If you’ve been on baby TikTok, you might have stumbled across Bryan and Chris Lambillotte’s channel (@itsbryanandchris), which is filled with educational and heartwarming videos about their surrogacy journey as a gay couple.
They’ve left no topic off the table in order to inspire and inform curious minds and prospective parents around the world, sharing everything from the logistics of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to emotional milestones like the moment they found out that their surrogate was pregnant with their twins, Brecon and London.
In celebration of Pride Month, Bryan sat down with us to discuss their rocky but rewarding surrogacy experience, their mission to demystify and destigmatize a process that’s still shrouded in taboo, tender moments they shared setting up their nursery, and their hope to raise their children to be unabashedly themselves.
TIMELINE OF BRYAN AND CHRIS' SURROGACY PROCESS
June 2020: Hoping to have twins, Bryan and Chris find an IVF doctor and surrogacy agency and test their sperm for viability.
August 2020: With the help of their agency, they find an egg donor that meets their criteria and egg retrieval takes place. Their embryos are fertilized, screened, and stored in a freezer at the clinic.
October 2020: They “match” with their first surrogate after interviewing her, which is when both parties agree to work with each other.
“There are surrogates out there who aren’t willing to work with an LGBTQ+ couple, which was kind of hard, but that’s the person’s prerogative and choice. We made sure [to be clear] in our criteria because we didn’t want to find out after the fact that some person that we talked to that we thought was nice wasn’t willing to work with us because we were a gay couple,” Bryan said.
December 2020: The surrogate they initially matched with does not pass medical evaluations and they part ways with her.
March 2021: Bryan and Chris meet with their second surrogate candidate and she passes all the required psychological and medical evaluations and starts a birth control regimen and hormone routine but discovers that she is pregnant with her own child.
“I was just devastated again because now we’ve lost our second surrogate. I was almost at that point of like, ‘I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore. The universe is telling us that maybe we’re not supposed to have babies because this is so hard,’” Bryan said.
“Every time we matched with a surrogate, for them to do a psych evaluation, to get checked out by the doctor, attorneys, contracts — all of that costs money, and all of that is out of our pocket. None of it gets refunded because the vendors fulfilled their jobs and their duties.”
May 2021: Bryan and Chris begin the search for a surrogate for the third time.
“Most couples that go through surrogacy might lose their first surrogate, but when we were ready to start the process again, we took about a good month off because I was in a very dark place. Chris is my rock, so he brought me out of the trenches and back to: ‘This is our journey. You really want to be a dad, and this is just something we have to keep pushing on.’”
June 2021: With the assistance of their agency, they match with a surrogate, and she passes all psychological and medical evaluations. They sign contracts and she begins hormone regimens.
July 2021: The embryo transfer of their twins takes place successfully.
March 9, 2022: Bryan and Chris’ surrogate gives birth to their twins via C-section.
Bryan and Chris in the hospital together shortly after their twins, Brecon and London, are born.
OPENING UP TO THE WORLD THROUGH TIKTOK
What motivated you to start sharing your journey on social media?
Bryan: Surrogacy is not something that a lot of people know about. There are a lot of assumptions. Some people might know a little bit, but IVF, surrogacy, and egg donation have a negative stigma attached to it because people think, ‘Oh, you’re going through IVF, what’s wrong with you, you’re broken.’ We love bringing more visibility and education and light to it whenever possible, because it’s something that so many people go through, but there are plenty of people out there that are not like me, who are not open, who are very nervous and would not be comfortable speaking on a podcast or an interview to talk about it because it is so personal.
Overall, how have people received your content? What have been the positive and negative aspects of navigating social media?
Bryan: In the beginning, we got the trolls who were like ‘You guys can’t have babies, you’re two men. Who’s pregnant?’ But I will say, it’s been way more positive than negative sharing our story. That’s what’s so crazy about this platform — TikTok just brings so many people together. So many grandmas or moms reach out to me being like, ‘My little boy or my grandson is gay and he’s seen your TikToks and he’s like, ‘I can’t wait to have a family like Bryan and Chris.’
I have spoken with people in Europe, in Australia, in Asia, all around the United States, in Canada, in places where surrogacy is not even known or it’s illegal. [Our story] brings them hope, that they might have a way to maybe remove themselves from that situation wherever they live, if they can, or move to a place that is more accepting of LGBTQ+ individuals and be able to have a family like ours.
BUILDING THE PERFECT NURSERY
What was it like putting your nursery together? What was your favorite thing about it?
Bryan: Every time we were doing something in the nursery, whether it was building the cribs, moving the dresser in, putting up the wallpaper — it felt like it wasn’t real. It felt like a dream because this is [Brecon and London’s] space. This is where we’re going to bond with them, feed them, change their diapers, and watch them sleep.
My favorite thing, in addition to building the cribs with Chris, was putting up the wallpaper with my dad. That was really nice because it was my dad, but it’s also Grandpa! Grandpa is helping to put together this space for his grandchildren. I didn’t really know what I was doing, so to do that together, it almost felt like – I’m his son and I’ll always be his son – it almost was like a father-young son moment again where he was teaching me how to do something, which is something that I’m excited to do with Brecon and London at some point.
NAVIGATING EXPECTATIONS AND STEREOTYPES
Do people have certain expectations for how you’d raise your family because you’re an LGBTQ+ couple?
Bryan: A lot of people have asked us on TikTok, “Oh, are you going to raise them nonbinary or are you only going to use they/them because you’re an LGBTQ+ couple?” And we’re kind of like, “Well, no, Brecon is a boy and London is a girl, so at this point, that’s how we will raise them.” Once they are old enough to express their feelings and to express to us that maybe they don’t want to be called a certain word or a certain name, then we’ll adjust.
Maybe they’re gay, maybe they’re bi, or whatever that may be, we want to accept them wholeheartedly, 100 percent and support them to make sure that they feel loved all the time and that however they are, that they are exactly who they’re supposed to be. There’s nothing that needs to be changed based on what society might tell them to act or be.
CHALLENGING THE STATUS QUO
As a torch-bearer of sorts for LGBTQ+ couples navigating the surrogacy process, what sort of impact do you hope to make in the media, or what change do you wish to see?
Bryan: So much focus is on moms, who, by all means, are very important. They are the ones who carry and deliver the baby, go through so much pre, during, and post pregnancy, so they are obviously the ones to focus on and shed light on, but it has been a little sad or disheartening to not really see the father’s perspective alongside the mom’s, or that of LGBTQ+ couples. It's not as common or as normalized in advertisements and media as I wish it were. Representation is definitely getting better, but it’s very refreshing to work with companies like yours, that want to be inclusive and feature all different types of families.
What is the main thing or hope that you want people to take away from your parenting journey?
Bryan: There’s no specific guideline, look, or way to have a family. Every family is different. Some families have a mommy and a daddy, some have only a mom or only a dad. Some, like us, have two daddies, and no matter what you have at the end of the day, it’s about the responsibility of being a good parent. The most important thing that we want to show people is that these children are loved and that they are protected, they are safe, and that they are going to be brought up in this world to be kind and thoughtful and to be good people.