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 Family Stories

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The Child-Parent Security Act, which legalizes commercial surrogacy in New York State, was included in the 2020 New York State Budget signed by Governor Cuomo

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The effort stalled last year after opponents, including several Democrats, successfully argued that the bill didn't go far enough to protect women who serve as surrogates — even though it included a surrogate "bill of rights," the first of its kind in the country, aimed at ensuring protections.

"Millions of New Yorkers need assistance building their families — people struggling with infertility, cancer survivors impacted by treatment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community," the Family Equality Council said in a statement about the victory. "For many, surrogacy is a critically important option. For others, it is the only option. Passage of the Child-Parent Security Act is a massive step forward in providing paths to parenthood for New Yorkers who use reproductive technology, and creates a 'surrogate's bill of rights' that will set a new standard for protecting surrogates nationwide."

Opponents, led by Senator Liz Krueger, had once again attempted to torpedo legalization efforts this year by introducing a second bill that would legalize surrogacy in New York, but also make it the most restrictive state in the country to do so. "A bill that complicates the legal proceedings for the parents and potentially allows them to lose their genetic child is truly unfortunate," said Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, referencing to the bill's 8-day waiting period. He also took issue with the bills underlying assumptions about why women decide to serve as a surrogate. The added restrictions imply that "they're entering into these arrangements without full forethought and consideration of the intended parents that they're partnering with," he said.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

"My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

"This law will [give intended parents] the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents," Paulin said for her part. It will "bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families."


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