NORWALK, Conn. (WTNH)– Marriage equality has given more same-sex couples the confidence to start a family, making local fertility clinics busier than ever. It’s being called a Gay Baby Boom. In Part 2 of a special series, News 8 introduces viewers to a Westport couple, sharing their personal journey to have kids.
“It was something I always did want but didn’t think it was in my realm of possibilities,” says Greg Zola. As a young, gay man, he wasn’t sure he could realize his dream of becoming a parent.
But then he fell in love with Mark Leondires, a fertility doctor in Norwalk.
“Once we decided it took a couple of years to get there,” he says.
“My care for other patients changed when I became a patient,” adds Leondires who works for Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut.
The two men embarked on a two year journey – one that involved finding egg donors and surrogates in other parts of the country. But, recently, Connecticut is attracting couples due to the surrogacy laws.
“Pretty much in all of New England, compensated surrogacy is legal,” explains Leondires.
While finding a surrogate may be easier here, affording the help could be a problem. To have a baby through in-vitro fertilization, a gay male couple must spend between $100,000 and $200,000.
“Actually some employers are starting to cover IVF benefits for LGBT persons,” says Leondires.
Some national organizations – such as MenHavingBabies.org – are now helping some couples financially, too. The expense could improve but the complicated nature of the process won’t.
“I was there for the birth which was amazing,” remembers Zola. “Just having that little guy on my chest just after he was born was an incredible moment.” Zola and Leondires now have two boys – ages 6 and 4. They say persistence is key in the quest to build a family. “There are so many decisions,” says Zola. “Bu it’s all worth it, yeah.”
Zola and Leondires say their community has been incredibly supportive – embracing the fact that no modern family looks the same.