Coming too early: Qld dads’ unexpected surrogacy journey


Queensland couple to share story at Growing Families conference
Image: Supplied

With the annual Growing Families conference coming up in Brisbane on March 17, gay dad and conference organiser Sam Everingham looks at a few recent gay couples whose babies via surrogacy came too soon and the extraordinary surrogates who helped them.

As I write this, TikTok legend Scotty O’Halloran (check out Luke & Sassy Scott) has just boarded a last-minute flight from Melbourne with his partner Marcus to welcome their twins in Texas.

The infants will likely be born while they are in the air, seven weeks early – and then spend weeks in intensive care. It’s an extra cost and stress these guys had hoped to avoid (I did warn them of the risks of twins).

Meanwhile, at least ten other Australian couples are right now overseas juggling newborns and complex paperwork – in the US, Canada, Argentina and Greece – just wanting to get home. It must be easier here to engage in surrogacy here in Australia, right?

James Gentle and his partner Jimbob had thought so. When I met them at our Brisbane conference in 2021, they already had embryos made, with James’ sister as their egg donor.

So when a connection they made at the Growing Families conference with serial donor Jemma turned into an offer to carry, they were ecstatic.

The complicating factor was Jemma living in regional Queensland, far from advanced hospital care. So when thirty weeks into the pregnancy, Jemma’s waters broke, her local hospital admitted they were ill-equipped to help.  She would need to be med-evaced to the Sunshine Coast.

“I couldn’t speak to the boys – I felt numb,” Jemma recalls. “All I had was a phone charger and a spare change of undies.”

James and Jimbob’s lives were turned upside down, as they rushed to Maroochydore to set up ‘camp’, taking in two of Jemma’s children.

Two weeks later, just hours after a further medevac to Brisbane, baby Rupert was born, two months premature, following an emergency caesarean procedure.

Jemma would have loved to have carried a sibling for Rupert, but living so far from advanced medical care, her doctor put his foot down.

If Jemma had been in Tannum Sands rather than Brisbane for the birth, she would have died.

For James too, while they have gained a close friend, the thought of going through a similar journey fills them with dread. Yes, they both want a sibling for Rupert, but next time they are likely to engage overseas, so their surrogate can access more professional support.

Queensland’s surrogacy community to come together at conference

Jemma and Rupert’s dad James, will share much more of their journeys at Growing Families annual Brisbane conference on Sunday 17 March. They’ll join other surrogates, gay dads and experts from around the globe.

Designed to give you realistic expectations of the process from all parties, the day is a chance for Queensland’s surrogacy community to come together to support each other on their journeys to parenthood. It will focus particularly on local surrogacy, as well as the US, Canada and emerging options in Argentina.

Whether you are part way along, or still considering options, don’t miss this once-yearly opportunity. You can find full information here.

For the latest LGBTIQA+ Sister Girl and Brother Boy news, entertainment, community stories in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Sam Everingham

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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