Through surrogacy, gay men and same-sex couples have more opportunities to expand their families than ever before!
If you want to learn more about surrogacy as an option for gay parents or same-sex couples, there are some basic things to know before choosing this path to parenthood.
Is surrogacy an option?
Surrogacy has been increasingly popular in recent years. Surrogates, or women who choose to carry a child on behalf of another, are becoming more and more common. But what about gay parents? Is surrogacy an option? The answer: Absolutely!
Though some legal obstacles and social stigmas make becoming a parent as a same-sex couple more complicated than for opposite-sex couples, it is possible. In fact, today’s reproductive technology makes it just as easy for two men (or two women) to have children as it is for any parent.
How does surrogacy work?
Gestational surrogacy has gained popularity in recent years as a way for same-sex couples to become parents. In gestational surrogacy, a woman—called a surrogate or gestational carrier—carries your baby to term. With gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not genetically related to the baby she is carrying.
No matter how you approach surrogacy, there are a few steps you’ll take before birth. First, you’ll complete a legal contract with your surrogate that outlines the responsibilities of all parties. Next, you’ll undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF), a process where an egg is removed from a donor’s ovaries and fertilized with sperm in a lab. The resulting embryo will then be placed inside your surrogate, who will carry it to term.
How does surrogacy work for two dads?
Often, gay couples would like to have children related to both parents. In this case, each father would create a set of embryos with an egg donor.
Some couples choose to transfer two embryos into a surrogate with the hope of having twins. And though it sounds logical to believe that transferring two embryos will double your chances of becoming a parent, this is not actually the case.
Transferring two embryos at once will only marginally increase your chance of conceiving. It does, however, greatly increase the chances of complications. A twin pregnancy is risky for both the surrogate and the babies. Issues like hypertension, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and preterm labor are much more likely in a twin pregnancy. Twin pregnancies also have a higher rate of miscarriage.
What are the legal concerns?
When searching for a surrogate, same-sex couples face many of the same legal concerns that opposite-sex couples face. For example, surrogacy is not legal in all states (hence why we recommend working with an agency), so it’s imperative to check your local laws before starting.
Some states allow both same-sex parents to be included on their child’s birth certificate after they are born, making it possible for both parents to have legal custody regardless of genetics; others do not have these laws on their books.
The laws surrounding surrogacy vary from state to state, so make sure you’re familiar with where your state stands before pursuing a surrogate pregnancy. A reputable agency can help you find a surrogate in a state where the surrogacy process is permitted.
Even in states where surrogacy is legal, same-sex couples may face scrutiny from those around them. LGBTQ+ families have historically faced discrimination when starting a family, and in some places, they still do today.
Your concerns could be based on more than just finding a surrogate—your family might not understand your decision to become parents via surrogacy either. It’s important to talk with loved ones about how you plan to start your family before you begin looking for a surrogate mother.
How much does surrogacy cost?
The cost of gestational surrogacy varies widely with each journey. Although costs vary, you can expect to pay upwards of $100,000 in total expenses, including agency fees, legal fees, and compensation to your surrogate. If you plan on using an egg donor, additional expenses can range from $7-10k or more.
It’s important to keep in mind that these are all estimates; every journey is different, and every intended parent has different needs. Choose an agency you trust, that understands what’s important to you, and who is committed to helping guide you through an often-challenging process.
In some cases, financial constraints might mean that choosing a surrogate mother is not possible for you; in others, it may just mean that long-term financing is necessary to move forward with the process.
Where can I find a surrogate?
The most important part of finding a surrogate is choosing someone you trust and feel comfortable with.
Although it’s possible to find a surrogate independently—without going through an agency—there are pros and cons to doing so.
Reputable agencies who have been in the industry for over 15 years can help individuals and couples who want to become parents find a suitable surrogate. They can help match you with potential candidates based on location, age, medical history, and other factors. An agency can also help by providing listings of reputable clinics, doctors, and attorneys who specialize in fertility law so you can get all your legal questions answered.