If you recognize the two men in this photo, it may be because their family building story attracted major international media: they were able to bring their daughter Uma into the world thanks to Matt’s mother, Cecile, who selflessly acted as their gestational carrier and Elliot’s sister, who generously donated her eggs.
Nothing about their path to parenthood was straight or simple; but it shows what is possible when families are built from love.
Now, Matt is happy to extend his family, and hopefully give his daughter a biological half-sibling, by acting as the sperm donor for his childhood best friend MB and her partner, August, who recently transitioned from female to a non-binary male.
In honor of A Lifetime of Pride and Joy, we’re sharing the story of this growing modern family. Meet The Dürts:
Q: How did you meet and what did you imagine when you thought of being dads together? Anything you wish you knew?
Matt: Elliot and I met in the summer of 2012. I was directing and producing a short film at that time and I needed a hairstylist, so I reached out to him. We met at a local french cafe to discuss the film and we immediately fell in love. That fall, he moved into my house and then by the springtime we were backpacking throughout Europe.
For most of our relationship, we never imagined being married or having children, but that’s mostly because we didn’t believe it was an option that would be possible for us.
For most of our relationship, we never imagined being married or having children, but that’s mostly because we didn’t believe it was an option that would be possible for us. However, when gay marriage became legal in 2015 (and when his mother was dying from cancer), we realized we wanted to say our vows to one another and make a lifelong commitment. As time went on, we began to realize how much we loved the life we had created with each other, how safe and special it was for us, and we thought, ‘wouldn’t it be neat to have someone share this life with us, wouldn’t it be neat to have a child?’
Q: What do you believe is a misconception(s) people have about family building for gay men?
I think we have this narrative in our culture that children absolutely need a mother in a family. It’s something I certainly have internalized. One of my biggest concerns I had throughout the pregnancy was this deep fear that I would lack that motherly instinct, that maternal magic that is so crucial for children. But, the very first second I held our daughter, all of those anxieties and insecurities were washed away by such a powerful, primal wave of love. It’s almost impossible to describe it, but the love was so strong, so otherworldly that I immediately had this confidence to be her parent. Since then, I have learned that feminine energy is not something restricted or confined to a particular gender or sex; rather, it is something that is within all of us.
I think we have this narrative in our culture that children absolutely need a mother in a family. It’s something I certainly have internalized.
Having a child has taught me so much. It’s taught me a love I didn’t know I could feel, and even more, it’s taught me a self-love that I didn’t know could exist. I think this misconception that queer couples can’t, or even worse – shouldn’t – have children is so dangerous and such a disservice to our society. Everyone should have the opportunity to create a simple, special life. The more we can teach people that they are worthy of giving and receiving love, the better our world will become.
Q: Can you capture how you and your partner became dads?
Well, our path to parenthood was certainly not a simple one! In a nutshell, my husband’s sister offered to donate her eggs and so we used my sperm to create an embryo. Then, through a weird series of events, my very own 61-year-old mother somehow became the gestational surrogate for us. Our fairytale dream of creating a family came true thanks to the selfless women that surrounded us.
Q: When you hear the term “Pride & Joy” and look at your family, what comes to mind?
I think about how proud I am to be a parent and how proud I am to live in a time when it’s possible to have a family. The fact that we live in a time where science can help us create children and to live in a society that not only tolerates us, but celebrates us. It has given me the greatest joy of my entire life.
(When I think of Pride and Joy), I think about how proud I am to be a parent and how proud I am to live in a time when it’s possible to have a family.
Q: Have you thought of expanding your family? How do you imagine that will happen, if so?
We do want to have one more child but we aren’t sure how that will look. We never could have predicted our path to parenthood with our daughter Uma, so it’s taught us to be really open-minded for baby number two. Perhaps we will adopt. Perhaps someone will be comfortable being a surrogate for us. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…. We are excited to see how it all unfolds.
Q: Matt, what inspired you to donate sperm to your childhood friend?
I offered to donate my sperm because it seems like the right thing to do. MB is one of my childhood best friends. We grew up together being weird, queer closeted kids and we have maintained that meaningful, magical relationship all these years. I love her and I love the life she has created with her partner. They absolutely deserve to expand their family and have children themselves.
If I have learned anything from Uma’s origin story, it’s that it truly takes a village. And this statement couldn’t be more true for us LGBTQ couples. When they asked me to be the sperm donor, the answer was so simple. To be able to help others build their families, just the same way others helped us build our family, only seems like the honorable and right thing to do.
Listen to the pregnantish podcast with Matt, Elliot, MB & August by clicking here!
Follow the Dürt family on Instagram: @the.durt.family
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