Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Melbourne Leader - "The Money that did Buy Happiness" by Hamish Heard

Nearly two years ago the dream of parenthood became a reality for gay Richmond couple Rodney Cruise and Jeff Chiang.

Taking out a $120,000 mortgage on their home seemed a tiny price to pay for the birth of their son, Ethan Chiang-Cruise, who arrived in January last year.

It all started in 2005.

"Jeff and I had been together for about 5 years and we both desperately wanted to have a child", Mr Cruise said.

After watching a documentary about one of the first gay Melbourne couples to parent a child using an overseas surrogate mother, the couple engaged a surrogacy agent in California.

The agent soon introduced the pair to Kelly, a woman from a small town in Ohio who agreed to carry an embryo fertilised using a donor egg and sperm from Mr Chiang or Mr Cruise.

"We immediately became very good friends with Kelly and three months after we met she had her first IVF cycle and got pregnant straight away," Mr Cruise said.

Mr Chiang has an Asian background and the pair, not wanting to fight over who was the biological father, used two egg donors.

One egg was from a Caucasian donor and the other had an Asian background, ensuring the child would be Eurasian regardless of its biological father.

"We haven't told anyone who the biological father is because that is something for Ethan to find out when he's older," Mr Cruise said.

Mr Cruise, 41, is a lawyer and Mr Chiang, 39, works in IT.

"It's impossible to describe the joy and excitement of seeing Ethan grow from this little baby into a toddler and learning to speak and walk, " Mr Cruise said.

"All parents have the same feeling.  He's the apple of our eye," he said.

Mr Cruise said the pair did not see their family structure as unusual.

"Things are changing and we know that Ethan is growing up in an environment that is not special., it's just one of the varieties that exists."

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