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Fatherhood by a New Formula

About two months before the twins were due, Tracy Thorne-Begland said he called Anne Arundel Medical Center to make arrangements. He secured two hospital rooms -- one for Berry, so the triplets could visit easily, the other for the new fathers and babies.

"The hospital was perfect. They even had the paperwork filled out correctly," said Tracy Thorne-Begland, a pioneer of a different sort in an earlier life. In May 1992 as "Top Gun" fighter pilot Lt. j.g. Tracy Thorne, he revealed his homosexuality on ABC-TV's "Nightline" and was booted out of the Navy, touching off a legal battle over gays in the military.

New dads Michael Thorne-Begland (left) and Tracy Thorne-Begland hold their 4-month-old twins -- daughter Logan (left) and son Chance. The twins were carried to term by a surrogate in a pregnancy that was the product of sperm from one of the partners and eggs donated by the sister of the other.

Two weeks before the babies were delivered, Berry officially relinquished any parental rights. Hinson then went to court in Baltimore to have the men declared legal parents, believed to be the first such ruling involving gay parents in Maryland, she said.

The families are in touch weekly via telephone or e-mail. Shortly before Christmas, Berry packed the triplets into her white minivan and drove to Richmond for a visit.

Meeting Over Coffee

Within minutes of their meeting last year during her lunch break at a downtown Starbucks, Scott said he knew Tabby was "the one" -- the woman he wanted to be his egg donor.

"We just clicked," he recalled. "I thought, 'I'd marry that girl.' She seemed happy and serene," traits the Harvard MBA wanted to balance his "revved up, Type A personality."

Tabby, who agreed to be interviewed on condition that her last name not be published because the contracts she and Scott signed bars such disclosure to each other, said she "connected with him immediately" and felt he would be a good father.

She said she had reasons other than the $10,000 Scott paid her, which she plans to use to pay for law school. Tabby said she wrote her college senior thesis on egg donation and hopes to become a lawyer specializing in reproductive rights. Raised in a religiously conservative household, she said, she "felt inspired to break social barriers and help a homosexual person" become a father.

Scott's surrogate is a single mother of a toddler who lives in Prince George's County.

Scott plans to be in the delivery room when his baby, due June 28, is born.

Recently, he said, he hired a housekeeper and plans to employ a nanny while he's at work; at night he wants to take care of the baby by himself. Like many first-time parents, Scott worries about how fatherhood will upend his life, but says he is ready for a change.

"I'm tired of being the star of the show," he said. "I know this will lead me in a different direction."•

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