Most same-sex couples are eager to start building their families and achieve their parenthood dreams.
One option for the LGBT community is surrogacy. As family perceptions and laws have become more inclusive, gay and lesbian surrogacy have become a more common option in the last few years.
Even though the surrogacy process is no different for same-sex couples or single parents than it is for other prospective parents, there are some unique considerations that you should take into account before starting your process.
Keep reading to learn more about the process, advantages, disadvantages, and surrogacy regulations for the LGBT community.
The Surrogacy Process for the LGBTQ Community
Surrogacy is a well-known option for gay men who are looking to be genetically tied to their children and lesbians who are not able to carry a pregnancy or conceive on their own. When it comes to LGBTQ surrogacy, the pregnancy will typically be created using IVF, an egg donor, and a gestational carrier. The process is the same as it would be for straight intended parents, but there are some points that same-sex couples need to talk about before starting this process.
First, you will have to decide who is going to be genetically related to the child. Unlike surrogacy for heterosexual couples, where in most cases both parents can provide their genetic material to create an embryo, same-sex parents will have to decide whose egg or sperm will be used. Some prospective fathers will often decide to have multiple eggs fertilized using both partners’ sperm, allowing either or both of them to be the biologically linked to the child.
Next, you will have to decide if you want to use a known donor or an anonymous donor. Even though it is easy to work with an agency to find an egg or sperm donor, many LGBT individuals and couples decide to find a donor independently to complete the surrogacy process. Sometimes, an intended father may choose to use eggs from a close relative, such as a sister or cousin, and their partner’s sperm, which gives both fathers a biological link to the child.
Once you have made these decisions, you can continue with the surrogacy process like any other intended parents.
Surrogacy Laws for Same-Sex Couples
In the US, every state has its own laws regulating surrogacy. Some states don’t recognize or allow surrogacy agreements, others allow surrogacy agreements for heterosexual couples only, and others allow surrogacy agreements for all kind of intended parents. Even if you are conducting the process in a surrogacy-friendly state, the process of getting a birth certificate issued with the name of both parents can vary state to state. Based on the state where you are considering pursuing your journey and your circumstances, the birth certificate could be issued using a pre-birth order, stepparent adoption, full adoption, or second-parent adoption.
It’s very important that you work with a reputable attorney that is familiar with the local surrogacy regulations to help you deal with all the legal aspects. You can also contact a surrogacy agency to learn more about the specifics of the surrogacy process in any specific state and learn about your options for completing the process regardless of where you live.
Pros and Cons for Same-Sex Surrogacy
Surrogacy is a very sought after option for in the LGBTQ community, especially if you are interested in expanding your family, but it’s not the right choice for everyone. It’s very important that you take into consideration all the pros and cons of the process to understand if surrogacy is the right option for you.
Below are the most common advantages and disadvantages of surrogacy for same-sex couples:
- Most surrogates are specifically interested in helping same-sex couples become parents.
- You can have the opportunity to create a long-term relationship with your surrogate if she wishes so.
- You, your partner, or both of you can have a biological connection to the child
- Surrogacy is a chance to fulfill your lifelong dream of raising a family.
- Some LGBT people in the community may deal with discrimination or bias from professionals, donors, or prospective surrogates.
- The cost of surrogacy is high, and there are less financing options for intended parents than there are for adoptive parents.
- Surrogacy is a complex legal process that can be much harder for same-sex couples depending on state laws.
Some of the challenges and the benefits listed above apply to heterosexual prospective parents as well. Regardless of your sexual orientation, you need to consider these pros and cons, as well as your circumstances, when making your decision.
Additional Considerations for Same-Sex Couples
Below are some additional things you need to keep in mind as you go on your surrogacy journey.
- Parenting Challenges: When you bring your new baby home at the end of the surrogacy journey, you will be starting a new chapter in your life. Parenting is one of the biggest joys in life, but at the same, it is a big challenge, especially when it comes to possible discrimination. Even though society is increasingly accepting different family models, you may still find people who do not accept your family. Also, you may face challenges when talking about your child’s birth story. As children get older, they become curious about where they came from, and explaining surrogacy to young children may not be as easy as you expect. You need to be prepared.
- Choosing an LGBTQ-Friendly Professional: For many parents, it is important to work with a professional who is open to work and has experience with same-sex intended parents. When you consider surrogacy agencies, ask about their history of working with LGBT clients and see if they provide support and counseling that is tailored to your situation.
Surrogacy is a great option for same-sex couples who want to expand their family. You can fulfill your parenting dreams while still maintaining a genetic link to your child.
The following resources provide some additional information about LGBTQ surrogacy and same-sex parenting: