A grieving father who is now navigating life as a single parent has finally been named on his son’s birth certificate, along with his late wife, after a surrogate gave birth to the child four months ago.
Queensland man Gareth Arena is raising his son, Rixon, on his own after tragically losing his wife, Bec, to Cystic Fibrosis in September last year.
In a glimmer of hope for the single father of one, he and his wife are now officially Rixon’s parents after applying for a parentage order in Townsville’s Supreme Court.
A parentage order is a court order that transfers parentage from the birth parent/s to the intended parent/s as part of the surrogacy arrangement.
It means the birth mother and her partner no longer have a legal parental relationship with the child and the intended parents become the child’s legal parents.
Mr and Mrs Arena had chosen to go through the surrogacy process with a friend of theirs, Jessica Brockie.
“Today is a very significant day in our #surrogacy journey, (our final step) who would have thought all those years ago when Bec Arena and Jessica Brockie first spoke about the possibility of surrogacy this is now where we would be,” Mr Arena posted on Facebook.
“Up until now Rixon’s birth certificate has had our beautiful surrogate Jess and Jeremy Brockie as his parents, (although it would be an honour). We will go to court shortly and apply for a ‘parentage order’. This means as of today it will change and #rixonjames will be legally recognised as both myself and Bec’s son.”
Mr Arena said he can “only imagine” what the day would have meant for his wife.
“Her beautiful smile would have lasted for days,” he said.
“Even though it’s always going to be difficult for me without you I will continue to remember your endless strength and determination and apply that to the way I raise our son.”
Surrogate Jessica Brockie and her husband were named as Rixon’s parents on the birth certificate when he was born in January this year. But with their consent, Rixon’s birth certificate will now list Bec and Gareth as his legal parents.
Mr Arena has been Rixon’s sole carer since he was born and says his wife named him before she died.
He told Yahoo7 to have her name on the birth certificate is something special.
“For me it’s just a piece of paper but it is cool to know he is now legally mine but [to have Bec on there] means the world to me,” he said.
“It’s the best part of it, seeing her name on there. It kind of worried me that she might not have been able to be but I’m glad she is.”
May is cystic fibrosis awareness month and Mr Arena is asking everyone to learn about the life-threatening disorder at www.cysticfibrosis.org.au.