Insights With Doug and Sanjay

Meta title: Pride Month and Surrogacy with Doug and Sanjay

Doug and Sanjay are from the UK, and are expecting their very first child via surrogacy. As they go through the process, they are documenting and sharing their experience on their Instagram, as well as providing amazing resources and education about the LGBTQIA+ community. We got into some important insights regarding the surrogacy process, celebrating Pride Month with little ones, and more!

Q: What does Pride Month mean to both of you?

A: Pride means something different for everyone. To us, it is a time to REMEMBER all the brave people who have fought hard to win the rights that many of us can enjoy. It is a time to CELEBRATE our identities, who we are and all that is wonderful, diverse and fabulous about LGBTQIA+ communities. It is a time to RECOGNIZE that there is still a long way to go until we all have equality and that for many people around the world, it is still incredibly dangerous to openly be their authentic selves. Even in the UK we have seen some worrying moves by the government in recent weeks to try to undermine the progress we have made which is a reminder that we have to keep pushing to ensure that our hard won gains are not rolled back.

Q: What are some of the best resources to help celebrate Pride?

A: There are some great resources out there to understand why Pride is important. The charity Stonewall has lots of information on their website, about the LGBTQIA+ community; Juno Dawson’s book This Book Is Gay is fantastic.  Another brilliant book Sanj has just finished is A Dutiful Boy by Mohsin Zaidi, which is a memoir about the journey to acceptance for someone who is Muslim and gay.  Additionally, check out  Disclosure, the documentary on Netflix about trans representation.

*Check out the US based organization: Human Rights Campaign

Q: How can parents teach their children about Pride month?

A: Pride is ultimately about being free and proud to be who you are and to love who you love. These are concepts that we can talk to children about at any age, and it’s especially important to normalize different types of relationships and different types of families from a young age so that children don’t grow up seeing people, or even themselves, as an “other.”  So just talking to children about the different types of families there are, and how sometimes men love men and women love women, or some people love both men and women, is a good first step.  There are some great children's books on this topic - for example, And Tango makes Three.

Q: You two are soon-to-be dads! What has your journey with surrogacy been like?

A: Our personal experience, despite the unknown challenges COVID-19 brought our way, has really been amazing and we feel very lucky.  After signing to our surrogacy agency in the USA, we matched with our incredible egg donor quite quickly, which was so exciting.  Due to travel restrictions, we didn’t manage to get to the states until August 2020 to create our embryos, and whilst we were still in America we got the email saying we had a surrogate match. On our return to the U.K., we arranged a Skype call with our potential surrogate and we just hit it off straight away.  Amber was friendly, kind, warm and greeted us with the most amazing smile, her gorgeous little boy, incredibly supportive husband and her two dogs. It just felt right straight away. I don’t think the 3 of us were prepared for what a special bond we have grown, and we know that Amber and her family will be friends for life.

Q: Why is sharing your surrogacy journey with your audience so important?

A: For us, it’s about normalizing same-sex couples and any preconceived ideas people maybe have about surrogacy and the process. I know everyone has a different story but we wanted to tell ours from an open and honest platform, and to even help explain to our followers, family, friends and our children in the future the journey we have been on. We don’t usually make YouTube videos but we are so happy that we chose to document our story and we can’t wait to show our children when they are older. I’m a big fan of Instagram and following many other amazing LGBTQ families over the last few years has really shown us it is possible to achieve our goal of becoming parents.

Q: How will you celebrate Pride month with your little one next year?

A: Pride will always be extra special to us as we met at Manchester pride in 2009.  To be able to take our own family to watch the parades, hold our child on our shoulders, and waving a pride flag showing our support as an LGBTQ family is definitely a moment I've been dreaming of. Rainbows are definitely a permanent feature in our house!

Q: How will you celebrate Pride month with your little one next year?

A: This is our story — so we are not comparing ourselves to anybody else. I just hope the overall message we portray is that however you choose to create your family, as long as the child is loved and cared for, everybody has the right to be a parent. We couldn’t be more thankful that we have two amazing women giving us that opportunity.  As a young gay man, I never dreamed I would be able to get married let alone be able to start a family with my husband.

 

To all of you from all of us here at Doona, Happy Pride Month!