There’s more to Vegas than large hotels, bright lights and 24hr gambling as Dr Daneshmand from The Fertility Center of Las Vegas tells us when we spoke with him this week. Thousands of us are looking to fertility centres to start our own families and if we can fit in a bit of Liza at the LVH (Las Vegas Hotel) in the same day, then why not?
Having been with my partner now for over nine years the inevitable questions have popped up. Should we get married? If Niall Horan asked me out would I dump you? Do we want kids?
The latter question got me thinking the most. I like the idea of having children at some point in my life, and it seems I am not the only one. ‘I was one of the key note speakers in a New York city conference called ‘Men Having Babies’, two hundred and fifty male couples were there intending to learn more about surrogacy and parenting’, said Dr Daneshmand.
‘In the UK, France and nine states in America where gay marriage is legal, desire for gay couples to come forward has increased. Right now a significant portion of my practice is helping gay couples to become parents. At UCL (University of Central London) where I studied, even 20 years ago, I felt society had to catch up with their views and the stigma they attached. I was a big advocate that a child needs love and it doesn’t matter if you have two dads, two mums, a single mum or a single dad as long as you can provide love to the child.’
So how does it all work? How do gay men go about having babies? The first step is communication and understanding and Dr Daneshmand seems ready to talk anytime of the day or week. ‘Being thousands of miles away has made no difference for our patients as we’re always there for them. I Skype at weekends, midnight and I’m always available on email. We go over the medical and legal parts of surrogacy and I get an understanding of who they are.’ I asked if he ever took holidays or switched off from his work for a few days. ‘I’d like to be the kind of doctor that I’d like to go to, so no.’ Wouldn’t we all like a doctor like that!
After learning more about the prospective parents and telling them all about the processes of having a child, it’s then time to find the right egg donor and surrogate mother. ‘All surrogates come from across the US from states which are open to surrogacy like, Nevada, California, Illinois and Oregon’.
I wondered how a surrogate mother may feel about having a child to hand over to two gay men and if there was ever any refusals. ‘Absolutely there are, but we don’t work with those surrogates. We have a questionnaire which asks “are you willing to work with all couples” if their answer is no, we don’t work with them. It’s something we don’t tolerate in our practice.’
Once you have your surrogate mother it is then time to sort the legalities of it all. Again Dr Daneshmand is there to help work with the UK and American attorneys to sign all the documents, making it a painless process for the parents to be. Interestingly, ‘It doesn’t require adoption papers as a Pre-Birth Order in states of open surrogacy means the intended parents names are on the birth certificate.’
We then went into the process of how the child is created. This involves lots of graphic words which I’m sure the doctor will be happy to tell you all about over a cuppa, like he did with me. Lets just say you’ll want to book your flight out there for 7-8 months time. ‘The intended parents usually like to be there for the birth of the child. With in as little as one week you can then travel back to the UK with your new son or daughter.’
In total, the whole process can take up to a year and a half from first discussions about having a kid to introducing your new child to friends and family. This isn’t the end though. Help and support is always on hand from the “doctor who never sleeps” and once a year a large party is thrown to celebrate the growing numbers of families. ‘Last year we had 1,500 people there and I step back and see all these kids running around and that’s the greatest joy of our profession.’
Having joined The Fertility Center of Las Vegas 16 years ago, 10 years after the doors first opened by Dr Shapiro, Dr Daneshmand has helped grow its success opening up a second centre in Las Vegas with expansions into LA and Utah coming soon. Invited all over the world to give presentations on IVF treatments and talk about the research both doctors are carrying out, it was a pleasure to chat with a man so genuinely excited to give straight, gay and celebrity, no names were mentioned, the opportunity to have children.
If you’re thinking about starting your own family or would like to learn more about the process of surrogacy then do visit: fertilitycenterlv.com
Dr Daneshmand will also be in London on the 3rd November at the Langham Hotel giving free private consultations on egg donation and surrogacy alternatives in the US. If you would like to book a free place then do click here for more details. Langham Hotel Consultations
The UK’s bitchiest agony aunt. Send her your woes if you dare.