Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Letter to Our Future Surrogate

Goodbye India.

We were so excited to visit India and start the process there in the next couple months.  But as of last Tuesday those plans have been squashed by my parents, aka the first time grandparents-to-be.

The conversation started with their desire to be at the birth of their grandchild and ended with them committing to assist us with surrogacy here.

Hello California!

While saddened with the news we won't be traveling overseas, we are thrilled at the idea of starting our family locally.  There are a number of advantages with the biggest one being the birth certificate. California allows two people, no matter their sex, to be listed on the birth certificate.  This means when our child(ren) are born, the birth certificate will read "Parents: Robbie & Allen".  Yay!   :)

As we've begun interviewing surrogacy agencies again they all require we write a letter and include photos to our prospective surrogate. We'll still keep posting about our journey but I end this post with an open letter to our surro-to-be:

Less than 5 years ago I couldn’t have dreamt of writing this letter to you.  I wasn’t out of the closet.  I wasn’t dating men.  I wasn’t open and honest with myself, my family, or my friends about who I really was.  I was in complete and utter denial.  I couldn’t be gay, I just couldn’t.  I wanted what all my buddies had: a wife and kids.  Accepting the fact I was gay meant I couldn’t have a family.  Or could I?

Less than 5 years ago I thought my life was close to perfect.  I owned my own home.  I had a great job.  I had all the close friendships one could hope for.  I was also dating women but I always found something wrong with each one.  My parents would joke each date was another Seinfeld episode.  This one’s hands were too big.  Another depended on how the lighting was hitting her face.  I never clicked with any of them.  I couldn’t be gay, I just couldn’t.  I wanted a family of my own.  I wanted my kids to be biologically related to me and my spouse.  Accepting the fact I was gay meant I couldn’t have a family.  Or could I?

Less than 5 years ago I went on to and changed my match from “men looking for women” to “men looking for men”.  I had done this switch before just to browse but I never acted on it.  This time I logged on and saw Allen’s profile, a profile I had seen multiple times over the years.  The first picture was him smiling, arms in the air, he looked so happy.  The next photo he was smiling, holding a puppy, he looked so happy.  On and on each picture he was smiling and he looked so happy.  And handsome!  Did I mention how hot and handsome he was!  I couldn’t be gay, I just couldn’t.  I couldn’t contact him.  Or could I?

I clicked the button and sent him a wink.

Clicking that button and sending Allen a wink was the beginning of the rest of my life.  Clicking that button confirmed my fears that I was gay.  Clicking that button made me sick to my stomach.  What if he didn’t respond?  And why wouldn’t he respond!  I’m a catch!  OMG.  Why did I click that button!  I couldn’t be gay, I just couldn’t.  Or could I?

Allen went to work the next day and logged into to cancel his account.  He saw he had a pending wink from a really attractive, handsome, sexy, (I could go on) guy.  He wrote me back asking to meet.  We met the next day and nearly each day thereafter.  On our first date we even discussed having kids, it was a requirement for both of us.  We both wanted to be dads.  We became inseparable and I instantly fell in love with him.  I had never felt this way about anyone, ever.  But how could I fall in love with a man?  I couldn’t be gay, I just couldn’t.  I am.  I definitely am.

Less than 5 years ago I couldn’t have dreamt of writing this letter to you.  Yet now I wake up every morning thinking about you.  You’re the topic of conversation during breakfast.  You’re the topic of conversation around the water cooler at work.  You’re the topic of conversation at dinner.  You’re the topic of conversation as we crawl into bed each night.  But who are you?

We know who you are.  You’re an incredibly strong woman with an unbelievably huge heart.  You’re kind, caring, considerate, and loving.  Unlike me 5 years ago, you always knew I could have a family.  (I just wish you would have told me sooner!)  You may not have been at our wedding but you’ll be there at the start of our family.  You’re accepting of the GLBT community and believe in marriage equality.

You too have dreams of the family you’re going to help start.  You dream they are deserving of a child but they just need some help in making it happen.  You dream they have an incredible support system of family and friends excited to meet you and thank you.  You dream you’ve been searching for the ideal IP’s, a happily married couple who will provide undying love and undivided attention to the bundle of joy you help bring into this world. 

We can’t wait to meet you so all of our dreams can come true.

Robbie + Allen

Saturday, November 17, 2012


I think we've had eggs every which way you could imagine:

Scrambled? - check.
Hard Boiled? - check.
Soft Boiled? - check.
Sunny Side Up? - check.
Over Easy? - check.
Fertile? - check.


Fertile? - check.

That's right!  It looks like we've secured our egg donor!  Not just any egg donor, a donor with an AMAZING follicle count of 27.  

You read that right: 27!

I know we shouldn't get too excited because there's a long road ahead but this is eggcellent news! We've only shared it with our parents (and all of you -- our fellow IP friends!).

There's still a ways to go but one more hurdle out of the way!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Upon endorsement

Our close friends just had their third son. That's right, third. I mean how many do you really need?  They've already got two. We'd be happy with just one!

When we initially heard they were pregnant we offered $30,000 for the baby.  We were serious.  She said if it's a girl she's keeping it but if it's another boy she'd consider selling it to us. 

It was a boy - horray!

We finally met the little guy at his bris last week and brought along a check for $30,000.  Terms and conditions of the check are below:

I can't seem to turn the photo so just turn your head.

Let's just say the check is now void.

In the meantime our hunt continues for an egg donor.  We've got 3 lined up all pending blood tests and ultrasound follicle scans.  But I can't stand all the downtime for testing! There's so much waiting since these tests should only be done on the third day of the cycle and the donor cannot be on any birth control (or you have to wait another month for them to be off it!).

Sort of on a side note.... who knew being gay would cause us to be so educated and focused on a woman's period! 

If one of these awesome ladies works out, we should know by the end of the month!  Here's to hoping our next post is the announcement of finding the egg donor.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The (not so) Incredible (definitely not) Edible Egg

We found an amazing egg donor.  We met her and her amazing daughter.  We had amazing communications.  She gave her amazing blood to be tested.  The amazing doctors said her ovaries were not that amazing.  Actually we were told " will be a big risk taking her as an egg donor...she is not an ideal candidate at all for egg donation.".

The search, sadly, continues.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Marketing 101

We lost our original egg donor so it was time to circle the wagons and figure out how to start our family and make this baby happen!

Most of our friends are like us too *cough* old *cough* to donate an egg.  OK they're not "too" old but in the ideal world of IVF their eggs have seen better days.  So ideally, we want someone younger.

Ca-ching and I use the term specialist loosely.  We crunched the numbers.  $7,500 to $10,000 for an egg.  $6,500 for the locator company.  Then it's another $25,000+ to harvest, fertilize, and ship.  As my grandma would have said: "Oy vey!".  Plus where do these egg donor websites find all of these amazing women willing to donate eggs and/or be surrogates?  Craigslist, that's where.  The ads lead them to a survey to apply to donate.  If that's what it takes to be a specialist, I can do that.

Marketing 101
I run a number of businesses with my dad and handle all the marketing.  We also did some pretty crazy campaigning for the Crate & Barrel Ultimate Wedding Contest placing 3rd out of 7,500+ couples (with the winners actually being selected by C&B).  The time had come to market, campaign and seek our own egg donor.

Step 1 - Update our website, something I've been neglecting.  The contest ended awhile ago and those banners at the top of each page needed to be updated.

Step 2 - Create my own survey for donors to apply.

Step 3 - Advertise our survey by reaching out to friends, family, acquaintances, strangers, you name it.  We also posted on our Love At First Wink Facebook page.  And of course we posted on Craigslist!

But the most successful so far has been paid advertising on Facebook:

Aren't we cute?  Who wouldn't want to donate to us!

Which, of course, links to our donor survey:

Lastly we reach out to our blogger community.  If you know of any prospective donors, please send them our way!

We've gotten a bunch of responses from many great women.  Fingers crossed.

On another note we hope Bernadette, the Princess, and The Cheeks have made it H-O-M-E!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mixed Emotions

It's amazing how quickly a week can go from amazing to questionable to downright heart breaking.

On Tuesday we left at 5am in the morning to drive up to Napa.  Our friends were already there with our godson, Bronson.  We wined, dined, and had an amazing time.  While there we enjoyed (free!) tastings at Chappellet, Opus One, Flora Springs, Schramsburg, Frank Family, Silverado, Paraduxx, Grgich, Alpha Omega, and more.

My overall favorite was Chappellet.  Love their reds and whites.  Plus we served this at our Boston wedding.  Alpha Omega had the most amazing Chardonnay.  It tasted like caramel corn!   Lastly, Schramsburg was very cool with caves dating back to the 1800's.

Leaving on Friday was not an easy thing to do, especially since Allen had to head off to work Friday night.

While in Napa we got a text from our friend/egg donor "We need to talk when you get back".  Hmm.... And on the drive back we get a call from Allen's boss "We need to meet when you get back".  Hmm....

Work ended up being a move to another restaurant location.  I know I need to be supportive.  I know I need to suck it up and be happy he has a great job.  I just hate that he works long hours, we don't get 24 hour periods together, and now he'll be working farther from home.  I used to pop in all the time to see him but with the new location across town and the addition of crazy LA traffic, "popping in" isn't going to be easy.

We met with our friend/egg donor today.  She has been holding back the fact she has some hormonal issues that are now going to prevent her from taking the necessary drugs to donate eggs.  She has tears in her eyes while telling us she can't move forward with helping us start a family.  I'm holding my tears back as I'm devastated and wondering how we are going to proceed now.

As they say this too shall pass.  Its just so frustrating.  One minute you're flying high, enjoying your 16 month old godson in one hand, a glass of wine in the other, and dreaming about how this life will be yours soon -- very soon.  And the next minute *BAM* your husband's job is moved across town and *BAM* you lose your egg donor.

Ugh.  Here's to a happier post next time!  In the meantime, some pics of our godson, Bronson!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Girls, Girls, Girls. Questions, Questions, Questions.

On Sunday we met Olivia & Clara!  They are the beautiful twins featured on one of the blogs we follow, Stalking the Stork .  Oh yea, and we met their dads Jason & Adrian.

Jason & Adrian were gracious enough to take time to meet total strangers (us) and talk about their journey to fatherhood.  Over the course of 2 hours and plates of eggs and pancakes (mmm...carbs) Allen and I bombarded them with just about every question you could imagine.  From how they selected SCI, to the costs, Delhi overall, their experience, other IP's, flying with newborns, the exiting process, being new dad's, you name it we probably asked it.

Our latest question to ourselves, and mind you we haven't even signed with an agency yet, is "If we have twins do we get a side-by-side or a front-to-back stroller?".  We obviously had to ask this question to Jason and Adrian and we were shocked to hear their response:  "Both!  We have 5 strollers!".  Jason went on to explain friends will buy gifts or donate items they no longer use so they ended up with a few of them.  Our place barely has room for 1 stroller, I think its time we move!

Brunch was great and we hope to see the guys and their two gorgeous girls again soon.  They definitely helped ease our fears of surrogacy overseas.  I totally forgot to take pictures so this will have to do:

Not sure I like how my hair came out in this photo.

Yesterday for lunch I met another girl, our prospective egg donor.  Well, I didn't just "meet" her, she is a friend.  We met for lunch at Tavern in Brentwood (only the best for my prospective future eggs/embryos/children) and talked about everything.

I prepped a week before the lunch by emailing with Allie of Welcome to the Road.  She just finished her second round of IVF with SCI and was a wealth of information.  My prospective donor really appreciated all the investigative work I did too.

Like the meal with Jason & Adrian, this one was filled with many questions (and carbs!).  Someone might be your friend but you've probably never sat down and drilled them with so many personal questions like:

  • What was your GPA?
  • Are your grandparents alive?  How did they die?  
  • How many siblings do your parents have?  Do they have any medical conditions?
  • How are your parent's health?  
  • Do you have health insurance?  
  • What are you thoughts on abortion?  Selective reduction?  Excess embryos?  
  • What do you see as your role, if any, with the child(ren)?  Can we rely on you for financial support and babysitting on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays?  

Okay maybe I didn't ask that last one.

I also never thought I'd find myself talking to a woman about her period, cycle, and the timing of a flight to India based on when she is menstruating.  I think I handled it quite well.

All in all the lunch went great.  I think our biggest hurdle is her fear of flying and traveling to India to donate.  She offered to donate before we announced we are strongly considering going overseas. Fingers crossed she is happy to travel as the savings will be substantial.

Our donor is beautiful but I'm not sure I should be posting her photo just yet.  So instead, I'll post one of the dessert we shared.  S'mores with dark chocolate and vanilla ice cream, marshmallow fluff (it's toasted on top, you just can't see it), fancy graham crackers, and caramel corn.

Not sure I'm going to like how my thighs will look after eating this.  Not sure I care.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Q & A

So many questions. So many answers. I think I've been driving Meg and Margarida crazy with all my emails but I guess they must be used to it.

Here are some of my Q & A, maybe it will help some of you in the process of becoming IPs. It's by no means comprehensive but maybe it will help. Answers are paraphrased.

Do you have references in the US?
While they won't give you a reference, they will send your contact info out with your permission. They asked 4 IPs/Ps and all 4 got back to us providing great feedback.

US companies have 2-hour meetings for face-to-face and to learn about the process. Can we do this with SCI?
No. SCI does not offer a 2-hour Skype call but you can Skype with Meg if you have any questions.

Do you require any type of psychological exam or report on our egg donor?  In the US, surrogacy agencies require we have our egg donor go through a psych evaluation and they require a written report.  Is anything required in that regard?
if you are going through a donor agency, this is generally done by the agency. If this is a private arrangement, then it is up to you as to whether there is a psych evalation. This is preferable, but not essential as this is being treated as a self cycle.

Can extra embryos be shipped back to the US?
Yes, it's about $3,000

How long is our donor in Delhi for?
If cycle is started at home, about 10 days.
If cycle is started in Delhi, about 16-17 days.
(where cycle means medical supervision and meds)

Can my husband and I split the eggs and have embryos created for each of us?

Can we place one of each embryo in the same surrogate?
No. [I didn't like this answer]

Do we both need to travel to India to, um, make a deposit, or can we freeze and ship the swimmers?
You can freeze and send. You'll want to get testing done to ensure they will freeze/thaw well.

My friend is going to be in Delhi for work, can he visit SCI and staff?
Yes, we can make an appointment for him.

Does the hospital offer circumcision?
Yes they do, but you need to request this as it is not the norm.
[hmmm... I think I want someone overly experienced to do this!]

Should I be trying to blog on an iPad?
No, it's a lot of extra work but I'm too lazy to get out of bed and grab my laptop. Plus I can't add pictures! Now it's just long and boring.

Ok so that last one wasn't sent to SCI.

Turning to Allen, lying next to me coughing and sick: "Hey babe what was the name of the shrinky dink we met with? And if you get me sick I'm going to kill you.". He replies "Dr Elaine Gordon. *cough* I love you.". "Love you too, babe. Don't breathe on me."

So we also met with Dr. Gordon this past Thursday. She was highly recommended by agencies here in Los Angeles. When going through a US agency they require you meet with a psychologist. We figured it couldn't hurt.

We talked about whose swimmers go first; what to say if people ask whose swimmer won; the support of our family and friends; the importance of meeting the surrogate for ourselves and for the story for our kid(s); parental roles; the fears of India; and more. It was a great hour meeting. We'll also be sending out friend/egg donor to her for a session. I don't think the meeting was all that necessary for us, and we don't need a second one, but I'm glad we did it.

Lastly, just a big thank you to those keeping blogs and posting comments on ours. We greatly appreciate your honesty and each post helps us learn more about the process and feelings involved.

Now to go back to nursing my sick husband. I better not be blogging next week that i'm sick...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Flying Feathers

Yesterday we met with Stuart, the owner of Growing Generations.  Their office was up on the 13th floor of a high rise on Wilshire.  Ironically the same high rise where I got my first full time job out of college with [At the time it was #2 to  It was also the first friendship I formed with a gay man, my boss, Ritch.  I wasn't out of the closet to anyone, or myself, and seeing him in a healthy long term same-sex relationship was comforting and probably the start of my very long coming out process.  Anyway back to Growing Generations...]

We instantly clicked with Stuart and spent 1.5 hours discussing the ins and outs of surrogacy through his agency and making small talk about common interests, kids, etc.  He briefly mentioned a falcon that regularly devours birds near the windows.  "You don't always see him," he said, "but you'll see feathers floating about."

Growing Generations really has their act together with incorporating technology to assist them (and IP's) with the entire process.  We were also impressed with the extent of research done on the surrogates.

Just as we were about to leave and enjoying the view, there it was.  Feathers.  Floating about.  Full falcon.  Poor bird.

We had about 2 hours to kill before our monthly facilitator meeting -- we both facilitate at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center.  So of course we went shopping and headed to the Beverly Center.  I'm going to go broke when we have kids buying every adorable outfit.  I know they grow out of them quickly.  I know they get stained with spit up and poo.  But I don't care.  Plus Allen and I have a serious sneaker problem.  We're like the Imelda Marcos of sneakers.  This baby is going to be born with a pair of Puma's on their feet.

Sneaker Chart.  Made with love, for me, by Allen.
This is just part of my collection.

And he picture labeled every box!
Best. Birthday Present. Ever.

While shopping and ogling baby clothes, we talked about surrogacy in the US vs India.  Do we spend the money and experience it here?  Do we save the money for a house and backyard to raise our family in and do it in India?  There were many other questions, pros, and cons, listed but that's probably good for another post.

Plus we're supposed to meet with Circle Surrogacy next week.  I think we may cancel the appointment.  

Meanwhile I can't sleep and that's just from thinking about the process!  I'm going to be a wreck once we sign papers.

I think I'll go online and buy a pair of sneakers...

Friday, June 15, 2012

1 Down, 2 More to Go

In our quest to become parents we're looking into and researching 3 U.S.-based surrogacy providers (plus SCI in India, but since we can't meet them in person we've got 2 more to go...)

Yesterday we met with the first one: CSP in Encino, CA. CSP - The Center for Surrogate Parenting - provided us with a four hour free introduction to creating a family. We met with Perla, who would be a direct contact. We also met with Jessica, who would handle the money side of things, Bill the founder, Andrew an attorney, and Karen the co-owner.

Everyone at CSP was great but we've still got Growing Generations next week and then Circle Surrogacy the week after that. Plus the on going research of SCI. The plan is to sign with someone and start out journey to parenthood in July.

Last night we were also invited over to Andy and Mike's, a pair of awesome Dad's with four (4!) kids. [back story: We met Andy a couple weeks back at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center during a "Create a Family" workshop. Andy was the rep for Circle and learning we lived a few blocks from each other invited us over to meet his hubby and the kids.]

I'm always nervous meeting new people - what if they don't like us? What if I yawn? What if I burp, or worse fart! And so on. The evening couldn't have gone better. Andy and Mike were gracious hosts and their kids were adorable, it almost made it seem like we should have 4 -- almost. Allen and I will be seeing them again for our Circle Surrogacy meeting in two weeks along with the owner of Circle, John. But we agreed, whether or not we use Circle we hope we can become friends with Andy, Mike, and their amazing family (the twins even hugged us goodbye, so cute!)

Allen and I then headed to dinner where our conversations now consist only of: "Should we spend the money for surrogacy in the US or save a ton and go to India?" "Do we try for twins? OMG twins! Aaawwwe twins!" "Boy(s)? Girl(s)? Healthy!!!" "Names?" and so on...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Why Love At First Wink?

Love At First Wink has a few meanings for us:

  • It's how we met nearly 4 years ago.  It was love at first wink.  I sent a "wink" to Allen through and (long story short) we met, dated, moved in together, got married, and now we're looking to start our family.  
  • It was the name of our campaign for marriage equality.  More on that here:
  • It's how we know we are going to feel the second we lay eyes on our future little one(s)