Matthew Eledge and Elliot Dougherty
Elliot was working as a hairstylist, and he was building his profile on Facebook. He was working with local designers to help develop his business. One day, Matthew sent him a message on Facebook. When Elliot checked out his profile, he saw Matthew’s description of himself that said, “I’m a Martian and an artistic warrior.” He was intrigued, so he responded to the message. Shortly after, the two met for a date at a French cafe in downtown Omaha. After the first date, love blossomed.
Later that year, things were going great between the two, so they moved in together. Rather than staying in Nebraska, the two traveled to Europe for a while, where they visited countries from the Netherlands to Turkey. After four months in Europe, the couple missed home, so they returned. It was then that they decided it was time to build a home and start a family.
A Cancer Diagnosis
When they came home, Elliot found out that his mother had cancer. This made the couple realize that life can be unexpected, and they started talking about getting married. Elliot says that you never know where life will turn, and the two of them needed to grab life by the horns. They wanted to get married soon so that Elliot’s mother could be there. Since gay marriage had just become legal, the two got engaged.
Bumps in the Road
Matthew was a teacher at a public school. When the school board heard about his decision to get married, they let him know that they wouldn’t be renewing his contract. His students tried to fight for him, but the school board refused to change their mind. Matthew was devastated, but he didn’t let them stop him from getting married. The couple got married in the woods where they fell in love while making Matthew’s movie together. They say that their wedding was incredibly spiritual, even though they weren’t religious.
After the wedding, the couple went through some changes, both good and bad. Sadly, Elliot’s mother passed away due to her cancer. Shortly after Elliot’s mother died, he became an uncle for the first time. This was when he wanted to be a father even more than before. He and Matthew decided that it was time to make it happen.
Staring a family wasn’t going to be as easy as the couple had hoped. Because Matthew was fired from his job, he figured the adoption agencies wouldn’t be sympathetic. Even worse, up until two years earlier, same-sex couples couldn’t even be foster parents. They read up on IVF but soon decided that it wasn’t the best choice for them. They realized that they had to come up with another plan.
When Matthew and Elliot met up with Elliot’s sister, Yribe, she offered to donate an egg for the couple. They decided to take her up on her offer. They loved the idea because their child would be related to Elliot, and his mother’s legacy could live on through their child. Next, they had to find a surrogate.
The couple wasn’t out of the woods yet. They were worried that the surrogacy agencies would hold them back from using a surrogate because they were a same-sex couple. When they realized that they would need to find a surrogate on their own, they almost gave up hope. This was when Matthew’s mother, Cecile Reynek Eledge steeped in. Even though she was 60-years-old, she offered to carry the baby. At first, the couple dismissed the idea. The couple mentioned Cecile’s offer to their IVF doctor, expecting her to tell them that it was a crazy idea. Instead, she said that it was a great idea. She said that the success of a baby being conceived was due to the health of the egg, which was being provided by Yribe. With a quick exam, she could determine if Cecile would be able to carry the baby.
After running some tests, the doctor determined that Cecile would be a great surrogate. The couple was thrilled, and they began the procedure. Finally, they were going to have the family that they always dreamed of. The doctors retrieved 24 eggs from Yribe. Of the 24, 16 were mature, and 13 were successfully fertilized with Matthew’s sperm, and 7 of them made it to day 5. The doctor suggested that they only implant one embryo since multiple births could be hard for Cecile due to her age. Finally, Cecile found out that she was pregnant with a baby girl.
Due to Cecile’s hypertension, the baby was delivered at 38-weeks. Finally, Matthew and Elliot had their baby. At the age of