We recently interviewed with new dads Jimmy Nguyen and Michael Duque. Their journey to fatherhood included a visit to the Men Having Babies/ OFC Surrogacy Conference and Expo, now in its 6th year and taking place this upcoming weekend, January 12th and 13th, at San Francisco’s Marines’ Memorial Club and Hotel in the Union Square area. Read on for more…
Our Family Coalition: Tell us about your family.
Jimmy and Michael: We have been together for 13 years total, and married for one year. We were friends before we got together as a couple. In fact, Jimmy was trying to help Michael get over a recent ex of his, developing feelings for Michael in the process. One thing led to another and the rest is history!
OFC: How long was this journey, from having the idea in your head to now, when the baby is in your arms and you’re both launched into fatherhood?
Jimmy and Michael: For as long as we can remember, we have always wanted to become fathers and have always had the desire to have children. Even in our younger days when we were still having fun, we have always set a goal for ourselves to become parents somewhere in our mid-thirties when we are ready emotionally, psychologically, and financially.
Fast forward to about five years ago. We began our initial research into the different kinds of options to family building (adoption, fostering, surrogacy, co-parenting, etc). After a couple of years of research and talking to different people, we ultimately decided that surrogacy was the choice for us. During the holidays of 2016, we started talking about our goals for the new year, and we decided that 2017 was the year to take the plunge and start our journey of fatherhood.
Come early January 2017, while researching about surrogacy, Jimmy got distracted and scrolled through his Facebook feed. With the amazing remarketing technology of Facebook, an advertisement for Men Having Babies in San Francisco came up on Jimmy’s feed. We saw the ad on Tuesday and the seminar was for Saturday. We immediately booked flights and accommodations and attended the seminar a few days later.
Fast forward one year and nine months and the birth of our son was October 11, 2018. Our actual journey was relatively short by most standards, but we came into it with a few years of research behind us.
OFC: What were the things that you were most worried about that turned out the most different? Fears, concerns, natural things you were obsessing would be a problem but actually weren’t? What were your biggest discoveries?
Jimmy and Michael: We were worried that we would have many complications and that it would take several tries and tens of thousands more dollars to achieve pregnancy, but we were so lucky to have had a relatively smooth journey. We had one failed transfer; however, we were successful with the subsequent transfer two months later. The fear was based on talking to people and reading about the plethora of things that could go wrong.
We were also worried that we wouldn’t develop a good relationship with our surrogate and that it would be purely ‘business’ in nature, but we were also lucky to meet our wonderful surrogate and her family and have developed an amazing bond with them that still continues to this day. We discovered that there were tons of resources available to us through Men Having Babies and that our journey would be guided step-by-step by the wonderful men and women who were affiliated with the organization.
OFC: For many, the cost of surrogacy is essentially prohibitive, how did you manage to navigate this piece of the process?
Jimmy and Michael: We did not embark on our journey without having saved up enough money to complete the journey – without having to remortgage our house or take out any loans. We were fortunate enough to be able to do this prior to starting our journey. We understand that this may not be possible for many people, but it is imperative that sacrifices are made in order to save up for this journey.
OFC: Were there any organizations or groups that have been particularly helpful for you along the way, in addition to Men Having Babies or Our Family Coalition? Are there any resources you would consider critical?
Jimmy and Michael: We mostly reached out to MHB members with questions we had along the way with our journey, and everyone helped immensely in answering all of the questions that we had. We also received help from other infertility professionals that were working with Canadian Fertility Consulting (CFC) as well. CFC was the agency we worked with for the Canadian part of our journey.
OFC: If you had the chance to talk to yourselves years ago, what would be the most critical advice you’d want to give yourselves, with the insight you have now that you’re on this side of the journey?
Jimmy and Michael: Don’t be afraid and intimidated by the process! Take the plunge and know that there are lots of resources around to help navigate the journey.
OFC: If there were any gift you could give prospective and expecting dads at their baby shower, what would it be?
Jimmy and Michael: It would be to have Dr. Georges Sylvestre on their speed dial to help answer any and all questions related to the medical part of the journey! Dr. Sylvestre is very active with MHB and is a huge resource to have.
The 6th Annual Surrogacy Conference and Expo takes place this weekend, January 12-13, 2019, at the Marines’ Memorial Club and Hotel, in San Francisco.