A gay couple is now the father of “triplets” after two surrogate mothers gave birth at the same time.
Bjarke Damm and Lars Hansen, both 44, were overjoyed when two loved ones separately offered to become surrogate mothers for the couple.
Instead of turning one down, they asked Bjarke’s sister Pia and her close friend Danielle McDavis if they could both help raise families at the same time.
A number of embryos were created in Connecticut, USA using an egg donor.
Pia Damm, 42, became pregnant with her brother-in-law Lars’ biological child.
Then, just two weeks later, they were delighted to hear that then-40-year-old Danielle was also pregnant, and they later found out about twins.
Pia gave birth to Anna and a fortnight later the twins Lily and Nora were born.
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The couple regard the three girls as their miracle triols.
Commercial surrogacy is not legal in Denmark.
There the birth mother has to wait two and a half years before she can offer offspring for adoption, regardless of whether they are biologically from her or not.
This month, three years after the triplets were born, the pair believe they will be the first gay couple in Denmark to legally adopt surrogate children.
Psychotherapist Bjarke from Hillerod near Copenhagen said: “It feels like the best Christmas present there has ever been.
“It is so great to be complete as a family and so important to be legally recognized as fathers for all three of our beautiful girls.
“There were so many obstacles, but we always only took one step at a time. Now we’ve made it with love, respect and a lot of uncertainty.
“I think we are the first gay couple in Denmark to become legal parents to all of our birth children. They are just amazing.
“They all sleep together in the same room, but we still don’t get much sleep.”
Since their marriage in May 2007, Lars, a general practitioner, and Bjarke had long hoped for children but had no idea how to do it due to Danish law.
Egg donation is only permitted under very specific medical circumstances.
They tried to adopt but said many agencies wouldn’t accept gay parents.
Bjarke said, “We just longed for family life. I felt such sadness when I thought it would never happen.
“It was like losing part of myself.”
Bjarke’s sister Pia surprised her with the offer to be a surrogate mother out of the blue in October 2015.
Close friend Dannielle didn’t know about Pia’s offer and said they could borrow her uterus two months later.
Bjarke said, “It was such a generous and kind offer after all this heartbreak.
“We were almost too scared to come back to the idea, but they revived us.”
The couple selected a Puerto Rican donor through a Connecticut clinic and harvested 14 eggs, with each father artificially fertilizing seven.
After a nerve-wracking seven-day wait, six had matured, involving sperm from each father.
The women traveled to America separately, and Pia announced her pregnancy via FaceTime in June 2017.
Three weeks later, after a third attempt, Dannielle found out that she expected it.
Two months later, they found out that Dannielle was also expecting twins.
Pia gave birth to Anna on January 29, 2018 and two weeks later, Dannielle gave birth to Lily and Nora.
Lars added: “We have so many laughs and I love it when they learn new things.
“I am so grateful that I can experience parenthood.
“Without Danielle and Pia, it would not be possible to have our family the way we wanted.
“Not only did our babies need hormone therapy for three months, they also had to undergo hormone therapy before each transmission.
“Danielle did this several times and then carried twins.
“We are very lucky to have these wonderful women in our lives and we will always wonder how to say thank you.”
Lars and Bjarke’s family cost them around £ 50,000 (DKR 500,000) for donor eggs, Connecticut flights and housing, and there is no fertility subsidy for gay men.
Bjarke said: “The longing for a family is the same for us as it is for women.”
The babies all came home with Bjarke and Lars as soon as they were released from the hospital, but it was years before they could legally adopt them on December 2nd
“It took me three years to become a legal parent to all of my children,” said Lars, “and six months to struggle at the top to reach six months of maternity leave.”
“The problem is, there haven’t been a lot of studies on families like ours.
“We give love and hold, listen and respond to our little ones. We give everything you need. “