Personal Essays by Gay Dads

This Gay Dad's Search for Reliable Surrogacy Info in Canada Led Him to Share His Own Story

Grant Minkhorst scoured the Internet for reliable info, relevant to Canada, but found "slim pickings."

When my husband and I decided that we wanted to start a family, we scoured the internet for information and resources about gay parenting. As many of you already know, it was "slim pickings," as Grandma would say. I stumbled from one website to the next with little to show for it. When I wanted to learn more about surrogacy specifically, I would repeatedly end up on surrogacy agency websites. While some included relevant information, I noticed large gaps and a countless inconsistencies. Not only that, but many of the agency websites were based in the United States where the surrogacy process differs from that in Canada. The search for a dependable resource for would-be Canadian gay fathers was frustrating and, seemingly, futile.


The next two years would be spent quilting together information from websites, phone calls with lawyers, conversations with other Intended Parents and appointments at clinics. We were also fortunate to reconnect with an old friend of mine from high school who patiently shared all of the details from his successful surrogacy journey. We ended up amassing a treasure trove of information about the Canadian surrogacy process. All of those hours spent piecing together information on notepads and sticky notes felt like a victory in persistence and patience.

Once we announced that we were expecting our first child, we were peppered with questions from family and friends. They were curious about the process and wanted to hear about our experience. At first, it was exciting to share our story with all of its twists and turns. But, after a few weeks, I found myself answering the same questions over and over again. I started to feel a little like a surrogacy robot with an attitude. My mood started to dictate the type of response one received when fielding a surrogacy-related question. I thought about writing a brochure that I could just circulate with all of the answers and wear a button that read: "It's in the brochure." Perhaps I was being a tad dramatic, but after nearly three years dedicating much of my free time figuring out the ins and outs of the surrogacy process (to pun intended), I was becoming exasperated by the constant questions and wanted to spend more time getting exciting for the baby's arrival.

What resulted was a website that my husband helped me to develop that would include answers to many of the questions about our surrogacy story. Our website would act as a vehicle for us to thoughtfully respond to questions as well as a space where we could include anecdotes about our experiences. Upon sharing our website with our friends and family, we started getting asked whether or not we were comfortable sharing the website outside of our circle of friends and family. While the website speaks to our own personal and unique experience, we thought that it might shed a little light on the process for others interested in surrogacy. And now we are thrilled to share it with the GWK community!

We sincerely hope that sharing our story can help other prospective gay parents on their parenting journey.

***

We have started to capture our parenting journey on Instagram and we invite you to follow us @DaddyPapaandBaby and we hope you check out our website at http://oursurrogacystory.miquelllabres.com


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Gay Dad Life

Huge Congrats to New Dad, Andy Cohen!

Late Monday night, Emmy-winning reality TV producer and host, Andy Cohen, welcomed a son via surrogacy.

Late Monday night, Emmy-winning reality TV producer and host, Andy Cohen, welcomed a son via surrogacy.

"WOW! This is my son, Benjamin Allen Cohen. He is 9 lbs 2 ounces !! 20 inches !! Born at 6:35 pm, PT
He is named after my grandfather Ben Allen. I'm in love. And speechless. And eternally grateful to an incredible surrogate. And I'm a dad. Wow. ♥️🌈
"

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Change the World

Governor Cuomo Proposes Ending Ban on Surrogacy in New York

New York is currently just one out of four states to completely ban the practice of compensated surrogacy

New York's Governor, Andrew Cuomo, recently proposed a law that would permit compensated surrogacy for the first time in New York state. As the New York Post reports, a ban on the practice has been in place since 1992.

"New York's antiquated laws frankly are discriminatory against all couples struggling with fertility, same sex or otherwise," the Governor told The Post in a statement. "This measure rights this wrong and creates a new and long-overdue path for them to start families and also provide important legal protections for the parents-to-be and the women who decide to become surrogates."

This move is the latest in a slew of progressive policies backed by Governor Cuomo since Democrats in the state took control of the Legislature after the 2018 elections.

The law would bring New York in line with most states in the country. Currently, the state is one of only four (including Arizona, Michigan and Nebraska) that ban all compensated surrogacy contracts outright.Andrew Cuomo

New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, who is himself a gay dad through surrogacy, has introduced several bills over the years to legalize the practice.

"For the first time," the Senator said, "I'm seeing movement."

Read the whole article here.

Change the World

How "Easy" Is It, Really, for Gay Men to Become Dads?

It's never been easier for gay men to become dads, but a recent Washington Post article, which includes interviews with four gay parents, gives voice to some of the challenges that persist.

In recent weeks, with reports like this one in eWire.News, and famous gay dads gracing the cover of Parents Magazine for the first time, a perception is growing that it's now "easy" for gay men to be dads now. To examine this idea, Washington Post recently interviewed four gay men who have become fathers at some point in the past 10 years to examine their experiences. What they found is that, yes, it's easier than ever before for gay men to become dads. But we still face many more barriers than our straight counterparts.

None of these barriers will be news to any gay man who has become a father. But it's helpful that major publications like the Washington Post are now starting to recognize and give voice to them.

The first "finding" from their conversations is that gay men need more "money in the bank" that straight people. With the exception of adoption through foster care, "the financial costs are often tantamount to buying a car or even a house outright," the author notes.

The article also notes that gay men--and fathers in general--are given less paternity leave in the United States on average than many other countries. One of the dads interviewed for the piece, who adopted his sone through foster care, said he could only afford to take two weeks of paternity leave, which was " too short," he said. His son "struggled to see me as the paternal figure — I was just the guy who went to work and came home from work later. That's a struggle for most dads whether gay or straight — but I wish I had gotten more time just to bond with him."

Gay dads also must do more "emotional heavy lifting," the author notes, noting that many attend therapy for many months before taking the plunge. "We don't come to parenting by accident," another dad interviewed in the piece said. "We come to it by way of a lot of money, and with great intentionality. That is the commonality among gay dads with children."

A final common experience to many of the gay dads interviewed in the piece were annoyances dealing with strangers. "The thing that has been the most difficult are strangers who don't understand," one of the dads said. "They see us out with our son and we don't fit into their little box of what a family looks like. I've been asked whether Jeffrey and I mixed our sperm together in a cup. And that's rude, but as our son gets older, he is being shaped by a certain narrative about who he is."

Read the whole article here.

Change the World

Breaking with Older Generations,  Most LGBTQ Millenials Say They Want Kids

According to new research by the Family Equality Council, the number of LGBTQ parents is expected to rise dramatically in the coming years

According to the LGBTQ Family Building Survey, recently released by the Family Equality Council, the majority of young LGBTQ say they are interested in becoming parent. This marks a dramatic shift when compared with the attitudes of older generations.

Among the survey's findings:

  • 63% of LGBTQ Millennials (aged 18-35) are considering expanding their families, either becoming parents for the first time, or by having more children
  • 48% of LGBTQ Millennials are actively planning to grow their families, compared to 55% of non-LGBTQ Millennials, a gap that has narrowed significantly in comparison to older generations
  • 63% of LGBTQ people planning families expect to use assisted reproductive technology, foster care, or adoption to become parents, a significant shift away from older generations of LGBTQ parents for whom the majority of children were conceived through intercourse.

Despite the expected increase in LGBTQ parents, most providers, they note, "do not typically receive training about the unique needs of the LGBTQ community; forms and computer systems are not developed with LGBTQ families in mind; insurance policies are rarely created to meet the needs of LGBTQ family building; and discrimination against LGBTQ prospective parents by agencies and providers remains widespread."

The Family Equality Council goes on to recommend that family building providers "from reproductive endocrinologists and obstetricians to neonatal social workers, family law practitioners, and child welfare workers" begin preparing now to welcome future LGBTQ parents.

Read the full report here.

Change the World

Gay Dads More 'Equitable' in Parenting Roles Than Straight Dads, Says New Study

Unmoored by gender roles, gay dads take equal parts in being "playmates, caregivers, protectors, role models, morality guides,

A new study conducted by Éric Feugé from the Université du Québec à Montréal observed 46 families, made up of 92 gay dads and their 46 children over a period of seven years.

The study, which Feugé says is the first of its kind, analyzed the roles gay dads take in raising their kids and found the way they parent is 'very equitable'.

'We learned that gay fathers' sharing of tasks is very equitable,' the researcher told the Montreal Gazette, who added there was a "high degree of engagement" by both gay dads in all types of parental roles. "What's really interesting is that they don't conform to roles of conventional fathers. They were able to redefine and propose new models of cultural notions of paternity and masculinity."

Unmoored by gender roles, gay dads take equal parts in being "playmates, caregivers, protectors, role models, morality guides,' the author said.

Read the full review of the research here.

Change the World

Don't F*ck With This F*g

After a homophobic encounter on the subway, BJ questions what the right response is, in an era of increasing vocal rightwing activists

On February 1, 2019, Frank and I went out on a date night, something we haven't done in a while. Our son was sleeping over at his grandparents for the night and we made plans with our friends to meet them for dinner downtown. We decided to save some money and take the subway into town instead of taking a taxi.

We boarded the subway and sat down opposite a couple, a man and woman. I noticed they looked at us as we boarded the train and began whispering to each other. Frank and I were talking to each other when I heard the man uttering under his breath, "F*$%ing faggots."

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Gay Dad Life

14 Gay Dad Families Show Their Love This Valentine's Day

These pics of gay dads smooching will warm the hearts of even the biggest V-Day skeptics

You might quietly (or loudly) oppose the commercialism and celebration of Valentine's Day, but let's just take a moment and rejoice in these beautiful signs of affection, shared between 14 awesome two-dad families. Cynicism gone? Good.

Happy Valentine's Day, dads! We hope you have a lovely day with your kids, your significant other, and / or friends. Because who doesn't love love!?!

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