'Big nose, bad hair, gross skin, ugh – those eyebrows': Gay couple on struggle to find perfect egg donor for their future children
21:00 GMT, 23 October 2012
A gay couple have spoken out about their journey to fatherhood, and the obstacles they faced.
Jerry Mahoney and Drew Tappon, who live in New York, spent months trawling the internet trying to find a suitable egg donor, before Drew's 28-year-old sister agreed to donate hers.
They told the Today show: 'To become dads we needed an egg donor, and finding one wasn’t going to be easy. How can you tell who the perfect person is'
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The quest to have children: Jerry Mahoney (center) and Drew Tappon (right) decided to use eggs donated from Drew's sister Susie (left) to start a family
Describing their quest for the perfect egg donor, Jerry revealed in an article written for The New York Times: 'I spent hours poring over profiles, bios and stats, looking at poorly lighted digital pictures and videos of awkward faces uttering tightly rehearsed self-promotional pitches.
'Together we had a decision to make. One of the strangers on this Web site could end up contributing half of our child’s DNA. Big nose, bad hair, gross skin, ugh – those eyebrows. Drew sped down the list and blackballed them all.'
He says that while many candidates requested the standard $8,000 fee, some negotiated their own rates. 'If she was blond, athletic and Harvard-educated, she thought she was worth 30 grand.'
'We had a decision to make. One of the strangers on this site could end up contributing half of our child’s DNA'
After hearing about their struggle to
find a suitable match, Drew's sister, Susie, suggested she
could donate her eggs. And the matter was settled.
Jerry told Today: 'Susie was everything an egg donor should be kind, beautiful, smart a gifted artist… We decided to go for it.'
when she went to get her eggs harvested doctors gave her the
devastating news that she had only produced five eggs, which lowered the
odds of pregnancy.
'When she went in to have her eggs
harvested Drew and I were in the waiting room and the doctor came out
and he was kind of shaking his head,' Jerry recalled.
'We knew right away it was bad
news… The outlook was bad for us but crushing for Susie. This could be her only chance of having a baby.'
Unfruitful search: Jerry (left) and Drew (right) said they found it a struggle finding suitable egg donors
Happy families: Jerry and Drew say that Susie (center) isn't a mother to their kids but 'a very special aunt'
Most women Susie's age can produce dozens of healthy eggs, but for some unexplained reason she had only produced five, two of which failed to fertilize.
However, with no other option,Jerry and Drew's surrogate was implanted with the three embryos, along with Jerry's sperm.
The couple did not have much hope at this point, but two days before Christmas they received a phone call telling them that their surrogate was pregnant.
'Now thanks to Susie there are two tiny
people running around our house. I see a little bit of each of us in
them. My nose, Susie's eyes, Drew's chin'
When they joined her a few weeks later for her first ultrasound, they were even more surprised to learn that they were expecting twins.
Jerry explained: 'From the grainy soup on the sonogram monitor, two peanut shapes emerged. Drew and I were going to be the fathers of twins.'
Their twins Bennett and Sutton, were born in August 2009. Jerry admits that sometimes it isn't easy being a gay father, but he is determined to change people's opinion.
His blog Mommy Man, Adventures of a Gay Superdad talks about his life as a stay-at-home dad.
He added: 'Sometimes I’ll see people looking at us funny, maybe doing a double take or muttering under their breath.
'It takes me a minute to remember “Oh yeah they’re not used to seeing families like mine”.
Twice as lucky: When Jerry and Drew joined their surrogate for her first ultrasound, they were even more surprised to learn that they were expecting twins
'To me we’re perfectly normal, I guess you could say we’re the new normal.'
And amazingly, despite being told that she was likely never to have children, Susie also recently gave birth to a baby girl.
Describing her child as a 'surprise little miracle', she said: 'When they tell you you can’t have, then all of a sudden when you’re not planning.. surprise!'
Jerry thanked Susie for helping him and Drew start a family.
He added: 'Now thanks to Susie there are two tiny people running around our house. I see a little bit of each of us in them. My nose, Susie's eyes, Drew's chin.
'We don’t consider Susie a mother to our kids but she’s a very special aunt.'
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