Justin and Brett
We are 1 in 6… I remember early on in life my dreams and desires to be a dad, and, as I became older and more accepting of the fact that I was gay, these feelings very quickly became clouded in doubt. My biggest struggle with coming out was the perception in my mind that I would never be a father. It was something that weighed heavy on my heart more than anything I knew possible. My desire to be a father was no longer an option based on my sexual orientation, or so I thought.
When most discuss infertility they will quickly connect their mind to heterosexual couples that have unfortunately been dealt with this very real problem. Perhaps it’s individualized or as a couple…
What many may not think about, is that infertility is not only present in heterosexual relationships, it’s a very real issue in many different types of family dynamics, from same sex relationships, to, single men or single woman wanting to start families of their own. This is where Brett, my loving devoted partner and I fall within…Canada’s 1 in 6.
While Brett and I do not have any infertility issues individually, we unfortunately do as a couple. Being in a same sex relationship and basic science unfortunately have made us infertile as a couple, and without today’s modern medical advancements, fatherhood would be unattainable for us.
So here we have two loving committed people who want nothing more than to love and nurture a child and provide a life filled with the purest form of love, compassion and joy, but are not able to based on sexual orientation. Being as determined as I am, and knowing my sexuality could not be changed, I realized that I could, however, change my outlook on ways of creating a family.
I became inspired when we met our now very close friends Mark and Kyle, who created their family through surrogacy. As I sat back and watched their pure joy of fatherhood, it pushed me even further to find a way to create this very special bond between father and child in our lives. Seeing their family gave me hope and showed me that, yes, in fact we as a same sex couple can share the same joy as our heterosexual couple counterparts. I promised myself that once we had a family of our own I would do my upmost to inspire and support other couples and perspective parents, as Mark and Kyle did for us.
Our journey to parenthood started with two very special ladies who wanted us to share the joys of parenthood as much as we wanted it for ourselves. One being our surrogate, Raylene and the other our egg donor, Lisa. Between the four of us, we would be able to overcome our infertility as a couple as they individually carried the missing pieces needed for us to create our family. We started with Lisa and the egg retrieval process. This loving friend went through ten days of injections followed by the retrieval of 16 eggs in which 15 were fertilized 7 by me and 8 by my partner Brett.
I remember like it was yesterday the feeling as each second, minute, hour and day that passed by from the moment the retrieval and fertilization took place. It was full of excitement, yet filled with fear and questions. What if it does not work, what if they don’t become viable embryos, what if, what if, what if…. We went from 15 fertilized eggs to only 3 strong viable embryos in 5 days, which was terrifying within itself. Our doubts came to the forefront as we became riddled with the fear of this not working.
Then came the long awaited transfer date… We transferred two perfect little fresh embryos, one from me and one from my partner, and froze our remaining embryo. The feeling of “putting all our eggs in one basket” become very real at that very moment. I remember the feeling of seeing these little embryos on the screen and thinking to myself, there’s what love has created, and the realization that I was now within reach of fatherhood. As we left the clinic after our transfer, Raylene said to us, I am pregnant and I am sure of it and you WILL be Daddies…
34 weeks and 3 days later we were blessed to welcome our son Sawyer and daughter Jordyn into this world. They are a true product of two loving people who wanted nothing more than to be their Daddies. This became a reality with the assistance of their two loving “Aunties” and our incredible team of fertility professionals. Through one successful round of IVF, that family I so desired was finally here. With my heartfelt desire of a family complete, I had an even stronger connection to this process and the emotional toll it takes on you as an individual and together as a couple. While our transfer was successful and resulted in the birth of our twins, this outcome does not happen for all as quickly as it did for us.
When sharing our story, I often will say it was love and science that helped create our family. Without the medical advancements that we all have access to today, many would feel the heartache of infertility, in whichever form it may come. Through our process, we found infertility is more common than we once thought, and even present in our close social network of friends. Many fear talking about it, as the emotional and perceived social perception can be too much for some to deal with. I remember sitting in our fertility clinic and looking around at all the other couples that were there for the same reason as us…to start a family. I recall as I looked around and thought, “I would never have guessed they would need help” and then quickly realized that infertility does not have a specific face, a gender, nor does it have a sexual orientation. Infertility comes in many different forms and circumstances, yet effects us all the same. In years past, many of us would have suffered silently. Thankfully, we no longer need to as there is incredible support, resources and medical advancements that are now available to us…Canada’s 1 in 6.
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