Starting life as a family of five at RMHC Toronto

Pierre and his husband, Marc, knew they wanted to start a family early on in their relationship. As a gay couple, they relied on surrogacy to help them achieve their dreams, but in their home country of France, surrogacy is against the law. They met with several agencies and decided to go with a Canadian surrogate, where they felt the process was most ethical.

After waiting several years to find a surrogate in Canada, Pierre and Marc started the process in Mexico and were fortunate to find a surrogate in 2022. At the same time, Pierre and Marc were notified that a surrogate was also found in Canada. The couple jumped at the opportunity to have not one, but two children!

Two soon became three when it was discovered that they would be expecting identical twins—due only three months after their firstborn son, Paul, joined the family. They never imagined that they would end up being the proud fathers of three babies in the same year.

Yet the new parents only had seven weeks as a family of three before their twins’ premature birth at 30 weeks. Their surrogate, from Timmins, Ontario, was flown to the hospital in Toronto, which was equipped to support high-risk births. Pierre and Marc were told their baby sons would have to stay in the hospital for at least ten weeks.

“We didn’t know what to do because it isn’t easy to just fly to Toronto and stay there for months,” says Pierre. “We work and live in France. And Toronto is such an expensive city. But there was no question that we needed to be with our sons. Luckily for us, a social worker connected us to Ronald McDonald House Charities Toronto.”

They packed up newborn Paul and flew 6,000 kilometres from their home in France, to Toronto to welcome their twin sons, Marcus and Zephir. 

RMHC Toronto became a haven for the family, offering more than just accommodation. Thanks to donors like you, Pierre and Marc found a place just like home in Toronto so they could spend their days with Marcus and Zephir, while they got stronger.

“They were in incubators because they could not breathe by themselves at first,” Pierre recounts. “They had a CPAP [continuous positive airway pressure] machine to do the breathing for them. This was so stressful. Their hearts would stop for just a couple of seconds, and we would have to wake them up. At the beginning they were really between life and death. I didn’t know if I should try to bond with them or prepare myself for the worst.”

Slowly the twins got stronger and stronger, until they were able to breathe on their own, and after eight weeks they were released from the hospital. The family spent some time together at RMHC Toronto before flying back to France to continue their lives as a family of five. 

“We will never forget this experience. When we first came here, we met the volunteer at the front desk and she explained everything that we could access. I thought, how is all this even possible? And then we learned about the donors. Thank you so much to all the donors who made that possible. Our lives would have been so different during these two months without it. I’m not even sure that we could have managed to stay in Toronto to take care of our babies.” 

Your support has helped Pierre and Marc and their three beautiful children have a safe place to stay together, with a community of support when they needed it. As they embark on the next chapter of their lives, RMHC Toronto, and you, our donors who supported them, will always be an important part of their family story. 

“I cannot imagine how we could have done it without RMHC Toronto”