A single-sex couple who became the father of twin brothers after using a surrogate have revealed their dramatic struggle to get legal rights for their children.
Stay home, Tyler Fontes, 34, and GP Andy Fontes, 35, met in 2006, before the knot was made in June 2013.
In 2015, they decided to start a family and were happily accepted when Andy & # 39; s cousin offered to be a surrogate for them.
Tyler and Andy chose to use two embryos using semen from both, and were ecstatic when both took embryos.
On June 16, 2017, their surrogate gave birth to twin boys, Caellum and Emmerich, now two, who are biological half-brothers with the same egg donor – with one boy for each father.
But despite the fact that they were very happy with their new additions, they faced an enormous legal obstacle to having them both appointed as legal parents.
The children had to be born in New Mexico to have both men mentioned on their birth certificate – as if they were born in Arizona, a father should have legally adopted the other child.
Tyler Fontes, 34 (left) and Andy Fontes (right), 35, from Phoenix, Arizona, had to defeat several legal hoops to give the legals rights to their sons who were carried by a surrogate mother
Tyler and Andy in the hospital after the birth of their twins. The couple got married in 2013 and decided to expand their family soon afterwards
Tyler evoked their romance and said: & I met Andy for the first time in 2006. It was through a mutual friend of ours and we became close friends very quickly. We started dating about four months later.
& # 39; Our relationship built up very quickly. After only dating for four months, Andy was offered a job in Carlsbad, California after graduating from Arizona State University, so we both decided to move there together.
& # 39; Because we were happy for six years together, we decided to get married on the beach in Carlsbad in 2013 before returning to Phoenix, Arizona a week later.
Caellum (left) and Emmerich (right) are now two years old. They were born from two different embryos that were fertilized with one of their father's sperm
The adventure begins: Andy & # 39; s cousin volunteered to surrogate the couple and they used donor eggs to try for pregnancy
& # 39; At the time, gay marriage in California was not legal, but it did not stop us from uniting our love and becoming men forever. That law changed later in the year and we are legally married.
& # 39; After being together for eight years and being married for two years, we decided that we wanted to start a family together. We started by looking at options for adoption and surrogacy.
& # 39; When our family and friends found out, Andy & # 39; s cousin offered to be a surrogate for us. This was a huge cost saving for us and it gave us the opportunity to get ahead financially to grow our family.
Tyler and Andy (pictured on their wedding day) got married in June 2013 and have been together for eight years
The twins just after their birth. Because of their unusual situation, the twins are actually half-brothers
& # 39; We have in fact decided to implant two & # 39; s to give us a higher success pregnancy on our first attempt. Each embryo was made from each of us and donor eggs.
& # 39; Both eventually took it and so we now have twin boys who are biological half-brothers with the same egg donor, but one boy from each of us. & # 39;
However, becoming parents of the same sex did not come without difficulties. During and after pregnancy it was difficult to get rights for both fathers and to get names on the children's birth certificates.
The twenty week scan of the twins. Tyler and Andy had to hire a family judge to get all the paperwork with which they could both have rights to their children
The twins just after their birth in 2017. The couple had to fill in a surrogacy contract to be the legal guardians of both children
& # 39; An important hurdle was to give us both the legal rights over both children during pregnancy and after delivery, including getting both of our names on their birth certificate & # 39 ;, Tyler said.
& # 39; In a heterosexual relationship, the mother has all legal rights of the unborn child during the pregnancy process and at birth. To ensure that we, as two fathers, both have legal rights to the children during pregnancy and at birth, we had to hire a family judge who provided us with two very important documents.
& # 39; The first document was a surrogacy contract that allowed us in court that we were both the primary legal guardians of both children. Once we had this, we only had to show hospital staff so that they understood the situation.
Andy (left) and Tyler (right) during the pregnancy of their surrogate. They had to request a birth order so that their names could appear on the birth certificate for the twins
Tyler with some family members of the couple and the twins. The couple said their friends and family were very positive about their decision to get a surrogate
& # 39; The second contract was the contract for the booked order in which both names could be printed on each child's birth certificate.
& # 39; The children were actually born in New Mexico, so that both of our names can appear on their birth certificate. If they were born in Arizona, a father would have had to legally adopt the other child.
& # 39; Paternity is really a magical feeling and we love these two boys more than anything else in the world. One of the best things for me is to enable myself to be a home father to raise our two boys. & # 39;
The family of four is very active and likes to go on an adventure. They have been to the North Rim, Zion National Park and around many mountains in Phoenix, Arizona where they have spent time together camping, fishing and hiking.
Caellum (left) and Emmerich (right) have been on many walks with their fathers, who love the great outdoors
The twins just after their birth. The birth took place in New Mexico, so that both names of the fathers could appear on the birth certificate
& # 39; Since they've been home, we've taken them on many adventures. We are very active and love the outdoors. We have taken them on road trips, camping, fishing and hiking.
& # 39; Some of our favorite walks with the boys are parts of the northern rim of the Grand Canyon, the Narrows in Zion National Park and around the mountain ranges of Phoenix, Arizona, & # 39; said Tyler.
The family has received so much support from their family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and the community. They feel that they have been integrated into their community as a family like any other.
Dear family: Tyler and Andy felt sad that they felt very supported and felt like any other family (pictured on Father's Day)
Caellum and Emmerich feed some chickens in a city farm in Pheonix. The couple said they taught the twins the importance of compassion
Andy with one of the twins after birth. Bringing children to their families was no walk in the park for Andy and his partner Tyler
The couple recommends others who want to start their own family to get to know as much as possible about others, but to use their own intuition with the information they have.
& # 39; Our boys are very loved by all our family and friends and we have received so much support from them and their neighbors and colleagues. The community has accepted us like everyone else and we feel very welcome, which is fantastic, & Tyler said.
& # 39; The only problem we've had is with some very anti-LGBTQ + family workers who have commented on social media posts. A few were along the lines of & # 39; gays & # 39; s not allowed to have children & # 39 ;. They are quickly deleted and blocked.
& # 39; Being a twin brother raising children does not make us a family less. We love our children very much and we both really love being fathers. There is nothing we would not do for them.
& # 39; For other LGBTQ + couples or single people, it is possible to start a family of your own. Collect as much advice as possible from family and friends, but use what works best for you. Yes, the journey can be long and sometimes stressful, but it is ultimately worth it. & # 39;
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