By Sunday reporter Mark Crysell
I’ve just spent the past nine months or so dipping in and out of the life of ex TV personality, now MP, Tamati Coffey and his partner Tim Smith as they started a family.
I say started a family but as Tamati said “between us both, we don't have the bits that it takes” so they needed help.
They found an egg donor - “I have a really strong feeling that if you can help people, then you should” - and an amazing selfless mother of three stepped up to be the surrogate. “It's my gift, it's my Little Koha.”
It’s not just biology against gay men who want to have a family. To many, it feels like the system is too.
If you want a surrogate you have to find one yourself and the rules are strict; you can’t pay them, they need to have had children before and they can’t be overweight.
Gay male couples have no access to publicly funded IVF. Tamati and Tim have shelled out $40,000 and that includes money for lawyers because they have to adopt their child after it’s born.
That means ethics committees, police checks and interviews with Oranga Tamariki to ascertain whether they are fit and appropriate people to have a child.
As Brad, who wants to start a family with his husband, told us, “it's 2019, we're a family and we should be treated like everyone else. It's almost like the law needs to catch up to to New Zealand as it is today.”
Tamati and fellow Labour MP Louisa Wall have a draft bill which will address a number of these issues. It’s currently with the Children's Commissioner for a final consultation.
There will always be those who don’t believe gay couples shouldn’t be allowed to start families, but really the most important person in this whole equation is the child.
TVNZ's Sunday was there when Tamati and Tim’s little miracle was born, and it was profoundly moving.
Their child has entered a world of unconditional love and will have two amazing dads.
So what is a modern family?
It’s diverse and different, just like us.
Like Tamati and Tim’s, like yours, and like mine and my wife’s.
Our beautiful, quirky, kind, funny daughter Edie came into our lives via an egg donor. And she’s the best.
*Mark Crysell’s story on Tamati and Tim’s journey to fatherhood is on TVNZ1's Sunday at 7.30pm*