IN what is believed to be the first of its kind for Australia, a Brisbane gay couple have started a crowdfunding campaign to help cover the costs involved in accessing IVF.
With the aim of raising $8000 in their My Cause campaign, their story can contribute to the wider debate over same-sex parenting and marriage equality.
After meeting when work took him from Melbourne to Brisbane, Christopher Kinsey-Manning quickly took to building a life with his partner and now soon-to-be husband, Todd.
“But we also felt like something really important was missing in our lives: a real family to call our own. From that moment, the biggest challenge began.”
The pair originally sought other methods to start a family but plans with a few surrogates didn’t eventuate, directing their attention to other means.
“I started learning about the steps and costs that were involved in having a child semi-naturally (the turkey baster method) and unfortunately we had a few possible pregnancy journeys fall through at the last minute, so we decided that if it would definitely help us begin our family, we would go through IVF,” Kinsey-Manning said.
Access to IVF can start from around $10,000 and the complete process from start to end, barring any complications, comes in at around $25,000.
“[The costs] certainly made us think about the entire process and also reinforced how much we are willing to sacrifice to eventually hold the last piece of the puzzle in our arms,” Kinsey-Manning said.
“We know we can afford it, but it’s just such a huge outlay for us to begin a family which is really frustrating to know considering how easy it is for any other regular couple (or even lesbian couple) to achieve whilst we have to put so much in to just to have a possibility.”
Following some advice from a friend, the pair decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign knowing full well that some may question their right to ask for donations to access IVF.
“Being as blunt and honest as I can, I don’t believe we deserve money any more than someone that is doing it tough out there and needs some help,” Kinsey-Manning said.
“The genuine reason why I am willing to put myself out there in this way is simply because if it can help me and my husband bring a (guaranteed to be) unique and happy soul in to this world to become part of a stupidly loving and energetic family, I believe that every dollar is going to paid forward in the future in an amazing way.”
With rights of same-sex couples to raise children being dragged into the wider marriage equality debate by opponents, Kinsey-Manning hopes critics will eventually understand the most important factor that lies at the core of parenting: love.
“If two people have genuine love and happiness together there shouldn’t be anything or anyone that has the right to say that becoming a family ‘isn’t natural’ or ‘isn’t fair on the child’.
“I am a multiple-generation Australian and Todd is a born New Zealander, and whilst we can’t be legally recognised as it in Australia, we consider ourselves as a genuinely married couple.
“[Altruistic and commercial surrogacy] is a long and arduous process, and it has cost each of them a hell of a lot, but becoming a parent means so much to so many couples out there, especially in the gay world, that if it is their only option they are going to break any and all boundaries needed to just so they can achieve the creation of a little unit of their own.”
With or without a successful crowdfunding campaign, the pair will continue to pursue IVF treatment.
“We are 100 per cent prepared to go through this challenge of life without relying on the help of anyone else…. we are doing this for the right reasons and plan on showing the world that two dads can bring up one amazing child,” Kinsey-Manning said.
“Unfortunately to get there we have to take this route, and it’s certainly not a cheap road to have to follow.”
To read more about Chris and Todd’s story and to make a donation, click here