Thursday, May 29, 2003

Gay dads hope 2nd pregnancy calmer

By Murray Evans
The Associated Press

LEXINGTON - This time around, it's not quite so chaotic for Michael Meehan, Thomas Dysarz and Brooke Verity. Or, to put it another way, having only one baby - as opposed to four - seems a lot less stressful.

Of course, stress is a relative term for Meehan and Dysarz, the Lexington gay men who parent a set of 10-month-old quadruplets. Verity was surrogate mother for the quadruplets, whose father is Meehan, and she's now pregnant with another child, whose father is Dysarz. Both were as a result of in vitro fertilization.

It was important to all parties involved that the babies from both pregnancies be related, which is why Verity agreed to again be surrogate for Dysarz, 32, and Meehan, 37. Verity should give birth in January or February, she said.

With each pregnancy comes attention. When the quadruplets were born in July, worldwide attention focused on Dysarz, Meehan and Verity. Meehan estimated they received about 500 media requests. Verity declined to be interviewed before the births then, but the 24-year-old Nicholasville woman is more comfortable talking about the situation now.

Not all of the attention was positive. Fred Phelps, the pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. - a church known for its strong anti-gay stance - brought a group to Lexington in November to protest the baptism of the quadruplets.

Meehan and Dysarz originally planned to have two children - one fathered by Meehan, the other by Dysarz. Doctors implanted four fertilized eggs into Verity, hoping one would take. Instead, all four did, quite unexpectedly. The babies - three boys, one girl - were born 10 weeks prematurely.

After enduring the sometimes unwanted attention after the quadruplets' birth, Dysarz and Meehan decided to go ahead and have another surrogate pregnancy. Again, four fertilized eggs were implanted, and this time one took.

The two men say they're more at ease with the attention now, "because you get used to it," Dysarz said.

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