Derry dads become first couple to have baby through surrogacy without leaving Northern Ireland

The pair are new fathers to the first baby born through surrogacy without leaving the country.

Derry Dads and daughter Wren at her Christening
Image: Via Instagram @2dadsjourney

A same-sex couple in Derry have become the dads of baby Wren, now seven months old, making them the first couple to have a baby via surrogacy in the North of Ireland.

It took five years of saving up and a lot of hard work, but Patrick and Jon Coyle have finally been able to start their family with the help of a surrogate, Patrick’s own sister, Charley.

Charley, wanting to do whatever she could to help her brother and brother-in-law start their very own family, donated her egg and carried the baby to save them from the costly fees associated with getting a surrogating through America.

“My sister Charley had mentioned [the idea of carrying their baby] when we were talking about fostering and adoption and she said she would love to have a baby for us. We didn’t know how serious she was about it until she said it again a few weeks later,” Patrick told the Derry Journal.

“She said she wanted to finish her own family first. She had a wee boy then, Charlie, and then about a year later she had a wee girl, Cerys. We started looking into it when Cerys was one and she’ll be five now in March.”

“We have so much admiration for Charley now,” the Derry dads added. “She had already been through the pain of labour and carrying a baby before but she did it again for us. Even to look at our own mothers and understand what they went through, it’s an unbelievable thing to do.”

After having suffered a miscarriage on their first try, Jon and Patrick say “Our second time, we were really lucky to get Wren.”

The couple want to tell their story because “as young gay men growing up … we never thought that we would have been able to get married, let alone have children of our own”, Patrick said, highlighting that Northern Ireland only got marriage equality in 2020.

Although they admit to having faced many obstacles, including a series of tests, cycle-tracking, counselling, high costs and a global pandemic, they want “to show other people that it’s accessible, it’s not out of reach,” said Jon.

“As Paddy was saying, it can be quite costly but with the support of our family and with Charleen, Charley, we were able to have our family, so it’s something that’s an option for other people.”

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