Growing Families step-by-step

Growing Families conference in Sydney next month
Image: Supplied

Increasingly, gay singles and couples are thinking about raising families of their own beyond a pooch. Growing Families’ annual conference – this year in Sydney on 22-23 June – has become the go-to community hub for all those looking to build family – whether through donor eggs, surrogacy or foster care and adoption.

Growing Families is the only organisation of its kind that has the resources, expertise and contacts to provide 360 degree education and support for all those looking at alternative family-building, whatever their nationality or budget.

Some prospective gay dads have a friend or family member who offers to donate eggs or carry as a surrogate. Others locate a donor and make embryos locally, in the hope of matching with a surrogate. If unsuccessful, some ship embryos to a country with surrogates.

Many others head directly to international options to take advantage of the wider choice of donors and professional recruitment, screening and support of surrogates.

Sydney couple Tim and his husband Sasha (pictured above) leant on Surrogacy Australia to help find a surrogate. Two months later, their surrogate Lizzy came into their lives.

At the 2022 Growing Family Conference they decided to work with a US IVF specialist, which meant creating embryos across the Pacific. Lizzy would need to get her passport ready.

Thankfully, the first attempt worked and in February 2024, their baby boy Atticus was born in Sydney.

While always logistically complicated, these journeys often have many twists and turns.

Melbourne based social media sensation Scott O’Halloran (better known through his hilarious podcast Luke & Sassy Scott) and his partner Marcus wanted a surrogate prepared to carry twins.

Turning to Growing Families for support through the process, they were steered to the USA. While the wait for a surrogate was lengthy, their twins (as is common) decided to come early, necessitating a race to Amarillo, Texas to support their infant sons. You will hear more about these journeys in June.

Growing Families annual conference weekend will focus on local surrogacy and foster care, as well as surrogacy in North and South America.

Designed to give you realistic expectations of the process, costs and likely hurdles, there are lots of opportunities to talk to fellow intended parents, dads with kids, donors, past and future surrogates and hear from older kids.

There are social functions and a pub dinner. Wherever you are in the process – it’s a great way to kickstart your research, get support, connect with people who’ve walked in your shoes or celebrate family.

The best thing about this community is the friendships you make. The conference is a great way to start or cement those. So whether you are part way along, or still considering options, don’t miss this once-yearly opportunity.

Growing Families’ annual conference is in Sydney on 22-23 June, 2024. You can find full information here.

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