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When a Surrogate Becomes Part of the Family

Altruistic surrogacy---when a surrogate carries a baby to term for the intended parents without compensation---is the only legal form of surrogacy in Canada. These women give incredible gifts to the intended parents they assist. And for new dads Jean Pierre and Tom, their surrogate, Ann, gave them so much more. Today, they not only have a newborn son, Augustine, but a friendship with Ann and her family that they could not have imagined.


Jean Pierre (left) and Tom with Augustine

Wanted: A Loving Surrogate

Over two years ago, Jean Pierre and Tom attended a 12-week program called "Daddies and Papas To Be" at their local LGBTQ center in Toronto to learn about the different ways they could become dads. Tom was interested in having a biological connection to a child, so the two of them decided to first try surrogacy.

They met with a fertility clinic, an egg donor agency, and a surrogacy agency but also decided to try and find a surrogate on their own.

"We wrote a post on Facebook that a friend of Tom's read," Jean Pierre told Gays With Kids. "She forwarded it to a female co-worker of hers who was already considering becoming a surrogate. We fell in love with Ann from that very first meeting and, luckily, she felt the same about us."

Together, Jean Pierre, Tom and Ann embarked on their journey and on March 15 this year, Augustine was born.

Photo credit: Stacy's Creations Photography

During the labor, Jean Pierre and Tom were close to Ann from the moment they arrived at the hospital, comforting her in any way they could. When it was time for her to begin pushing, it only took a few moments before their son made his world debut. Tom held Augustine for his first skin to skin moment, and Jean Pierre cut the cord. Both men were overjoyed.

"Those first moments of contact were surreal," Jean Pierre reminisced. "Being able to finally welcome our little boy into our arms and knowing that without a doubt, we had committed our lives to him and we would do everything in our hands to protect and to love him unconditionally."

The New Routine

Since then life has been turned upside down but in the best possible way. Both dads are adapting to their new roles as fathers and caring for their baby 10-week-old son. Tom, who owns his a consulting practice within the medical diagnostics industry, and Jean Pierre, a flight attendant for WestJet, are not working at the moment so they are sharing the nighttime duties: Jean Pierre takes the first round, feeding Augustine at 2:30 a.m., and Tom gets up at dawn for his shift. (He's the morning person of the pair, he says, so this arrangement works well.)

Augustine is fed breast milk which Ann provides on a weekly basis, and for which the dads are incredibly grateful.

The most challenging aspect of their newfound fatherhood they say is complaint familiar to any new parent: lack of sleep. They try to squeeze naps in but this isn't always successful.

"We have come to have a great appreciation and admiration for single parents," said Jean Pierre. "Without each other's support, we would have a very hard time coping with the responsibilities of caring for Augustine while in a constant state of sleep depravation."

Family Support

One thing that hasn't surprised Jean Pierre and Tom, but has been greatly appreciated, has been the amount of support and love the new dads have received from friends and family.

Ann and her two sons have also become apart of Jean Pierre and Tom's family; even their extended relations know each other.

Ann holding Augustine

"We could write pages about how important Ann has become to our family," explained Jean Pierre. "To make a long story short, we love Ann as one of our kin."

Jean Pierre and Tom are even considering another baby further down the track and Ann has insisted to be their gestational surrogate again.

In less than two years since they began their journey, not only are Tom and Jean Pierre now dads, but they have also gained three more family members: Ann, their surrogate, and her two sons. One thing we've learned here at Gays With Kids, is that families come in all shapes and forms, bonded together through love.

Tom (left) and Jean Pierre holding Augustine with Ann (right)

Feature photo credit: Stacy's Creations Photography


For more on surrogacy:

Watch Jean Pierre, Tom and Ann speak about how they became a family.

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"Dex Frier was elected by the student body to run for prom king but is now facing backlash from the school's administration," shared the dads via their Instagram. "The school's Superintendent is forcing Dex to either run as prom queen or not run at all. This is very unjust and does NOT reflect the opinion of the parents nor the students."

Watch their video below:

Dex, 17, who came out identifying as male in his sophomore year, spoke with Gainsville Times about being nominated by the student body. "Frier said he kept his emotions in check while at school, but 'the moment I got home, I immediately started crying. I've never been shown so much support before,' Frier added."

He was later informed by school officials that his name had been withdrawn and he could only run in the prom queen ballot.

Sadly, there have been rival petitions started in support of Dex's nomination being withdrawn, and he's received backlash from those who believe he shouldn't be able to run.

Although Terrell and Jarius do not know Dex personally, they were made aware of what was happening through Jarius co-worker who is a parent at the school. "He's such a brave kid and is standing firm in his beliefs, and we should support him," said Jarius.

These dads are asking all of us to take a minute and sign this petition and share with friends and family, or anyone you think could help.

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After the Internet rushed to judge Andy Cohen for signing onto Grindr a couple of weeks after welcoming his newborn son home, fellow single gay dads rushed to his defense.

Last week, we wrote a post about reports that "What What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen had been "spotted" on gay dating app Grindr several weeks after welcoming a newborn into his home. This has some of his followers on social media all worked up"

"Get off Grindr and start being a dad," said one follower who appeared to think single parents must take a vow of celibacy the minute they start changing diapers. "You're sad, that kid has no chance," said another.

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"We don't have to live like monks!"

One of the most liked comments on our piece came from Owen Lonzar, who wrote the following:

"I have always been a good single father to my biological son who came to live with me when he was 7 years old. He is now 25 years old and we are very close. I used Grindr and dated while he lived with me. I never had anyone sleep over and he certainly never saw some man he didn't know hanging around my home. Single parents have to date responsibly and with sensitivity to their child but that doesn't mean they have to live like monks!"

We asked Cohen to elaborate a bit more on why the backlash against Cohen bothered him. He had the sense, he said, that much of the criticism against LGBTQ parents comes from gay men without children. "Gay men without kids have a lot to say," he said. "And all of it is ignorant, because they have no idea what it means to actually be a father." He said he was particularly disappointed in gay critics, given our shared history of discrimination. "You would think with all the prejudice we have faced that gay men would be less judgmental themselves," he said.

"Are we supposed to be celibate?"

Another commenter, Josue Sebastian Dones-Figueroa, who is a divorced father of five, questioned what Cohen's critics would prefer him do. "So what, parents are supposed to become celibate because they have kids?" he asked.

We followed up with Josue to ask him to elaborate a bit more: "The idea that just because he is a dad that he would need to stop being a man," he said, questioning why Cohen should have to put his life hold and stop dating, or having sex, just because he's now a father. "If the child is cared for loved and not neglected what is the problem? Life goes on right?"


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