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."
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
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