When Tyler Greene first met his husband, one thing was clear: his husband wanted kids, and Tyler didn’t. But after going to a Men Having Babies conference, and seeing other, happy gay couples with genetically-linked children, Tyler did a 180: “If we’re able to do that, I would have a hard time not trying.” Listen as Tyler takes us through his family’s journey with surrogacy: finding their son’s surrogate, being there for his birth, and gearing up to embark on the journey a second time.
You can follow Tyler Greene on Twitter and Instagram @storyproducer.
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Interested in learning more about Tyler? Check out the links below:
- Listen to Tyler’s podcast, This Is My Family: https://www.timfshow.com/
- Learn more about Tyler’s work with Pod People: https://www.podpeople.com/
- Keep up with all of Tyler’s work at his website: https://www.thestoryproducer.com/
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Tyler Greene 00:05
Hi, I’m Tyler Greene, and you’re listening to GOOD KIDS. I am a professional podcaster. And the host and executive producer of THIS IS MY FAMILY. And today I’m going to talk about my evolving definitions of family and the surrogacy journeys that my husband and I have gone on.
Family to me when I was younger, was pretty traditional, you know, white picket fence, mother, father, all of the sort of standard ways one might look at family if they were raised in Southwest Michigan. I didn’t come out until I was 20. I don’t even remember I was in college I like, like, kissed a boy smoked weed and had a strawberry daiquiri on the same night, it was amazing. And that wasn’t until I was like 21, or 22, I think. And I sort of grappled with sexuality throughout my childhood, I kind of like, you know, had feelings and sort of new things. But there were only a couple of queer people at the time, I didn’t even know what that word meant, gay men, basically, that were very out and loud.
And, and I was always very interested and intrigued, but didn’t have any real examples. Other than like, what I saw in the Rosie O’Donnell show, which was like, honestly, as silly as that may sound that was like my connection to my future. I didn’t have any idea about what else family could look like. And so as an extension of the fact that my family was a little chaotic, you know, there was some drinking, and some, you know, we just, we didn’t know really how to argue and like, it was kind of chaos. And so I don’t, I didn’t want that. And I sort of felt like, that’s a lot of work. And I would rather be an artist.
Tyler Greene 02:14
So I met my husband in January of 2012. So we just celebrated our nine-year meetaversary. And at the beginning, it was very clear that he wanted children at some point in his life. And it was very clear that I did not. And so it was something that we didn’t really talk about, I am somewhat averse to conflict in general. So my sort of go to is avoid it. And working on that, thank you Brené Brown. But we eventually, it got to the point where we really had to talk about it, because family is very central to the way that he sees the world. He grew up in China, for most of his life, family is the centerpiece of everything, and most Chinese families. And his parents really wanted children. And there was pressure coming from there.
And eventually, I just sort of made this like decision. And I don’t remember a moment, but I just remember thinking like, okay, how bad could it be? To have a childlike, and kind of just like, radically accepted it and went forward. So we went to this conference called Men Having Babies in Chicago. And it was exactly what it sounds like it was there were panels, there were presentations of materials, you could meet people at each phase of the sort of surrogacy journey, which was what we were exploring, it was really important for my husband to have biological children if we could make it happen in terms of resources, and in terms of biology. And so at the time, I was really focused on thinking about adoption as well.
Tyler Greene 04:04
But I was intrigued by the possibility of maybe there’s a way in which we could have genetically linked kids, my sister being young and healthy, and looks almost exactly like me, except she has long hair, breasts, and a lot of other things. But like, those are the two big differences physically between us and so we go to this conference, and we learn about all this crazy stuff. And we’re like, whoa, like we met this family that had twins that they had engineered basically, to be born at the same time, but had shared genetic material in terms of the egg donor, but then the sperm donors were each of the fathers. And so they were born and I’m just like, whoa, I think that actually seeing those children running around I was like, it’s incredibly privileged to be able to do this in this way. Because, you know, it requires a lot of financial resources.
And healthy people on both ends. And if we’re able to do that, I would have a hard time not trying. And so that’s how it started. And then a couple years later, we went again, to the conference. But this time, we were like, We have to put a team together of people. My sister at this point had said yes to being our egg donor, there was like, no real pomp and circumstance around it, it was just like, okay, yeah, we’re gonna do that. And so we needed to find an IVF clinic near her where she could go through the process that she needs to go through to sort of deliver the eggs. And then we had to find also a surrogate. So there are these surrogacy agencies that help you find people to carry your baby essentially, and, and so the agency sent us this person named Emily.
And so we scheduled this Skype conversation, and I’ll never forget, we turned on the Skype and I saw Emily and then her husband, Dylan, who has built like a tank, he is like, like, not even exaggerating, he is like, beefy. And as soon as he opens his mouth, he’s like the sweetest, most tender human. And we just had this amazing conversation with them. And she had done this, at least once by that point, if not twice, already, for gay couples, to gay men specifically, and just had this really unique perspective about wanting like seeing a surrogacy video when she was really young. And realizing that there are some people who can’t have children in the way that she did. And feeling like this intense pole to help people in that way, which we got off the call, we looked at each other. And we said, that’s our person, I think, and hired her.
It all was very unreal, until the moment my son was born, which is a cliche, but for me, I didn’t grow up thinking I was going to be a dad. And definitely when I came out, I didn’t think that was even a possibility. I had no idea. I mean, I did go to a liberal arts school, I’m in the theater world, I have a lot of friends in the activist community. So my mind has been exploding and growing ever since I left my small town. And I still have a lot of that small town in me. So I didn’t, it didn’t register until he came into the world. The night that Sam was born was really amazing. We were in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, which for those who don’t know, is a pretty traditional and conservative place. It was me, my husband and my husband’s mom, who was here from China, and who had moved here short term to be with her son.
Tyler Greene 08:07
So she came here and coincidentally it coincides with when her grandchild was born. So we all drive down together. And we’re you know, I’m singing musical theater at the top of my lungs, and she’s laughing, and she doesn’t really know what I’m saying. And I don’t know what she’s saying to my husband. And it’s, you know, super hilarious and idyllic and a lot of ways. So we get there, we meet Emily and Dylan again. And we have dinner with Emily. We have some spicy food, and I joke that Emily is going to, you know, deliver early, she’s scheduled to deliver the next morning and we go back to the hotel room. And you know, we basically start getting messages from Dylan, Emily’s husband that Emily is we think Emily is in labor and she’s in hospital. So I think it’s like, I don’t know, 10 o’clock at night. By the time we rush over there, the parking lot is completely dark.
And it’s like The Walking Dead. And we walk up to the door we buzz in they say that only two people are allowed in and I say this is my mother-in-law, she doesn’t speak English, she’s coming in some negotiation happening there. And people getting used to the fact that two men are here to have a baby and you know, we go into the room, Emily’s in a lot of pain. And I’d never seen her that way before and it was really hard to stay connected, but also supportive. And then the doctor comes in and we kind of hug the doctor. He’s amazing. And he said, You ready to do this? And we said, okay, and sorry, I’m getting emotional and, and then basically, you know, it’s like the stereotypical moment that happens, like, who wants to cut the cord, the baby comes out.
They like whisk him away and start like cleaning him up and I’m just like, what […] is happening? And then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, everything stops and this child like looks at me straight in the eye and it’s silence. And I’m telling you there is like I have not experienced anything like that before and probably never will again. It was very intense. Of course, you know, we all start crying and it’s just like yeah, like little fish hooks like just like latch themselves on to my heart forever. And I know that sounds very melodramatic, but I’m melodramatic […]. So, deal with it. And now we’re thinking about having, we’re in the process of kind of thinking about having another child and putting kind of the pieces together to kind of make that happen.
Tyler Greene 10:40
And I’m already thinking about that day, I’m like, we were able to kind of experience it with Emily like some people choose to kind of take the baby and run and like keep a boundary between families. And we did not want to do that, like Emily was probably the second or third person to hold our son. And we feel this insane connection to her, of course, but also her husband, Dylan, and we, you know, they have their own family. And so we’re kind of growing our families side by side.
And yeah, I couldn’t imagine doing this with anybody else. So when we were talking about having a second child, we asked Emily, of course right away and she’s had I don’t even know how many babies it is at this point. I think it’s four surrogacy journeys or three, but then two of her own. So she’s like a veteran and it was like some nerves around asking the veteran like, will you do this with us? Because we can’t imagine doing it with anybody else. And thankfully, she said yes.
You can follow me at @storyproducer on all of the social media handles. You can also go to podpeople.com or timfshow.com to find out what I’m doing in the world. And thank you so much for listening to GOOD KIDS.
GOOD KIDS is a Lemonada Media Original. Supervising producer is Kryssy Pease. Associate producer is Alex McOwen and Kegan Zema is our engineer. The show is executive produced by Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. The music is by Dan Molad with additional music courtesy of APM music. Check us out on social at @LemonadaMedia, recommend us to a friend and rate and review us wherever you listen to podcast. If you want to submit a show idea, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next week, stay good.