Creating families, across borders

Eloise Edington  |   17 Aug 2022

One thing is clear – you want to grow your family. But so often, that’s where the clarity ends. Frustratingly in 2022, this is still the reality for gay couples across the globe. Not-for-profit Growing Families are set up to change this. They work with thousands of gay, heterosexual and single intended parents around the world, supporting their unique family-building journey.

How are gay couples building families?

From webinars and seminars to conferences and customised support, Growing Families have assisted over 3,000 intended parents, across 10 years. And the future looks truly exciting. Today this amazing organisation are covering two gay couples’ journeys to parenthood. It may just be the nudge you need. 

Over to Growing Families – 

Robert & Sanan

Robert and Sanan live in northern Sweden. By the time they hit their forties, they’d been together for more than fifteen years. Robert had two sisters, eight and ten years his senior. Sanan is from Thailand. About ten years into their relationship, Sanan spoke to Robert about his dream of having children. Robert stalled – it wasn’t a notion he’d even thought possible.

A couple of years later, without telling Sanan, Robert started researching their options. Around the same time, friends with two children stayed for a week.

‘We just had so much fun with them,’ Robert recalled. Their stay reinforced how much family meant, and that the time was right. The couple began exploring options.


Surrogacy is Challenging In Sweden

Swedish law currently prohibits surrogacy. So the couple needed to engage with a country which permitted foreign intended parent applicants. Unfortunately, there aren’t many. 

Meanwhile, Sanan’s younger sister, Sunee – a single mum with two children – had agreed to be their egg donor years before. 

‘Why not?’ she said, when they raised the question. ‘Of course I’ll help you.’

As well as becoming parents, it meant both Robert and Sanan could have a genetic connection with their future baby.

Canadian support

In 2015, with support from Growing Families, the couple heard about a program in Canada – Canadian Fertility Consulting – which recruited local surrogates to carry altruistically. They were soon matched with Daly, a mum of two children.

Asked many times why she’d carry a baby for another family, Daly’s son summed it up. 

‘There’s two people who can’t have a baby, so my mum is having one for them. It’s important to help people.’ 

Sometimes, it’s said best in the simplest way.

Gearoid & Seamus

Gearoid and Seamus are an Irish married couple who faced the same lack of access to surrogacy in their home country. They began a surrogacy journey in Canada, but four separate embryo transfers to their surrogate failed to achieve a viable pregnancy. 

Success in California 

With no embryos left, they regrouped and switched to a renowned Californian IVF clinic and US egg donor. After self-matching with a UK altruistic surrogate, they began working out the logistics of an embryo transfer in California. The first transfer worked, and they welcomed twins Sean and Mary in September 2018.

Covid, Northern Cyprus and a third baby 

Incredibly, their surrogate was happy to carry a second time. But with the world deep in Covid-19, the couple’s cross-borders journey was looking very different. Ruling out a second transfer in the US, Gearoid and Seamus turned to Growing Families for help. Our team worked quickly to put the family in touch with a clinic in Northern Cyprus, who were set up to accept their US embryos.

Round-the-world journeys to parenthood

With their family-building journeys unfolding in Sweden, Thailand, Canada, Ireland, the UK, US and North Cyprus, straightforward wasn’t on the cards. But, with support, guidance and signposting from Growing Families and many talented professionals, Robert and Sanan, and Gearoid and Seamus are now proud and happy parents.

Meet Gearoid at our Dublin conference on 10 September 2022, where he’ll share his experience with Growing Families, and the insight and learnings he’d love other intended parents to have. 

Plus, we’re excited to welcome other parents and experts – from Canada and Cyprus-based friends, to trusted advisers in the USA – to share their knowledge and need-to-know tips. Book your spot – we can’t wait to see you there.

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