March 3, 2024

ODD SPOT: America’s most alternative family

The American state of Kentucky is the home of what may be America’s most alternative family. Thomas Dysarz, a 32- year-old hairdresser, and his deputy-district-attorney-turned- hairdresser-boyfriend, Michael Meehan, moved from Los Angeles to the city of Lexington in search of an atmosphere more conducive to family values. There each of them has fathered IVF children by the same unmarried surrogate mother, Brooke Verity, who has three children of her own at home. Mr Dysarz is the father of quadruplets born in 2002 and Mr Meehan of a boy born early this year.

The altruistic Ms Verity received no payment apart from a tummy tuck. "You can’t have eight children and look good," she explains. After the birth of the quads, she sought to relinquish her parental rights, but the judge refused and she now shares them with each father. She lives nearby, visits her offspring monthly and works in Mr Dysarz’s hairdressing salon. Mr Dysarz and Mr Meehan regard themselves as conservative Republicans and devout, if infrequent Catholics. They have had their children baptised and have promised to raise them as Catholics.

An interesting twist to this tale is that the doctor who helped to create this unique family is Dr Pette Zarmakoupis-Zavos, who happens to be the wife of human cloning pioneer Dr Panayiotis Zavos, of the Kentucky Center for Reproductive Medicine & IVF.