This month was supposed to be Lance Bass’s first Father’s Day as a dad. It wasn’t. The 40-year-old musician and his husband of four years, Michael Turchin, have been pursing fatherhood via surrogacy in recent years — and, like many others who face setbacks on the road to parenthood, Bass and Turchin’s journey has been fraught with challenges. SheKnows spoke to Bass about the process — and about Pride Month, fatherhood anxieties, and more.
“We’re getting closer,” he says, remaining enthusiastically optimistic. “I know we keep saying that — we’re trying to be as transparent as we can with this whole process because we know how difficult IVF and surrogacy can be, and that there are a lot of families out there who are also going through this and having a hard time with it.”
What’s the most frustrating part for parents-to-be? “It often doesn’t go on the timeline that you’re wanting,” Bass continues. “Nothing ever happens the way you want it. So, we’ve come across a lot of problems for the last year. We were supposed to be pregnant last August, and now it’s already June again, so hopefully we’ll have some good news in the near future.” Some might take issue with a non-uterus-having individual using the “we’re pregnant” phrase, but we’ll let it slide because we like you, Lance.
Bass explains that he and Turchin, a 32-year-old artist, have so far gone through six egg donors — and subsequently six disappointments. (We’re not even going to ask about the cost of it all, lest the would-be dad develop angina, but we’ll just note that on average, surrogacy in the U.S. costs between $80,000 and $120,000.) But it looks like seventh time’s the charm for Bass and Turchin: “Number seven is looking like it’s going to work, so I think we have all the elements now,” Bass says. “Now we have to put it all together and just wish for the best.” Fingers crossed, right here.
Bass, who recently celebrated his 40th birthday, says he doesn’t feel the (largely societal) pressure of the “biological clock” ticking — certainly not on the level that so many women do. He points out that people are having children later in life these days. That said, he admits surrogacy struggles have tested his patience; he says he’s been “itching” to become a father for so many years.
“I’ve been wanting to be a dad since I was young, but I just didn’t know if it was going to be possible for me [as a gay man],” he says. “Especially when marriage equality was not passed and I didn’t know if I’d ever meet anyone who I could get married to. You’re raised with a certain view of how you want to raise your family, and you picture that family unit, but it just didn’t happen as early as I wanted.”
“But everyone these days is having kids later,” Bass continues. “People are realizing they would rather focus on themselves in their 20s and get to where they need to be professionally, so they can really support their family, and I respect and love that. I’m glad I’m doing it now, just because I look in the future and want to spend as much time with my grandkids as possible. I don’t want to be so old that I can’t enjoy my grandkids!”
In the meantime, Bass is enjoying living it up while he can; he just returned from Florida, where he judged the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic, which celebrates LGBTQ bartenders and LGBTQ-friendly bars, as part of Pride Month. This was a big deal to Bass, who explains that gay bars were the first places he felt he could truly be himself while discovering and embracing his sexual identity. He even recently opened his own LGBTQ-friendly bar, Rocco’s WeHo.
“It’s so important we have places like that,” he said on the third anniversary of the deadly shooting at the LGBTQ nightclub Pulse in Orlando, FL. “There’s a lot of hatred out there for a community that’s just being who they [are] — a community that’s really just all about love and inclusion. I don’t understand why that pisses off a lot of people, but it does.”
“When tragedies like the Pulse Nightclub shooting happen, it’s a stark reminder that we need to all be able to be ourselves and have a place to go that’s safe — and that we’re going to continue the way we are,” Bass continued. “Nothing’s going to scare us into hiding ourselves again.”
Sounds like Bass has some powerful lessons to pass along to that kid of his — whenever they (finally) arrive on the scene.