Gary and his husband Matt became parents to twins three years ago after treatment at Bourn Hall Clinic and with the help of a surrogate.
Verity and Elliott were born after Gary’s sister-in-law offered to carry their pregnancy for them using a donor egg.
Now delightful toddlers, the twins recently came back to Bourn Hall Clinic Cambridge with their Dads to meet some of the staff. Dr Thomas Mathews, Emeritus Consultant at Bourn Hall, who treated the couple and their surrogate, said he felt “like a very proud grandfather.”
The toddlers now go to pre-school a couple of times a week and Matt says he is enjoying being a stay-at-home parent following a career in retail. “I had been on parental leave for a year when we decided that I would carry on staying at home to look after the twins,” he says. “We always knew that one of us would give up work. I know not everyone has the luxury of being able to do that but it was important to us.”
Gary, meanwhile, has changed jobs since the twins were born and also reassessed his priorities. “I made it quite clear when I joined my new employer that my work-life balance was really important and they were so understanding,” he says. “I work in London and make sure that at least twice a week I leave my desk at 3pm to be home for bathtime and teatime and then once the children are in bed I put my laptop on and do a bit of work at home.”
The couple, who met through their shared interest in amateur dramatics, have a strong family network around them. Matt’s parents live in the next village and Gary’s parents recently relocated from the Lincolnshire coast to live nearby. Matt’s brother and his family also live locally.
“We have made a lot of friends with other parents and everyone has been so welcoming,” says Matt. “I have taken the twins to quite a few activities in the area and have got to know a lot of parents who I now see again when I drop them off at preschool. Sometimes when we meet someone new they are rather curious but most people know us locally so this has dropped off. Gary sometimes still finds through work though that when he tells someone our situation he can see their brain processing ‘how did that happen then?’ and wondering if they can ask him questions.
“The pre-school has been very supportive and are very open with the other children about the fact the twins have got two dads and the children don’t bat an eyelid and just accept it. The more we all just get on with it and don’t make it an issue the easier it is I guess.”
Becoming parents was easier in the beginning than Gary and Matt thought it might be. “When we first had the twins everyone told us we would be so tired that after around six months we wouldn’t be able to remember our names,” laughs Gary. “I think we were just incredibly lucky that they both slept really well right from the beginning. “
Now Verity and Elliott are older their individual personalities have emerged. “They are incredibly different”, says Gary. “Elliott likes to play with his trainset and crash in to things whereas Verity likes to roleplay and dress up. They are the best of friends and play really nicely together. ”
So what hopes and dreams do Gary and Matt have for Verity and Elliott in the future?
“This might sound very boring,” says Matt, “but we are just like any other parents and want our children to have long and happy lives and do all of the things in life they want to”.