Two gay dads have told how they had ‘triplets’ after TWO surrogates gave birth to their babies at the same time.
Bjarke Damm and Lars Hansen, both 44, were delighted when two loved ones separately offered to become surrogate mums.
Instead of turning down one, they told Bjarke’s sister Pia, and close friend Danielle McDavis, they would be delighted if they could both help them make a family at the same time.
Using an egg donor, they had a clutch of embryos created in Connecticut, USA, and Pia Damm, then 42, fell pregnant with brother-in-law Lars’ biological child.
Just two weeks later they were delighted to hear Danielle, then 40, was also pregnant – and later found out she was having twins.
Little Anna was born first, and just 14 days later twins Lily and Nora – biologically related to Bjarke – arrived.
The pair consider the three girls to be their miracle triplets.
Commercial surrogacy isn’t legal in Denmark, where the birth mother has to wait two-and-a-half years until she can offer offspring up for adoption – even if the kids aren’t biologically hers.
So this month – nearly three years after the trio were born – the men believe they became the first gay couple in Denmark to legally adopt surrogate children.
Psychotherapist Bjarke, from Hillerod, near Copenhagen, said: “It feels like the best Christmas present ever.
“It’s so great to be complete as a family and so important to be acknowledged legally as fathers to all three of our gorgeous girls.
“There were so many obstacles, but we just took one step at a time. Now, with love, respect, and a lot of uncertainty, we’ve done it.
“I think we are the first gay couple in Denmark to become legal parents to all our biological children. They’re just amazing.
“They all sleep together in one room, but we still don’t get much sleep.”
Lars, a GP, and Bjarke were married in May 2007, and long hoped they would have children, but had no idea how they’d do it, due to Danish laws.
Egg donation is only permitted under very specific medical circumstances.
They tried to adopt, but said many agencies wouldn’t accept gay parents.
Bjarke said: “We were just longing and longing for family life. I felt such grief when I thought it was never going to happen.
“It was like losing a part of myself.”
Bjarke’s sister Pia surprised them by offering to be a surrogate, out of the blue, in October 2015.
And unaware of the offer, straight-talking friend Dannielle said they could ‘borrow’ her uterus, two months later.
Bjarke said: “It was such a generous and kind offer after all the heartbreak.
“We were almost too scared to come back to the idea, but they re-energised us.”
They chose a female donor from Puerto Rico, via a clinic in Connecticut, and harvested 14 eggs, with each father artificially fertilising seven each.
After a nerve-wracking seven day wait, six had matured, involving sperm from each dad.
The women travelled to America separately and Pia announced her pregnancy via FaceTime in June 2017.
Three weeks later, Dannielle discovered she was expecting, after a third attempt.
Two months later they found out the egg transplanted into Dannielle had split – so they were now expecting THREE baby girls.
Pia gave birth to Anna on January 29 2018, and two weeks later Dannielle delivered Lily and Nora.
Lars added: “We have so many laughs, and I love to see them learning new things.
“I feel so thankful that I get to experience parenthood.
“It wouldn’t be possible to have our family the way we wanted without Danielle and Pia.
“As well as carry our babies, they each had to go through three months hormone treatment before each transfer.
“Danielle did that multiple times then carried twins.
“We are extremely lucky we have these wonderful women in our lives, and we will always be wondering how to say thank you.”
Lars and Bjarke’s family cost them around £50,000 (500,000 DKR), for donor eggs, flights to Connecticut, and accommodation, and there is no financial fertility support for gay men.
Bjarke said: “The longing for a family is the same for us as it is for women.”
The babies all came home with Bjarke and Lars as soon as they were released from hospital, but it was years before they could legally adopt them, on December 2
“It took me three years to become a legal parent to all my children”, said Lars, “and six months of fighting to the top to achieve six months maternity leave.
“The problem is there haven’t been many studies on families like ours.
“We give love, and we hold, hear and respond to our little ones. We give everything they need.”