Our Chat With Steven Lazarus
By Denny Patterson
South Florida resident Steven Lazarus has always wanted children. In 2016, his wish came true when he welcomed twin daughters, Maya and Leah, to the world. Lazarus went through the process of surrogacy to bring his two children into the world.
If you are looking to start (or grow) your own family. Men Having Babies (MHB), is a peer support network for biological gay fathers and fathers-to-be. It rapidly expanded over time and has helped over 2,000 men become loving parents. On June 8-9, 2019 the organization will hold its second annual Florida conference for prospective gay parents in Fort Lauderdale. It will feature practical and personal peer advice and opportunities to meet a wide range of leading surrogacy service providers from the U.S. and Canada.
I spoke more with Lazarus about his experience and decision to raise his daughters as a single father.
First, what was your surrogacy process like?
For mine, I relied on my attorney, the fertility clinic, and the surrogacy agency who were very helpful. However, I would have loved to have attended the MHB conference before the birth of my daughters, so I could have related to other gay men who wanted to become dads. I went to last year’s conference to support my fertility clinic and attorney. It inspired me to be an advocate for Men Having Babies and the kind of support they can provide both single men and couples going through this process.
Can you talk a little bit about what the process was like?
Where do I start? It’s a job! [Laughs]. There are so many different aspects for which to be involved. Whether it is picking the donor, the surrogate, or doing health and physiological testing with your carrier – it is a stream of emotions. Positive when things go well, but sad when you hit bumps in the road.
Why did you decide to go through this process as a single father?
At 37, I had to decide what was more important – finding a relationship or becoming a dad. The latter won. I had the support from my family, and although men do not have a biological clock, I wanted the opportunity to give love to another human being before it was too late.
What was your reaction when you found out you were having not one child, but two?
Shocked. After my surrogate had a chemical pregnancy when one embryo was put in, I had one of those it’s never going to happen moments. My surrogate had in the contract that she would be able to carry up to two babies. So, with family support and thinking that it could happen, but it probably wouldn’t, I put in two. Seven weeks later, I was speechless. And that is very uncommon for me! I was so excited, but a little nervous too.
And what was your reaction when you first laid eyes on your twin girls?
Nothing but joy and smiles, but also a little nostalgic as they were born two weeks after my mother passed away. It was so wonderful to love and hold them after I suffered such loss. It was the best feeling. One is named in my mom’s honor, so to continue her legacy.
Would you like to eventually have more children?
Probably. I have two healthy babies. But if a relationship comes about, we will play it by ear.
Instead of surrogacy, have you considered adoption?
Sure, if the surrogacy didn’t happen. All children need love and I have family members and friends who have gone that route. They are giving a child a better life.
What were some of your biggest concerns through this process?
Money, and the thought that there was no guarantee of this dream becoming a reality.
What are some of the rewards and challenges of being a gay, single father?
I would say the biggest reward is being the primary advocate in your children’s lives. You are the one they come too, their role model. As they are beginning to get older and starting to repeat and catch onto things, it only gets better. As for challenges, while I do encourage more gay men to have kids, I know my decision might not have been the most popular with the lifestyle. People change their judgment, but thankfully I made the best decision and if people cannot accept this, then they weren’t really my friends in the first place.
Do you stay in contact with the surrogate mother?
Yes, through Facebook. It was a great partnership. We were able to help each other achieve goals to get us where we wanted to be in life.
What advice would you give to someone, especially single people, who are looking to have children via surrogacy?
Do it! It is a great experience and look into financial aid if you qualify. You do not want to look back and regret not having children.