Hugo and Marcus first met in 2004. After a long engagement they married in their garden in Wiltshire in 2010 surrounded by 150 friends. It was a joyous occasion. Not least, because one month later they were to be in America for the birth of their first child. The anticipation of a new-born thrilled everyone
What do you do for careers?
Hugo: I trained in industrial design, in Portugal and London. I worked as an interior designer in London, and now I have my own design consultancy business and I teach both in London and Marlborough.
Marcus: I’m a doctor, working in a London teaching hospital. Recently I’ve reduced my work commitments, given the importance of family life. I usually spend four nights at home with the children. Taking the little ones to school is one of life’s greatest pleasures. And even better is picking them up!
When did you first realise that you wanted to start a family?
We can’t remember the exact time we decided to have a family but it was around 2008. At that time there were very few role models, and it was easy to believe that it would not be possible for two men to have children. How different that is now in 2015! Indeed, after having our first child, through CT Fertility, together with others we set up the UK support group GaySurrogacy.co.uk. This has a following of more than 1,000 on Facebook, and has a very knowledgeable website that means those seeking information about surrogacy can readily find it. The information is freely given and not dependent on industry sponsorship.
Did you ever consider adoption?
We discussed adoption but agreed that, initially at least, we wanted to have a family linked biologically to ourselves. After all, this is one of the strongest desires nature provides.
What research did you do, and what was it that persuaded you to choose CT Fertility above other similar clinics?
Marcus: Nowadays, there are many different clinics offering surrogacy services. However, CT Fertility stands out as one of the few clinics that has a very long and very successful track record. Our minds were made up after meeting Doctor Michael Doyle, who is one of the most trustworthy, honourable and kind doctors I have met; and I have met many.
A pregnancy followed after the first attempt, and our son Raphael was born in 2010 in Wisconsin. We both remember the month bonding with our son, and getting to know the surrogate mother better, as one of the most special times in our lives. Surprisingly, our parenting skills seemed to come quite naturally.
How long did the process take from choosing to go this route to successful conception?
After deciding to undertake surrogacy, it took about six months to arrange paperwork with a surrogacy agency who found the surrogate mother. In essence, Raphael was born 15 months after we made the decision.
What criteria did you have to fulfil before CT Fertility took you on?
There were several telephone conversations, questionnaires to complete and, of course, medical tests. These were all very simple. The medical tests ensure safety, so that there is no risk to the newborn or indeed to the surrogate mother. These tests can be now undertaken in the United Kingdom at little extra cost.
How did you go about choosing a surrogate?
The surrogate was introduced to us by an agency. We met over a meal and we all got on well. Although clinics are usually the initial port of call for those seeking surrogacy, the IVF clinic is more important since it actually creates the pregnancy. IVF clinics work closely with certain clinics and it would seem logical to initially choose your preferred IVF clinic and seek out an agency thereafter. We’d advise all couples to meet the surrogate mother in her own home environment at least once or twice before trying to conceive. The great majority of surrogates seek pregnancy for completely altruistic reasons and therefore meeting them and getting to know them is mutually important.
Do you still keep in contact with your surrogate?
We had another child, Theodore, born in Massachusetts in 2013. We keep in touch with both surrogates, and we have a great relationship with them. Both women are very important to our family, and one has already come across to the United Kingdom to stay with us.
What are the greatest joys in being fathers?
Laughter, smiles, cuddles, and caring for the vulnerable child who then feels completely safe.
And the greatest challenges?
Tantrums, mother-in-law’s well-meant but annoying advice, but certainly not being a gay parent. We have found almost universal acceptance from others and do not believe that in 2015 there is any relevant prejudice against gay people having their own children.
What would you say to other gay people who are considering surrogacy?
Obviously, this is a personal decision, and very important to consider carefully. For us it has brought the greatest joy we could ever have imagined.
Marcus: Last month we met a man at the National Gallery in London with his two-year-old daughter. He came to one of the GaySurrogacy.co.uk events three years earlier and following that decided he definitely wanted to have a family. Seeing him there with his two-year-old was great. It shows that gay people can have loving families if they wish.
Go to: www.ctfertility.com