The Danes Bjarke Damm and Lars Hansen are both 44 years old, and according to their account, they had “triplets,” so to speak, after two surrogate mothers gave birth to their three daughters almost at the same time.
The ɢᴀʏ couple was offered the role of surrogate mother by two of their acquaintances a month apart, and thus their family was eventually expanded to include three children at the same time. The first surrogate mother was Bjarke’s sister, 42-year-old Pia, and the second was a close friend of the couple, 40-year-old Danielle McDavis.
Pia’s brother-in-law, Lars, was pregnant with his child, and two weeks later, the good news arrived that Danielle was also pregnant, and later it turned out that she was expecting twins. After Pia gave birth to Anna on January 29, 2018, the twins Lily and Nora were born 14 days later.
However, since commercial sheep mothering is not legal in Denmark, the birth mother must wait two and a half years before she can offer the child for adoption, regardless of whether the child is hers in a biological sense or not.
Therefore, the couple had to wait three years until they were finally able to officially adopt their children on December 2, 2020, and they are the first ɢᴀʏ couple in Denmark to do so.
Bjarke, who works as a psychotherapist, said, “This is the best Christmas present ever. It’s great that we can be a family, and it means a lot to us that he is legally recognized as the father of all three of our beautiful daughters. There were many obstacles in front of us, but we progressed step by step. With love, respect, and a lot of uncertainty, we finally managed to get to this point. I think we are the first ɢᴀʏ couple in Denmark to become the legal parents of their biological children. The children are all wonderful. All three sleep in the same room, but we still don’t sleep much.”
Bjarke and Lars got married in May 2007 and had dreamed of having children for a long time, but they had no idea that they could realize their dream under Danish law. Egg donation is only possible in the country under certain, medically defined circumstances. They tried to adopt, but were told many agencies wouldn’t accept gay parents.
“We were longing for family life more and more. I felt great sadness when I thought it would never happen again. It felt like I had lost a part of myself,” said Bjarke.
Bjrake’s sister, Pia, surprised them with the proposal in October 2015, and two months later, without knowing about Pia’s proposal, Dannielle also offered to take up surrogacy.
“It was an incredibly generous and kind offer after so much heartache. We were very afraid to return to this idea, but they re-energized us,” says Bjarke.
The two women had to travel to the United States for artificial insemination. Pia announced her pregnancy on FaceTime in June 2017. Two weeks later, after the third attempt, Danielle also announced her pregnancy, and two months later, they also learned that she was expecting twins.
After the three girls were born in 2018, the couple took them home right away, but they had to wait years before they could officially adopt them.
“We laugh a lot and love watching the kids learn new things. I am so grateful to be able to experience parenthood. Without Danielle and Pia, we wouldn’t have the family we wanted. Both of them had to undergo three months of hormone ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛs before the ɪᴍᴘʟᴀɴᴛs. Danielle went through this several times, then carried the twins. We are extremely lucky to have these wonderful women in our lives, and we will never know how much we can thank them for this,” Lars said of the family’s life.
Lars and Bjarke’s family spent around £50,000 on starting a family, including the money given to the egg donor, travel to Connecticut and accommodation there, all without receiving financial support for this purpose as ɢᴀʏ men.
“We all have the same desire for family as women do,” said Bjarke.
“It took us three years to legally become parents to our children. I struggled for six months until I managed to get six months of parental leave. The problem is that there aren’t many studies of families like ours. We love our children, hug them, listen to them, and always answer them for everything. We give them everything they need,” Lars added.