Surrogacy is a very attractive option for members of the LGBT community. Over the last two decades, it has been become an accepted family-building method. The public’s perceptions of what defines a family also have become more inclusive and, as a result, a growing number of same-sex couples longing to build or grow their families are turning to surrogacy.
Even though the surrogacy for gay couples is not too different than what other intended parents experience, there are some distinctions that need to be considered.
Gay surrogacy and its process
Surrogacy is a popular option among gay intended parents who want to have genetically related children. This technique is also a suitable option for lesbian couples who are unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy on their own. Both types of intended parents will need a gestational carrier and use in vitro fertilization (IVF) to achieve a pregnancy. Gay men will need an egg donor and if they are part of a couple, one of the prospective dads will contribute sperm to fertilize the donor’s eggs.
Gay couples need to make some important decisions before beginning surrogacy that differ from those for heterosexual couples.
Deciding who will be biologically related to the child
Same-sex intended parents must decide who will provide the gametes needed for IVF since both parents’ genetic material cannot be used to create an embryo. Some couples choose to fertilize multiple eggs, half with each partner's sperm, and then transfer one embryo from each set to the gestational carrier’s uterus. This way, either or both partners could be the biological father of a child.
Choosing the donor
Gay couples also need to find an egg donor to complete the surrogacy process. Some intended parents choose to find an anonymous donor through an agency, while others work with a known egg donor, typically a family member or a friend.
For surrogacy selection, typically intended parents choose working with an agency to perform the surrogate screening and matching, but some work with a known surrogate or undergo an independent match.
Legal issues surrounding same-sex surrogacy
The legal landscape for surrogacy is very restrictive in many countries, and some nations do not recognize same-sex marriage or LGBT parenting.
In the United States, many states have LGBT-friendly surrogacy laws. Nonetheless, laws governing surrogacy vary widely from state to state. While some states are completely surrogacy-friendly, including for same-sex families, others do not grant parental rights for gay couples, or do not allow surrogacy contracts. In some states, parents may require additional legal actions to be officially considered the legal parents of the child. Consequently, the legal surrogacy process for same-sex intended parents can be complicated, especially in less surrogacy-friendly states. It is advisable to consult an experienced surrogacy attorney before entering into an agreement.
Final thoughts about surrogacy for gay couples
Surrogacy can make it possible for gay couples to fulfill their parenting dreams and expand their families. Sexual orientation should not have any impact on their surrogacy experience, but same-sex couples should keep in mind some additional factors such as a state’s regulatory framework, egg donor selection, and other issues when they decide to embark on surrogacy.
It can be helpful to seek counseling and support of an LGBT-friendly surrogacy agency capable of guiding intended parents through every step of the process. This is all you need to know about surrogacy for gay couples. Give us your opinion!