Men Having Babies in Brussels shows the need so many gay men have to have children
Traveling to Brussels recently for a Men Having Babies conference was a refreshing break from what has been almost two years away from so many of my wonderful colleagues, as well as gay men and couples looking to have children.
The annual European event was held virtually in 2020, due to travel restrictions resulting from COVID-19 policies. While of course I understood why the event had to be canceled last year, it was still a disappointment as my annual trip to Brussels is one I always look forward to.
Reconvening a few weeks ago, I was so pleased to see the event at full capacity -- about 300 people, mostly gay men, looking for opportunities to have children through surrogacy.
As an advisory board member of Men Having Babies, it was great to see the renewed interest in family building by gay men from across Europe. I’ve spent much of my career working to help men fulfill their desires of having children and building families of their own. Since I helped a gay couple have a daughter in the mid-90s, and as a gay man myself, this has been a rewarding part of my career.
To see the crowd in Brussels was incredibly rewarding.
You could sense the excitement in the rooms. The COVID travel restrictions have made it difficult for gay men in Europe to access surrogacy options in the United States. And most Europeans live in countries where surrogacy is restricted. The United States offers many of them their best chance at building a family.
What’s more, the crowd this year was noticeably younger than in the past. Various people, including Juan Tecles, who works with my many patients in Europe, remarked that the gay men attending these conferences and hoping to have children are getting younger.
Just five years ago, my gay patients were almost all in their 40s and 50s. This Men Having Babies conference was full of men in their 30s and even 20s, many of them married and all of them interested in building their families.
Of course, it’s because of those men who came out years or decades ago, and then built their families together, that the younger generation sees the possibility of children today.
Gay men having babies isn’t a new idea anymore.
And it’s amazing to see they have full family support, that it just feels so normal.
One gay man from Italy brought his brother and sister to our consultation for moral support.
As he was leaving you could see his eyes smiling when he heard how this was all so possible, and it was so sweet to see his brother and sister there to support him in making this big life decision.