Most people think of in vitro fertilization (IVF) as one sperm sample and one egg. However, a same-sex couple from London had the opportunity to go about it differently. Simon and Graeme Berney-Edwards are the proud new parents of their own biological twins.
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The couple worked with doctors to come up with a plan that involved two donor embryos that were fertilized by both men and then implanted into a surrogate’s womb. The end result was a set of biological twins that both dads helped bring into this world. Talk about “miracle babies!” The couple now wants to share their happy story with the world.
Simon and Graeme wanted kids together, but the surrogacy process in the UK was too challenging.
Simon and Graeme wanted to become dads together but at home, in England, the process was too difficult for them. They explained to the Daily Mail that in the UK it can take up to six months for a same-sex couple to be put on their child’s birth certificate.
The process involves getting a parental order that changes the name on the birth certificate from the woman who gave birth to the child (or children) to the actual parent. For Simon and Graeme, this was difficult as they planned on using a donor egg and a surrogate.
The couple decided to expand their search outside of the UK to Canada so they could be on the birth certificate immediately after delivery. That’s how they found mother of two, Meg Stone.
A surrogate mother named Meg Stone would change Simon and Graeme’s lives.
“I saw Simon and Graeme’s profile on a surrogacy website and I thought they had lovely smiles,” Meg explained. She decided to become a surrogate because, “I had recently split with my partner and I wasn’t ready for another baby, so I wanted to help someone,” she said.
With Meg as their surrogate, the couple began traveling the globe to make their dream family a reality.
First, the couple went to a fertility clinic in Los Angeles. The couple assumed that only one of them would end up being a biological parent. “We couldn’t decide on who would be the biological father. Graeme said it should be me, but I said that he had just as much right as I did,” Simon recalled.
The doctor from their fertility clinic had a better plan in mind! “When we spoke to the doctor at the clinic, he stunned us with his reply. He told us that it could be both of us,” Simon explained. “They said that we could have half the embryos fertilized with my sperm and then half with Graeme’s sperm.”
The couple got married and then decided to honeymoon in Canada.
The couple got married. Then, they flew to Canada for their honeymoon to spend it with Meg.
“We were nervous at the beginning — in case that we didn’t click with her. But we needn’t have worried,” Simon said. “Meeting Meg was like being reunited with a long-lost sister. She wrapped us both in a hug before introducing us to her adorable boys. We didn’t how to thank her. We told her we were so grateful to her — she was changing not only our lives but our families too,” he said.
After a great meeting with Meg, the couple left Canada with high hopes. After six months, a fertilized embryo from Simon and one from Graeme were inserted into Meg’s womb. During a two week period, the couple waited to see if both embryos would take. The fear was that none would make it or only one embryo would take and that would mean only one would be a biological father.
The couple decided that if it didn’t work out, they would go through the entire process again. After two weeks, they got good news. Meg was pregnant! However, they had to wait another four weeks to find out if both embryos took.
Would both men be biological dads?
“[Meg] FaceTimed us from the scanning room. First of all, we saw one heartbeat, and our stomach clenched with nerves,” Simon said. “Then we saw the other heartbeat. Graeme and I just hugged each other. We were just over the moon. We were both going to be dads — she was pregnant with both of our babies.”
It was such incredible news for the same-sex couple who had gone through so much to get these ‘miracle’ biological twins. The two dads flew back to Canada to be with Meg for her 19-week scan. They also got to spend time with Meg and her own children.
“We put our hands on her bump and felt our babies kicking. It was a magical moment,” Simon remembered. “We got to meet her family, too, which was lovely. It was great to see her being a mom to her children. We knew that our babies were in the best possible hands,” Simon added.
A scare at 31 weeks into the pregnancy made Simon and Graeme fly back to Canada again.
At 31 weeks pregnant, Meg called Simon and Graeme to let them know she was experiencing pain. It was 5 weeks before her due date. The concerned couple hopped on a plane and flew back to Canada to be with Meg and to help in any way they could.
“We packed our stuff and caught the first flight out to Canada,” Simon said. “But while we were in the air we couldn’t contact Meg to find out what was happening. The wait was agonizing.” Luckily by the time the plane landed, they discovered it everything was okay. “We were just so relieved that she and the babies were fine,” he recalled.
Since the due date was just a few weeks away. Simon and Graeme stayed in Canada until the babies would be born. In the delivery room, all of them held hands and supported one another. “It was the most amazing experience of our lives,” Simon said.
Dads finally have their miracle babies and dream family.
Daughter, Alexandria was born first. Calder, their son, soon followed. “When we both held them for the first time, we couldn’t believe that we were both daddies,” Simon said. “It was a long way to go and do this, but it was worth it to both be able to have fathered one of the twins each.”
After several weeks, the same-sex couple returned to England with their biological twins. It was said to saying goodbye to Meg, but they have kept in touch. In fact, they asked Meg to come spend the twins’ first birthday with them. “It was incredibly special having her there to celebrate the twins special day with us. It’s hard work having two babies, but Graeme and I are loving every minute of it,” Simon said.
The two fathers and Meg talk constantly and think of each other as siblings. Simon and Graeme refer to Meg as the ‘tummy mummy’, which is just charming. After the experience, Meg found it remarkable what the doctors had achieved. “It was amazing being pregnant with embryos that they had both fathered — science is an amazing thing,” she said.
Indeed! Congrats to the Berney-Edwards family!