Saturday, June 19, 2010

QNews - “Gay Dads Australia” by Jonathan Duffy


Rodney Chiang-Cruise is a lawyer, husband and father. He is also a gay man. Rodney is a member of Gay Dads Australia, a group dedicated to gay men who want to become fathers. Jonathan Duffy recently had a chat with Rodney on the heels of the group’s annual forum. Rodney talks about the group, being a father and what it is actually like to go through the process of surrogacy.

Q: how did Gay Dads Australia start?

Rodney: About 5 years ago a gentleman called Lee Matthews and his partner Tony Wood did a documentary for SBS called Two men and a baby, about their surrogacy journey. Lee was involved with the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby. Through that he started what was initially Gay Dads Victoria. When we decided that we wanted to have a child through surrogacy we tracked Lee and Tony down (some would call it stalking but we weren’t the only ones). We had seen the documentary and wanted to know more. Back then there was little information around. We all became good friends and about four years ago we decided to expand to become Gay Dads Australia.

Q: When you and your partner decided to go down the road of surrogacy, did you know that it was an option for you?

Rodney: no. It was actually my mother who brought it to our attention. She had taped the documentary and told us we should watch it. We hadn’t even thought about it. We had looked at co-parenting and other options but had never considered it.  Our journey started from that point.

Q: Is it true that sometimes it can be expensive?

Rodney: Not as expensive as it used to be. When we went through surrogacy most of the dads were in their 30’s and 40’s because it demanded that you were at a certain place in your life. Usually it meant things like mortgaging your house, which is what we did. When we actually applied for the loan and told the bank manager what it was for, he was worried he wouldn’t get it through head office so he said “lets just put it through as home additions, non structural.”

Q: is it actually easier to go though surrogacy than adoption?

Rodney: Adoption isn’t an option in Australia. On record only one gay couple have ever adopted. They were in WA. There are only about 30 children in the entire country up for adoption each year. Those kids almost exclusively go to heterosexual, married, couples. There aren’t enough kids. Australia has one of the lowest adoption rates in the world because of this.

Q: So what is normally involved?

Rodney: There are two types of surrogacy, altruistic and commercial. Altruistic surrogacy is where there is no exchange of money. It is legal in Victoria, ACT, WA and now Queensland. No gay male couples have done it yet because it’s difficult to find a surrogate, and egg donor. We don’t really have a culture of surrogacy yet; it’s still very new. Most people, straight or gay, will use commercial surrogacy services and they’re mostly located in the US and now in India. The first thing you do is find an agency that will help you. You fly there, meet them, sign papers, pay some money, and then the process starts of finding a surrogate. That can take anywhere from two months to twelve months. At the same time you also have to find an egg donor. All commercial surrogates are called gestational surrogates, which means that the baby is not genetically related to her. You get an egg donor through another agency. Then you “dump the junk.” You make a sperm deposit. Then the egg is fertilised and the embryos are implanted through IVF. Then you come home and cross your fingers and hope you get pregnant. Probably about 60 to 70 per cent of people are successful on the first attempt.

Q: So how much have you spent just getting to this stage?

Rodney: once you get to the pregnancy you’ve probably spent US$60,000 to US$70,000. By the time the whole process is over you could be looking at US$120,000 to US$220,000. It is totally worth it though.

To see the whole interview go to

[Source: Original Article]

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