Photo Credit: Lucas Jackson
by David Sigal
To celebrate our new LGBTQ book, we wanted to share some personal family stories with you. Today we are featuring an essay from David Sigal. He is a filmmaker who lives in New York City with his husband, State Senator Brad Hoylman and their 4-year old daughter, Silvia.
Growing up gay, I never thought I would become a father or have a family of my own.
Now we spend our weekends going to playgrounds, birthday parties and seeing every Disney movie that comes out with our four-year-old daughter.
How did this happen? After my boyfriend, Brad and I had been together for 16 years we knew that we wanted more. We were happily ensconced in our lives, career and friendships, but something was missing. We wanted to expand our family.
We did what anyone else would do and started googling. Six years ago, I had only a vague idea what surrogacy was, but when I found out more, I knew that it was the right fit for us.
Unfortunately, we live in New York, where surrogacy isn’t legal. I started asking friends with children and they told me that you could go to California or another state where the laws favor surrogacy.
We met with a small agency outside of San Diego. If we really wanted a child, we could have one. So we went through the process, found an egg donor and a gestational surrogate, and transferred two embryos.
Then we endured what is known as the "two-week wait," when you find out if the procedure worked. So we waited. And waited. We got the phone call. Our surrogate wasn’t pregnant. We were crushed. The next morning we woke up determined to try again. We really wanted a family.
We reconfigured a few things – including a different egg donor and tried again. I went out to Los Angeles and was in the room for the embryo transfer. I hung out with our lovely surrogate for 2 days. We went to the Santa Monica Pier and took a walk on the beach. Was she pregnant? Did she look pregnant? Any cravings yet?
I flew home to New York and this two-week wait was even more excruciating. Brad was extremely relaxed and in a great mood. Did our surrogate do a home pregnancy test and tell him something?
Two weeks later. Our surrogate went to the doctor for her pregnancy test. I had a long day working on a film and we went to a local restaurant for dinner. We put our phones on the table and stared at them all through dinner. Finally, the phone rang and we ran out onto the street to take the call. We were so nervous that it felt like slow motion.
We were going to have a child! We had tears of joy on the streets of New York. It was the best news we had ever heard and we couldn’t tell anyone. It’s not safe until you have passed your first trimester.
Fast forward to now. We have a beautiful daughter who is starting kindergarten in the fall. Brad and I were legally married on our 20th anniversary of being a couple. He is now a State Senator in New York trying to make surrogacy legal in our state.
Instead of sleeping in until 9 on a weekend and going to the gym, we eat breakfast as a family and have adventures in this wonderful city of New York. Lego building competition on the High Line! Two 4-year-old birthday parties in a day! Painting clowns at the Whitney!
We couldn’t be happier. Tired, but happier.