued.
“Whilst we understand the benefits of breastfeeding, we also wanted Beth to make the choice. Beth was already doing such an incredible thing for us we did not expect anything more. The decision was made that we would formula feed however Beth was more than happy to provide colostrum for the first week of London’s birth. This was an agreed decision and everyone was extremely happy,” he added.
Daniel and Tyson recently celebrated London’s first birthday, a milestone shared with her unique and loving family. Although the surrogacy process was complex and at times frustrating, the two dads are grateful they have been given the opportunity to become fathers through their donor, surrogate and their own sheer strength and determination.
“I think people need to understand that surrogacy is extremely special and it takes strong minded people to go through such a journey. A lot of trust goes into it. I think anyone wanting to embark on a surrogacy journey needs to understand that it’s a relationship and trust you need to form with a surrogate, this process shouldn’t be rushed and that you’re creating something special so the bond between you and your surrogate should be strong.”