- So you wanna start?
Or flip a coin?
(upbeat music) - I'm Cristino, I'm 24, I'm gay, I'm a teacher, and I don't know if I want kids.
- I'm Jeff.
- I'm Tom.
- We're married.
- And we have one son through surrogacy.
(upbeat music) - I don't know if I want kids.
- It comes up a lot with my boyfriend.
I think the question of caring for a new life, I don't feel like that impetus to do it.
As a young gay male like, I think that's such a daunting decision.
- To me when I came out, to be gay, that meant, okay you will never have children.
So what changed for me was, when I met Tom, and we talked, I realized I actually could have them, and I wanted them.
- Yeah that's deep.
- That's a good one.
- That's a lot.
- I don't think I want a relationship where that is the deciding... No.
- I think given the ultimatum, like, ideally we should both want this.
Until you're like, "Okay now we're in the spot to have, to make that choice."
- I definitely had a full decade of debauchery, and partying, and clubbing.
So, for me it was having that, I don't wanna say gay experience.
But, in some ways it was, before I was able to get to the stage of having kids.
- Yeah, in the gay community itself, I don't think there is a pressure to have children, I think there's a pressure to be young, to be fun, and sometimes kids are not part of that.
- Yeah, I can tell you, you lose a lot of spontaneity.
When you have kids, I think the carefree aspect is tough.
- Right, I mean I don't see many gay couples that have kids.
- Oh, okay.
- So, I don't really see the examples out there too much.
- I think age has a massive impact.
If I was in my twenties, I would not have had a child.
- Yeah, for sure.
- Or even thought about it.
Maybe I waited too long because it's exhausting (laughs) but, unlike heterosexual couples, or women, having a strict timeline, in terms of biologically when they can have a child, gay men don't have that deadline.
Especially with us having a surrogate, we were able to choose a surrogate who was much younger than us.
So it's a little, it's kind of unique.
So, you already mentioned I think, surrogacy?
- But, like-- - I mean well it's a very involved process.
If you go through an agency, they match you with a surrogate, who is the carrier, you'll also be matched, or look for, or find an egg.
And then you implant it in the surrogate.
But that whole process can take about 18 months.
- We had a very, very good experience.
Some people could take double the amount.
- What was the conversation in choosing like, the sperm, you know, end of it, who like?
- We just decided to both provide sperm.
They fertilize eggs from the egg donor, and it's whoever... gets you know whatever-- - Whichever egg takes.
- Sperm and egg takes.
That's as simple as that.
- Okay - The surrogate is actually is a more interesting process, in that, you actually meet the surrogate and her husband.
And it was like, some weird part blind date, part (laughs) job interview-- - Yeah, totally.
- Part like, reality TV show.
- Wow, like a transaction, but also, yeah.
- Exactly, it's the craziest thing ever.
- I think what is impressive is like, the resolve, to make a decision, and the whole family, I guess like, accepting it.
- She had two kids of her own.
So, you have to think of all of these questions that someone would be asking her as she's becoming pregnant.
"Oh you're expecting your third!"
or, "Aren't you happy you're gonna have a brother or a sister?"
And then they would probably have to go into a whole explanation of, "Oh well my mom is just carrying it for somebody else."
Or, you know, you often don't think of the other people who are part of the equation.
But, they were an incredible family.
- There's one example that's really beautiful.
We had a picture of the two of us, with our sons, and we put it on Instagram.
And she tweeted it out to all her friends and said, "I've had a very difficult life, but the most proud I've ever been in my life, was to carry a child for these two guys."
The most proud thing in her entire life.
- You know, ethically it's very interesting.
Well, the word business, the transactional element complicates it, it's still someone who's receiving payment for a service.
I didn't really think of it.
I mean, I guess I, we knew we were paying her, it's not that I didn't.
- It is a business, and business sometimes can be a dirty word, in this case I don't think it is at all.
Personally, I think it's a wonderful process.
That if it's done right, leads to a great, you know, outcome.
- My big aha was, that is a tiny, tiny sliver of what is then to come.
You have the baby, and that's when the real work starts.
Raising the child is the hardest part, not having the child.
- Well, I don't know if I would want surrogacy as my option, because I don't know if I need to bring another life into this world, when I see there's so much need.
As a teacher, I want to adopt some of these kids sometimes.
- Closest thing to motivation for family, is that I see a student sometimes, and I know that I just need a longer conversation with them, or just school is just not enough time for me to really help this kid who, you know, just needs that information, and guidance.
And I wish I could be that sometimes.
It's kind of a fleeting moment.
- My partner does want kids.
It's just not even a question.
He's just like, "Oh, I'm gonna have a family."
- How does that make you feel?
- It feels like, it bulldozes a little over my nuance around it, and my sort of hesitation.
I think he's just waiting for me to come around.
- And what is the timeline that he's looking at?
Like, when does he want to have the kids.
- I think he made a promise to his mom, when he was like a teenager-- - Oh no.
- And also not out either I guess.
- One, to have a girl and name her Isabella.
- Okay, very specific right?
- I know, exactly.
Oh my god, I'm getting nervous!
(laughing) - Okay yeah, Isabella, Yeah.
- And, I think like, by like 30-- - Okay.
- Or something, and he's 26.
- So that would be four years away, can you project four years, and having a child?
(sighs) - Don't put pressure on it!
(laughs) - No, that's a good-- - I'm not, I'm just asking!
- That is a good-- (laughing) - I don't feel pressure.
I, that's a great question.
I don't know, I-- - In the gay community, we really have to plan to build a family.
You end up doing it on your timelines, and you do it on your terms.
- Or, I don't want to have a child-- - Yeah, yeah!
- That's great too!
Like, I think all those, but it's different.
- Yeah, but I just mean it's more deliberate for gay men, and for gay families.
- Yeah, I don't feel strongly one way or the other yet, and since I'm indifferent, I'm leaning more towards no.
- At the moment.
- I think it should be way more acceptable to just be single, and not get married.
And, it should be more acceptable, and appropriate to be in a couple, and not have a child.
- I, yeah.
- I think it's a very big negative on our society that those two are not more acceptable and more appropriate-- - Yeah.
- And whatever the word is.
- It was so lovely to meet you.
- Give me a hug - I honestly, you opened up so many things I didn't think about.
- He was a younger generation of a gay man, and it's actually really beautiful that we can support each other.
So that he can make the right informed decisions for him and his partner.
- It was inspiring to speak to such a successful same-sex couple about having a child.
Before this conversation, I would talk about this with my boyfriend, and sort of not even know what to compare, or what does that look like.
- Fantastic questions, super insightful.
- Really good head on his shoulders.