When former MTV reality programming head Drew Tappon and his partner Jerry Mahoney (pictured R-L), a screenwriter, wanted to have a baby, they embarked on the same mission a half-drunk college student goes on to get laid: they signed on to the WWW.
For Jerry it was perhaps the only time in his life he bothered checking out women’s profiles on the net, but he had to find somebody to carry his unborn child, and the best surrogates usually have uteruses.
We’d been instructed by our surrogacy agency not to use the “m-word.” “This child will have two fathers,” the staff member scolded. “He or she will have an egg donor and a surrogate, but no mother!”
Whatever you call these young women, there’s no shortage of them. For all those who are desperate to stop gay couples from adopting, there are others who are eager to help us down a more complex path to parenthood.
And for the most part, they are merely girls — some as young as 19, still in their awkward phases. You click on a face and up pops a video in which an acne-cheeked college sophomore talks about her poli-sci major, her love of soccer and “One Tree Hill” and, eyes wide with optimism, about the corporation she’ll be running in five years. A few write in texting shorthand: “Would luv 2 help u.” Drew and I are nearly twice as old as some of them. If we’d been straight and careless, we might have had a daughter their age by now.
Also if they’d been straight and careless, you might mistake their Times-published tale as a Dateline To Catch a Predator post-mortem.
But these two know their way around online profiles: They met on an (unnamed) dating site. But is choosing the surrogate for your child on the web even harder than finding a mate?
Choosing a biological relative for our unborn fetus wasn’t going to be as simple. There were so many more variables and bigger questions to ponder. Most candidates requested the standard $8,000 fee, but some negotiated their own rates. If she was blond, athletic and Harvard-educated, she thought she was worth 30 grand.
Everybody wants their children to have the best, but this process threatened to bankrupt us even without all the premium options.
Besides, who knew what that money would really buy? If we picked someone with an astronomical price tag, couldn’t we be saddling our child with the greed gene? And how would we explain it to him? “Your egg donor was top of the line, son. We got you, and she got a Porsche.” Or, “We wanted you to be taller, but anything over 5-foot-9 was out of our price range.”
In the end they found Susie, who isn’t a stranger on the web. She is Drew’s nine-years-younger sister, and it preempted what could’ve been a nasty argument: “With Susie, the matter was settled: I would be the biological father.” They had twins, a boy and a girl.
[NYT; photo via Facebook]