IVF clinics refused to help, but our little miracle is here
The first gay couple to become dads using state surrogacy laws say they faced significant roadblocks from fertility clinics still catching up with legislation passed two years ago.
Aaron and Jake Leach, from St Marys, are preparing for their first Christmas with son Xavier - born on December 8, two days before they were wed.
Their surrogate - Blakeview mum-of-three Amber Steers, 27, used her own egg and sperm artificially inseminated from one on the intended dads to conceive Xavier in March.
This is known as "traditional surrogacy" and is less common than "gestational surrogacy" due to the advances of IVF and egg donation.
Aaron and Jake, who have been together for eight years, said they were unable to find a fertility clinic in SA willing to help them access artificial insemination for their surrogate.
This was despite laws passed in SA in 2017 giving same-sex couples equal access to assisted reproductive treatment and unpaid surrogacy.
"We approached a number of clinics who would … not accept us as we were using traditional surrogacy," said Aaron, 28.
"It hasn't been an easy road. We nearly got to the point where we thought this was not going to be possible."
Amber, who met her husband at high school 11 years ago, said it was "frustrating".
"It really made me feel for the boys because as a woman I'd never experienced anyone having control over my ability to conceive," she said.
Aaron, Jake and Amber want to share their story to highlight the need for SA fertility clinics to change existing policies and processes and raise staff awareness to better reflect the law and changing social expectations.
"SA health and legal professionals are only now catching up (to law reform)," said Fertility Australia executive officer Sam Everingham.
"So it's unsurprising that Jake and Aaron, as the first gay couple to use the new laws, experienced knock-backs. But it highlights the importance of educating local family lawyers and IVF clinics about their obligations under the new laws."
Repromed regional manager Dr Hamish Hamilton said the fertility clinic followed all legal requirements and guidelines, and advocated for elimination of anti-discriminatory legislation.
"We have been able to assist many same sex couples across South Australia to become parents," he said.
In November this year, SA Parliament approved laws giving single people access to surrogacy and raised the minimum age of surrogacy participants from 18 to 25.