In recent years, the idea of family has evolved, moving beyond traditional norms and welcoming various ways of parenthood. For LGTB couples and individuals, gay surrogacy is a real option. However, you may also have other alternatives to consider, such as adoption or co-parenting.
Keep reading to learn more about gay surrogacy, its advantages and disadvantages, and regulations for the LGBT community.
What Is Gay Surrogacy?
Gay surrogacy, also known as same-sex surrogacy, is when gay couples or individuals work with a surrogate to have their own children. This process usually involves an in vitro fertilization (IVF). First, embryos are created with the intended parents’ (or donors’) genetic material. In the next step, the embryos are transferred to the surrogate. Finally, the surrogate carries and gives birth to a baby on behalf of the prospective parents.
The surrogacy process is no different for same-sex couples or single parents than it is for other prospective parents. Pregnancy will typically be achieved using IVF, an egg donor, and a gestational carrier. However, there are some considerations that you should take into account.
The LGBT Surrogacy Procedure
Surrogacy is a family-building option for:
- gay men who are looking to have their own children and
- lesbians who are not able to carry a pregnancy or conceive on their own.
The process is the same as it would be for straight-intended parents, but there are some questions that same-sex couples need to answer before starting this process.
First, intended parents must decide who will be genetically related to the child. Unlike surrogacy for heterosexual couples, where, in most cases, both parents can provide their genetic material, same-sex parents will have to decide whose egg or sperm will be used. Some prospective fathers will often choose to have multiple eggs fertilized using both partners’ sperm.
Next, prospective parents must decide if they want to use a known donor or an anonymous donor. Sometimes, an intended father may use eggs from a close relative, such as a sister or cousin, and their partner’s sperm. This option gives both fathers a biological connection to the child.
Same-Sex Surrogacy Laws
In the US, every state has its own surrogacy regulations. Some states don’t recognize or allow surrogacy agreements, others only allow surrogacy for heterosexual couples, and others permit surrogacy agreements for all kind of parents. Even if you are pursuing the process in a surrogacy-friendly state, the process of getting a birth certificate issued with the name of both parents can vary from state to state. Based on the state where you are considering doing your surrogacy and your circumstances, the birth certificate could be issued using:
- a pre-birth order,
- stepparent adoption,
- full adoption, or
- second-parent adoption.
It’s crucial that you work with a reputable attorney who is familiar with the local surrogacy regulations. You can also contact a surrogacy agency to learn more about the specifics of the surrogacy process in any specific state.
Gay Surrogacy Cost
The cost of gay surrogacy costs is similar to any other surrogacy agreement, and it can vary depending on numerous factors:
- the location,
- the fertility clinic chosen, and
- the surrogate’s compensation.
On average, the total surrogacy cost can range from $90,000 to $150,000 or more. This budget includes medical expenses, legal fees, surrogate compensation, and agency costs. It’s essential to plan carefully and anticipate additional expenses. Insurance, travel, and unforeseen medical needs can also impact costs.
Pros and Cons of Same-Sex Surrogacy
Surrogacy is a well-known option for building families within the LGBTQ community. However, it may not be a suitable choice for everybody. You must weigh 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:
Pros of Gay Surrogacy
- Most surrogates are specifically interested in helping same-sex couples become parents.
- Intended parents have the chance to make life-long bonds with their surrogates.
- 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.
Cons of Gay Surrogacy
- 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 fewer financing options for intended parents than there are for adoptive parents.
- Surrogacy is a complex legal process that can be harder for same-sex couples, depending on state laws.
Some of the challenges and 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 LGBT Surrogacy
Below are some additional things you must remember as you go on your journey.
- Parenting Challenges: When you bring your child 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. Still, at the same, it is a big challenge, especially when it comes to possible discrimination. Even though society increasingly embraces 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. Explaining surrogacy to young children may not be as easy as you expect. You need to be prepared.
- Choosing an LGBTQ-Friendly Professional: It is important to work with a professional who 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 maintaining a genetic link to your child. However, it would help if you were prepared for some potential challenges, both emotional and financial, that may appear during gay surrogacy.