Marine Corps veteran shares his surrogacy story – and how he and his husband got help from non-profits

Duane and David Perez always wanted to have kids. But, the couple, who got married in 2016, knew that it would be a challenging process that would require a lot of time, energy, and of course – money

The couple were enamoured by the idea of the help of a surrogate to be able to have the family they dreamed of

David says, “I think the idea” of having children of their own “was amazing.” However, they soon realised that surrogacy in the US can cost more than $200,000! However, they found that they qualified for help from a number of non-profits.

They will soon fly from their Potomac, Maryland home to attend the birth of their son, Niklaus Asher Perez, who is due in December.

Duane, 46, a Marine Corps veteran who left service due to a service-related disability, says that the entire experience has been “unbelievable and extraordinary.”

He and his husband David, 41, began their fatherhood journeys with a lot of research. David, who delights in being a ‘research nerd,’ says that he spent nearly 12 months “finding out what it was going to take out of us both physically and financially.” The couple wondered, “is it going to change our lives for the better?”

They soon learned about Men Having Babies, a non-profit organisation who helps couples find the educational resources, legal advice, and grants needed to help pay for their doctors and medications. They learned a ton at a Men Having Babies conference, which Duane says, “was very illuminating. We were completely unaware of questions that we needed to ask not just ourselves but of a surrogate.”

They soon began working with a surrogacy coordinator and soon found an egg donor

Duane’s Veterans Administration health insurance helped cover the costs of some of the most expensive procedures. However, for the IVF treatments, they needed to seek additional funding. They soon realised that they were eligible for a $5,000 grant from the Veterans In Vitro InitiAtive (VIVA), an initiative of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, because of Duane’s disability status.

They used these funds to pay for their IVF treatments. They were lucky enough to create six embryos – three with David’s sperm and three with Duane’s. They don’t know which embryo was implanted in their surrogate, and they say they want it to be a surprise.

The couple estimates that they have spent $89,000 on the process, which includes a $45,000 payment to their surrogate. However, they relied on the help they received from many agencies. As Duane says, “we really could not have done this without the organizations helping us out along the way. This is not an easy process.”

Anne Marie Dougherty, CEO of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, was happy to help, and she is dedicated to helping other servicemen have children. “So often, when service members go off to war, they’re young, they haven’t even thought about having kids yet. And some come home with injuries that suddenly make it very difficult or impossible for them to do that.”

“We’re honored to help make dreams come true for veteran families like the Perezes.”

We couldn’t be happier for the Perezes, and we can’t wait for them to meet their precious baby boy. Congratulations!

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