"It's been a lengthy progress," says Hinton. The couple originally attempted insemination with a surrogate in India, but without success. On top of that, while he was there, Hinton says, the country shut down surrogacy for gay parents.
The solution eventually arrived through a familiar face. Hinton's sister Laura volunteered to be a surrogate for the couple. Although that solved the issue of who would carry the baby, they still required an egg donor, which was unavailable in Canada.
"We ended up having to go through an agency and actually compensate an egg donor, which you can't do in Canada. So because Laura lives in California, it actually worked out for us," says Hinton.
Since the birth of their son, Parkes and Hinton were approached by Tylenol to star in its newest commercial. Parkes says it was an opportunity to destigmatize gay couples having children.
"I think the more people see regular couples with babies — whether they're gay or straight — the more comfortable they are around it. I don't think we set out to make a point or to change people's minds, but looking back, it's kind of inevitable that that's a role we're falling into."
Unique challenge for gay parents
The entire process made clear to Hinton the difficulty for gay couples of trying to start a family.
He says there were few options available to them because many countries do not allow two male partners to adopt a baby. On top of that, Canadian laws add to the complication of using surrogacy.
"The issue for us is that there's a ban in Canada on paying a surrogate. You can reimburse her, but you don't know where that line is. You also can't pay a woman to donate an egg to you. Realistically, for a gay couple you need have both," he says.
"There's no such thing as a surrogacy agency in Canada, because that's illegal as well. The penalties are just so steep that it makes you feel like a criminal."
The Vancouver couple refer to Laura as a hero for allowing them to start their own family. Laura says the decision came easy for her.
"Family is so important. It was a way to help a family member and I wouldn't have it any other way."
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