A sister has helped her gay brother become a dad for the second time after becoming a surrogate once more.
Rhiannon Stevens gave birth to brother Clinton’s first daughter in 2014 after pledging to be his surrogate when he revealed he was gay 14 years ago
The 35-year-old from Melbourne, Australian, was taken up on her offer after Clinton and his partner Callum, 33, wed in 2012 and found it difficult to adopt or find a surrogate.
Using a donor egg and the couple’s sperm, Rhiannon became pregnant with their eldest daughter Zara, two, after a successful embryo transfer in 2014.
And now she’s also given birth to their second daughter, Aiden, who was born just three weeks ago, making the couple proud parents for the SECOND time.
Rhiannon said: “I’ve always said that when the time came, I’d help Clinton to have a child.
“It felt like the most natural thing in the world to offer to be his and Callum’s surrogate. I’ve never been concerned about having any difficulty handing the baby over to them at the end of the process.
“After Zara was born, it only took me three months to offer to go again. Clinton and Callum are absolutely wonderful with kids and helping them to become parents was a dream come true for me. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”
Rhiannon, an admin officer, and her brother have always been close, both sharing a love of kids and working as babysitters in their teenage years.
She said: “We fought like all siblings as kids, but as soon as we grew up we adored each other. When Clinton came out to our family, the first thing I said was that I’d help him to have a baby when the time was right.
“I don’t think he thought I was serious at the time, but I never forgot about my promise.”
As the years rolled by, Rhiannon went on to get married and have three kids of her own, Soraya, 10, Cobie, eight, and Mahli, seven, while Clinton travelled and lived overseas.
But in 2010 he met Callum through a friend and love blossomed.
She said: “They were such great uncles to my kids. Both completely natural and offering different qualities.
“When they announced they were getting married in 2012, I knew they’d be looking to become parents soon. They’d be great dads.”
But when the loved up pair looked into the process, they quickly came to the realisation that adoption and international surrogacy were both lengthy and complicated.
Clinton Bryan-Matthieson said: “I remember on my first date with Callum I told him I wanted to be a dad one day.
“Surrogacy was complicated not allowed in some states because we’re gay while adoption could take years.
“Of course, I remembered Rhiannon’s kind offer. But it was a big deal and I wasn’t sure if I could ask for something so generous.”
The boys didn’t need to worry though, as Rhiannon once again offered to be their ‘oven’ not long after they embarked on their journey to fatherhood.
“They flew to see me in Melbourne and we went for dinner to discuss it all.
“By the end of the meal, we were celebrating with wine and pizza.”
But it took twelve long months of legal formalities, including signing a contract and undergoing intensive counselling, before Rhiannon could begin the IVF treatment to carry her brother’s baby.
Rhiannon added: “The process was slow to begin with. I was ready to go from the moment we discussed it, but we had heaps of hoops to jump through.
“Eventually though, we were given the thumbs up and doctors started prepping embryos which were made using the boy’s sperm and a donor egg.
“Amazingly, I fell pregnant with Zara on the first transfer and I knew very quickly after that I was.
“It was tough as I couldn’t tell them until the clinic had done a proper bloody test. I was having to avoid them for fear of spilling the beans too soon.”
It was an emotional and exciting time for the dads-to-be who flew backwards and forwards between Sydney and Melbourne for scans and doctor’s appointments.
Clinton said: “I was very aware that my sister was doing so much for us, so I wanted to be there for her as much as possible.
“It was very exciting watching our little girl grow and seeing Rhee’s tummy pop. We couldn’t wait for her to arrive.”
Zara was born a few days before Christmas in 2014, with both dads right by Rhiannon’s bedside.
She said: “I knew what labour was like so I warned them they weren’t in for a pretty ride.
“There were a few issues with Zara’s arrival, but the moment they saw her, they were in love.
“This little girl that had grown inside of me, was their baby and I felt so privileged to have been a part of that.
“I knew then that I’d do it again in a flash.”
When Zara was just three months old, Rhiannon offered to carry another baby for her brother and in-law.
Rhiannon said: “It was a really easy decision for me. My three kids were completely fine with the fact that their mummy had grown a baby for their uncle and I loved seeing Clinton and Callum so happy.
“It took another year or so for the process to happen again but when it did, I was over the moon.
“I loved being an aunty to Zara and couldn’t wait to help give her a sibling.”
On November 20, 2016, Rhiannon gave birth to another niece, Aiden.
She said: “This time the birth was a lot more enjoyable as there were no complications.
Both Callum and Clinton got skin-to-skin time with her just moments after she was born. It was beautiful to watch.
“Of course, people always ask me how I knew I’d be able to hand over the baby I’d carried for nine months at the end.
“I always tell them that it’s because I always knew I was carrying my brother’s baby. Not mine.
“The hardest thing about the process for me is actually saying goodbye to my brother, as I love having him around.
“Zara and Aiden are both beautiful girls, but I am very happy in my role as their aunt.”
Now Clinton and Callum are looking forward to their future as dads to two girls, and can’t quite believe their sister gave them such an incredible gift.
Clinton said: “The fact my sister helped us to become parents twice is such a testament to the woman she is.
“Becoming dads for the second time is a gift we can never repay and we’re looking forward to explaining to Zara and Aiden exactly how they came into the world when they’re old enough.”