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Like fathers, like son for a determined gay couple

Their quest for a child was chronicled in a Times series last year.

December 17, 2007|Jenny Jarvie | Times Staff Writer

ATLANTA — At last, Chad and David Craig's quest to become fathers is over. They say they feel more happy, and more tired, than they have ever been.

The gay couple, whose attempt to create a pregnancy through a gestational surrogacy arrangement was followed last year in a Los Angeles Times series, welcomed their son, O. Jansen Hodge Craig, into their lives nine weeks ago.

"We just look at him and think he's a miracle," Chad said last week as he drew Jansen, clad in a snug jumpsuit, close to his chest. "It's something we just always believed in. Finally, he's here."

Chad and David's attempt to bring a child into the world involved a woman they barely knew. After fertilizing her eggs in vitro using both men's sperm, another woman would carry the resulting embryos to term. They had no idea whose DNA would carry the day.

Jansen's birth marked the end of a four-year journey that involved three egg retrievals, 65 eggs, seven fertilization attempts, three surrogates and more than $200,000 in expenses.

There were many ups and downs. In June 2006, Chad's sister, who had agreed to take on the role of surrogate mother, gave birth to twins, Asher and Holland. But the tiny siblings were premature and lived for only three and six days respectively.

Chad and David came out of that experience with enough hope to keep trying. They signed on with a new doctor, arranged for a third retrieval from Jessica -- the egg donor who had helped them produce the twins -- and found a new surrogate, a school crossing guard and mother of three from Massachusetts.

Finally, they had found the right components to make it work.

Jansen was born Oct. 13 at Massachusetts General Hospital, weighing 8 pounds and 2 ounces. When a nurse read out the time of birth -- 6:16 p.m. -- his fathers burst into tears. The time echoed the date of the twins' birthday: June 16.

Both Chad, 37, and David, 39, like to think that Jansen, who has a ski-slope nose and plump cheeks, bears a physical resemblance to the twins.

As for the identity of the biological father, they prefer not to know. Chad says the baby has David's chin and small nose; David thinks he has Chad's dark hair and olive skin.

As the new family settles in its Atlanta home, the surrogate continues to pump and freeze breast milk for Jansen. Each week she ships bottles from Massachusetts to Georgia packed in dry ice.

Other than that, Chad says, "we're just going through what all parents go through."

Jansen's fathers take turns feeding and changing him, fussing and fidgeting. Their favorite thing, they say, is to squat down beside his bouncy seat and caress his cheeks, tickle his feet and marvel at each small development.

Already, his blue eyes are becoming more gray, and his dark eyelashes are getting longer.

And he has begun to smile.

--

jenny.jarvie@latimes.com

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