Two Derry men have become the first gay couple in Northern Ireland to have a baby through surrogacy without leaving the country.
Patrick and Jon Coyle's seven-month-old daughter Wren was conceived through IVF and carried by Patrick's sister Charley.
The baby was conceived at a Belfast clinic using a local egg donor.
Patrick told the Derry Journal that the couple was considering fostering and adoption when his sister mentioned that she would be willing to have a baby for them.
"We didn’t know how serious she was about it until she said it again a few weeks later. She said she wanted to finish her own family first. She had a wee boy then, Charlie, and then about a year later she had a wee girl, Cerys," Patrick told the Derry Journal.
"We started looking into it when Cerys was one and she’ll be five now in March."
He said the couple had their first insemination in July 2019 but added that they "lost our first wee baby".
They decided to try again the following January, but the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic meant that everything was put on hold.
They had their second successful insemination in October 2020 but waited until Christmas Eve to tell friends and family about the good news.
"Charley was three months then so we went round all the houses and told everyone," Patrick told the Derry Journal.
Patrick and Jon have now started a legal process to have both of their names included on Wren's birth certificate, in what could be another first in Northern Ireland.
"Love has no gender and us as two fathers, we're parents no matter regardless what anybody might say," Patrick told UTV News.
"Love is what a child needs to flourish and Wren has it by the bagful."
Two dads from Londonderry have spoken of their pride at becoming the first gay couple in Northern Ireland to have a baby through surrogacy without leaving the countryhttps://t.co/T0fFTBgQku— Belfast Telegraph (@BelTel) February 15, 2022
Patrick and Jon said they wanted to share their story as they wanted to show it is possible for gay couples in Northern Ireland to have children.
Patrick also told the Derry Journal that the birth of his child was like a "fairy-tale".
"Our families are both really supportive, which is great. Not everyone has that but it makes it a whole lot easier for us. It seems like it’s a fairy-tale but that’s how it was, to be honest."