Having children can be a challenge for everyone, including Luc and his partner. As a gay couple, they have been doing it for over 5 years. Adoption was no longer an option, so they were looking for a surrogate mother. And the finish line is not yet in sight.
For Luc (28), it has always been clear: he really wants children. “It’s also one of the reasons I had a very hard time getting out,” he says. “Because you know that’s why it’s just getting a lot more complicated to have children.”
Long adoption process
Therefore, when he went looking for a partner, the desire to have children was an important point. Fortunately, partner Luuk (28) thinks the same. “We really found each other in it,” Luc says. First, the couple began to look at the possibilities of adoption.
“Then you have to follow an entire process. You sign up and then you are required to attend about six information meetings that are planned very far apart,” says Luc. “Someone from the Child Welfare Service will also come to your home to check if your house is suitable for raising a child. I think we eventually spent 1.5 years on it.”
Abuse during adoption
But after the long investment of time, the dream fell apart just before the finish line. The then Minister of Legal Protection sent a letter stating that there had been abuses in a number of countries regarding adoption.
“While many of the countries mentioned are no longer adopted,” Luc says.
“But the intention was actually: the current system can under no circumstances prevent abuses abroad. Therefore, the minister then decided immediately to stop all adoptions,” he continues.
What a blow for the young couple. “It was something of a shock to us because we had fully committed ourselves to it. We went to all the information meetings and then also thought, ‘this is really what we want’. And suddenly it was no longer possible.”
Surrogacy in Canada
Eventually, they ended up with surrogacy. “We have now registered in a clinic in Canada to do a surrogate mother process there. We will also look for an egg donor who also comes from Canada and embryos will be made with that egg donor. A surrogate mother will then carry it to us. . “
That they choose to review this in Canada is related to the legislation in the Netherlands, which according to Luc is ‘deficient’. “It’s possible in the Netherlands, but you just have to be able to find someone who is open to becoming a surrogate mother without calling. Because it’s a criminal offense.”
Surrogate mothers no legal status
According to the national government, this is to counteract surrogacy for commercial purposes. “But the system in Canada is also voluntary, not commercial. At the same time, from a legal point of view, it is much better established,” says Luc.
Similarly, the procedures after the birth of the child are much shorter. “There are standard procedures there, so everything is neatly and safely arranged within a few weeks. While a surrogate mother has no legal status in the Netherlands.”
Legislation in the Netherlands
There are several options for becoming a father as a single man or a gay couple. Following Minister Dekker’s decision, adoption is currently not possible. Other options include surrogacy, multiple parenthood, or foster care. There is still no legislation for surrogacy and multiple parenthood. As a result, children growing up in these families are less well protected than children growing up in traditional family forms. Not all actual parents are legal, or only after a long period of litigation.
Hundreds of people
It was only when they started the adoption process that Luc and Luuk realized how many other couples shared their situation. “At the first briefing, I actually thought we were going to sit in a circle with three or four couples. But then we came in and I saw over a hundred people who all had the same question.”
When they told people around them that they were becoming parents, the response was positive. “But the reaction you get the most is’ super unfair that you have to make so much effort to have a child, ” he says.
Culture change needed
The existing legislation should therefore be updated to also provide legal recognition of unconventional family situations, says Luc. “The cultural change is needed, but it’s still being pulled a bit by the people who stick their necks out and just do it.”
He hopes more attention can bring about change. “It’s important that we all get used to the fact that it is very normal for non-hetero couples or singles to have children.”