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Jeff + Ed | A Family Building Story

June 8th, 2016 | 4 min. read

By Dan Woog

GayParentsToBe Jeff + Ed | Family Building Story

Personal Family Building Stories Part 2: Jeff + Ed. Get the inside scoop from real LGBT couples who have completed their family building journey as patients of Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT), the IVF fertility clinic with whom GayParentsToBe partners. Missed part 1 with Peter + Luis? Check it out here.

The Idea Of Building A Family | The Beginning

When Jeff Lord was growing up, he wanted children. But he was gay, and that was “completely unheard of.” For years, the feeling of not being able to have kids was his greatest regret.

When technology and society progressed to allow him the family he dreamed of, he was excited. But his partner Ed was not. He already had grown children, and joked, “It’s not all that great.” So Jeff resigned himself to never having children.

One night in a restaurant, Jeff saw a gay couple about his age, with three children. Ed sensed the sadness in his partner’s eyes. He began talking to people about reconsidering his decision. One was his ex-wife, with whom he remains close. She promised to help with childcare.

Ed told Jeff he was changing his mind.

“Both parents have to make the decision to have children equally,” Jeff notes. He tells straight friends, “you can buy $10 of wine and $30 for dinner, and end up with kids.” For a gay couple, things are much more involved.

Realizing they wanted to “do it right” – yet uncertain how to proceed – Jeff and Ed searched for “the best people” to help them have children.

The Egg Donor, Surrogacy & IVF Process | Getting There

A Boston agency specializing in gay couples found a surrogate: a young single mother from Virginia.

The agency found an egg donor too: a professor of horticulture from New Jersey. She had a child of her own, was a foster parent, and had done three previous egg donations.

The agency handled the legal paperwork. They also referred the couple to GayParentsToBe (in partnership with RMACT). Ed and Jeff Skyped twice, including an interview with Dr. Mark Leondires. They felt comfortable, and ready to proceed.

The surrogate flew up for testing. Ed and Jeff drove down from Massachusetts to GayParentsToBe, and met with the social worker and Nora Bolger, GayParentsToBe's Program Manager. She discussed how to manage expectations.

“Nora was fantastic – funny, and easy to talk to,” Ed recalls. “We still email and talk to her. She asks for pictures of the boys. RMACT is lucky to have her.”

Ed and Jeff call Nora “our baby concierge". She was our go-to person for any questions, and our contact with the surrogate. It’s amazing. When you sign up to do business with a fertility clinic, you don’t think you’ll make friends in the process. But they’re a great group of people.”

Dr. Mark Leondires became “not only our doctor, but someone we could go to for advice,” Jeff says. “He went through the entire procedure, from A to Z, in great detail. He was so patient with us.” They had a lot to talk about: Dr. Leondires had gone through a similar procedure to have his own children.

Ed and Jeff were present for the transfer of two embryos, in March of 2014. It was an emotional moment.

Their surrogate did indeed become pregnant – in a big way. A few months later the twins were born on September 4th.

Twins And Reflecting On The Journey | A New Beginning

The new parents stayed with their sons in Virginia for over three months. They were in frequent contact with Nora. “You can teach medical proficiency,” Jeff says. “But you can’t teach people to care the way we felt cared for at RMACT.”

Looking back, Jeff and Ed marvel at the process. After spending hours checking potential surrogates and egg donors, they feel they made “great decisions” about both. The women continue to be part of the family’s life. Their egg donor even saw the boys before they were baptized.

“That’s the kind of relationship we wanted,” Jeff says. “They gave us gifts we couldn’t do on our own. We’ll be eternally grateful to both of them.”

“We’re from a generation where gay men didn’t have children,” Ed notes. “It’s a fairly new phenomenon, unless you wanted to adopt. I was good with adopting, but Jeff felt really strongly about having a biologically related child of his own. My ex-wife knew how rewarding it was to have children of her own. She told me, ‘I hope 10 or 15 years from now Jeff doesn’t blame you for not having kids.’ That really made me think about it.” GayParentsToBe ( in partnership with RMACT) helped make the process as smooth as possible.

Though Jeff always wanted to be a parent, he still feels amazed. In fact, he says, “I underestimated the love I feel. It’s just great.”

“The minute you get those heartbeats, the fear of ‘am I doing the right thing?’ is over,” Ed adds.

PS: Remember Ed’s ex-wife, who helped convince him to be a father again? She’s now a godmother.

Ready To Become A Parent? Gay Surrogacy

Dan Woog

Dan Woog is a writer, educator and LGBT activist. He has written 17 books. Subjects include LGBT issues in gay education and the workplace, gay male athletes, and the importance of straight allies. He is also a co-founder of OutSpoken, Fairfield County’s support group for LGBT youth.

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