Int’l Men’s Day: Two daddies and a baby

World, say hello to baby Avisha. In this HT Brunch exclusive, Daniel Bauer and husband Tyrone Braganza open up about their journey to parenthood via surrogacy, and the struggles that still lie ahead
Both Daniel (right) and Tyrone (left) feel blessed; they named their daughter ‘Avisha,’ which means ‘a gift from God’
Both Daniel (right) and Tyrone (left) feel blessed; they named their daughter ‘Avisha,’ which means ‘a gift from God’
Updated on Nov 20, 2021 10:45 PM IST
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ByUrvee Modwel

If you don’t know Daniel Bauer for his make-up skills, you definitely know him and his husband, Tyrone Braganza, from The Big Day, a show on which their wedding was featured. Now they reveal their next milestone—their daughter, Avisha Braganza Bauer, born in July 2021. “It was always a dream for both of us to have a baby, even before we knew each other,” says Daniel. “So we said, ‘let’s do it,’ and it’s been the most amazing experience we’ve had. ”As are most things for non-traditional families in India, the process was hard. First, they had to rule out adoption, though they were keen on it. “It was almost impossible for us to adopt here, especially as a gay couple,” says Daniel. And with surrogacy laws also changing in India, they had to turn to the West.

Surro-great

“It’s IVF, so you have a surrogate mother and choose the egg donor, and then the mother carries the baby for you. There are a lot of legalities involved. And as with all couples, you have to wait, because you don’t know when it [the pregnancy] will happen. We had to wait for a year,” says Daniel.

They used a USA-based agency that a friend had used before, says Tyrone. The first surrogate mother they picked didn’t get pregnant, so they had to find another. Fortunately, it worked out for the best: their surrogate mother, Angie, is “really amazing”. Both Angie and the egg donor are from Colombia. Daniel and Tyrone flew there, gave their own “donation,” as Tyrone puts it, and the doctors created the embryos. “The donor was able to give us 10 eggs,” says Tyrone. “So they used five eggs for Daniel’s sperm and five eggs for mine, and got six viable embryos. They then picked the most superior embryo for the IVF treatment with the surrogate mother.”

Adds Daniel, “With science you can get carried away, because you can choose the gender and so many things. We just went with the strongest embryo, because all you want at the end of the day is a healthy baby. We had wanted a girl and it happened, so we were really excited!” The two feel they’ve been blessed. Avisha means ‘gift from God’. “It’s a Sanskrit word and because we live in India we thought we’d have an Indian name,” explains Tyrone.

(Having a daughter was a dream for both Daniel (pictured here with Avisha) and Tyrone)
(Having a daughter was a dream for both Daniel (pictured here with Avisha) and Tyrone)

The best laid plans

With Avisha originally due to enter the world at the end of August, the couple had planned to work hard, then holiday in Mexico, and then fly to Colombia for the birth. Easy peasy, right? Tyrone chuckles. “Two days before we left for Mexico, Angie went into labour!” he reveals.

The two flew out the night that Avisha was born, and stayed in Colombia for over two months to get the paperwork sorted. “If you’re travelling with a newborn baby for two months, it really gets to you,” says Daniel. “When you’re in a relationship and your partner gets pregnant, you see the belly grow and you adjust. For us, it was, ‘Whoop! There’s a baby!’ So it was overwhelming.”

New narrative

No matter how normal it is for any couple to have a child, Daniel and Tyrone’s surrogacy journey will always be viewed through the lens of a ‘gay couple’ doing something. If they would like to put their own narrative out there, what would they say?

“We had a wedding in Germany and also in India,” says Daniel.“We thought it was a really nice message: you can be gay and you can marry and have a life like any other couple. We also did the priest’s wedding on the show, and we were expecting backlash for that. But a lot of young people gave us great feedback.” Tyrone adds, “At the end of the day, gay or straight, all parents really just want their child to have a great life.”

They’re both so successful, career-wise, how will they juggle their careers and a baby? How will they ‘manage’? “I have thought about this a lot recently,” says Daniel. “I wonder how so many women work and look after their babies, women who don’t have help, or single moms, ‘cos it’s really a full-time job. We’re lucky that Tyrone works from home, and my mom is here—and his mom comes and goes—so we have full support. It really changes everything.”

As a child born into a non-traditional family in a country where tolerance seems to dwindle each day, they’ve also thought about how and where they want to raise Avisha. “We were evaluating different scenarios on how best we can educate Avisha to understand family dynamics, and whether we should move abroad for her education,” says Tyrone. “But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Daniel is blunt. “I grew up in Germany, because my dad is German. We were the only foreigners in the village, and children can be mean. Childhood was difficult for both my brother and me. But at the end of the day, if you have a good set-up, and family support, that’s what matters.” “She may grow up in India,” Tyrone continues. “But we’ll have to teach her how to deal with it. She may have hurdles like everyone does, regardless of whether they’re born to a straight couple or otherwise. People are bullied, and we’ll just have to teach her how to deal with that. That’s the only thing we can do as parents.”

Daniel is hopeful that India is changing. “After The Big Day, these young and 100 per cent straight kids said, ‘That was really cool,’ and that feedback was amazing. So hopefully it stays that way. I’m sure it will.”

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021