Unlike his husband, Manel, Thomas wasn’t always sure he wanted children. But when the couple based in Paris were married in 2013, he had a “revelation” that he wanted to grow a family. That’s when they took their first steps on the path to parenthood.
At that point, the couple began researching surrogacy online through the Men Having Babies agency directory. They went through a long list of agencies when they came across Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists. They reached out to Victoria T. Ferrara, Founder & Legal Director, personally.
“We liked her,” Thomas says. “It all started with Vicki.”
They were torn between two different surrogacy agencies, but in the end, they decided Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists would be the best fit.
“We talked to Worldwide Surrogacy and another agency, but the feeling was there with Vicki,” Thomas says. In addition to the special bond they developed, they wanted to pursue their surrogacy journey on the East Coast to be closer to their Paris home.
In September 2014, Thomas and Manel received the initial paperwork to sign on with Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists. The papers were finalized in December 2014 and their journey officially began.
By the summer of 2015, they were officially matched with a surrogate in Connecticut named Jenai who would change their lives forever.
Thomas and Manel officially met Jenai in person that fall for the embryo transfer. Jenai and her family took the couple to the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, where they saw firsthand how close Jenai was with her mother, siblings, and children. They’d seen this relationship early on in the process when they reviewed her application.
“We liked that Jenai’s application had a picture of her family—not just her,” Thomas says. “We wanted someone really close to her family because that’s how we are. It’s important to match with a surrogate that thinks about life and family in the same way we do.”
When they returned home to Paris, they stayed in close touch with Jenai to keep up with the pregnancy. They had a group chat on WhatsApp where they’d speak two or three times a week. From the beginning of their first surrogacy journey to the birth of their second son—also carried by Jenai—they developed an incredibly close bond.
“For us, it’s about the story of our family—and she’s part of it,” Thomas says.
Today, Thomas and Manel and their two beautiful boys, Martin (turning 3 in July) and Robin (5 months) have a special “family across the sea,” Thomas says.
Throughout their two journeys, while Thomas and Manel were home in Paris, Jenai put together books for the couple with pictures and stories from every step of the way.
“We have the embryo pictures, pictures of her belly growing, pictures of when we arrived in America, pictures of all three of us together, pictures of each baby,” Thomas says. They generously provided a few shots of their surrogacy books to share with the Worldwide Surrogacy community.
For other couples and individuals considering surrogacy to grow their families, it’s stories like Thomas and Manel’s that show how beautiful the journey is. For those of you out there, Thomas shares a few words of advice.
“When it comes to surrogacy, you have to choose the egg donor but the surrogate chooses you,” he says. “I think it’s important, the relationship with the surrogate…it’s not a commercial thing. It’s something deeper—with feelings. It’s not just a transaction as some people might think.”
The journey gave Thomas and Manel more than just their two kids—it gave them an entire extended family with Jenai.
“When I hear a song or watch a movie that makes me think about Jenai, I message her,” he says. “It’s definitely a lifelong connection.”
Interested in growing your family through surrogacy? Learn more about the Intended Parent process or reach out to Worldwide Surrogacy directly to see how surrogacy can work for you.