Pascal Chartier always knew he wanted children.
A single man working as a travel agent in Paris, France, Chartier had been researching and planning for fatherhood a long time. Specifically, he wanted his own child; but the adoption process in France can take as long as seven years, and many cases don’t go through.
Concluding a surrogate was the best way to go, Chartier took the funds he had been saving for years and began looked into agencies in the United States and Canada to help him find an egg donor and a surrogate mother, a process that ended up taking three years.
“The paperwork for the U.S. was easier but also more expensive,” Chartier said.
Finding the right people was a challenge, of course. He originally only wanted a single child but, since the doctors could tell which eggs would be good, they offered to implant more to ensure success. Chartier appreciated the notion of precaution, and elected to have two eggs implanted.
Then came the surrogate selection process, a sensitive and exacting effort aided by a Tampa-based surrogate company. The process was slow, as Chartier didn’t have a good feeling with the first surrogates, but eventually they found the right person, a Tampa resident, via a Skype interview.
The decision made, the fertilization and implementation occurred and, by mid-February 2016, Chartier learned he would be a father. He waited three months before telling his friends and family, making the announcement at his birthday.
“I didn’t tell anyone because I wanted to wait the recommended three months to ensure the health of the babies,” Chartier said. He kept in constant contact with the surrogate, but he was floored when he found out she was carrying twins, a boy and a girl.
The babies were due to be born October 21, 2016, but they ended arriving early. Chartier flew to Tampa, and after spending three days in a hotel, the staff at Tampa General Hospital told him about the nearby Ronald McDonald House.
“RMH was perfect, a big relief, “ Chartier said. “It was very good and clean, and the people were very nice and helpful. “
With the children now healthy, Chartier will return to Paris with Raphael and Elsa, his new family. His mother, Josette, lives on the same floor in his apartment building and plans to help him raise the babies, although he plans to take off one or two years; after all, he has been saving and preparing to be a father for a very long time.
The experience has made Chartier appreciative for all RMH does, and he has new respect for the organization.
“I saw the boxes in the restaurants, and I wish more people knew what they were for.”