The idea of surrogacy has thrived in the LBGT community. By 2015, about 125,000 same-sex couples were raising children in Massachusetts, while 40,000 children were living with same-sex parents in California by 2013.1 The process of surrogacy for gay couples is the same as for anyone else especially since the legalization of same-sex marriage. While some choose to adopt children, many are opting for gay gestational surrogacy and assisted reproduction techniques such as in vitro fertilization.
The first step is to determine what process is most suitable. Female couples may select a sperm donor for medically assisted artificial insemination, which can be selected from a commercial sperm bank anonymously or through a friend or relative, with proper legal processes in place. In some instances, one female partner may contribute eggs and along with a sperm donor and IVF to create embryos, her female partner then carries the pregnancy so each has a biological or genetic relation to the child.
For gay men, surrogacy options are available in two main types. Traditional surrogacy is when the egg donor, also carries the child. She is inseminated with the intended father’s sperm through medically assisted artificial insemination, is biologically and genetically related to the child. Gestational surrogacy involves eggs and sperm from the intended parents or a donor. The surrogate and the baby are not genetically related.
In either case, the process is more complicated than for lesbian couples because women only need sperm (prior to procedures such as IVF), while male same-sex couples must find a woman willing to carry their child and go through the extended process. Surrogates must first go through hormonal therapy to stimulate the ovaries and prepare their bodies for pregnancy.
Creating a Genetic Connection
The methods of LGBT surrogacy used to create a biological connection between partners and their children include:
- A donated egg from a male partner’s female relative is fertilized by the other partner’s sperm; the child then has a genetic relation to both partners.
- Sperm from both partners are combined with eggs from a donor; “twins”, with the same genetic egg donor, are possible, although each “twin’ would have a different genetic father.
- One partner’s sperm is used to produce a genetically related child, while the other partner’s sperm and donor egg is used with the same surrogate later; the siblings would have the same genetic egg donor and the same genetic father.
A surrogacy arrangement requires partners to compensate the woman carrying the child. Accounting for the type of pregnancy, experience (previous surrogate pregnancies), medical expenses, insurance, travel, legal costs, and lost wages, surrogacy can cost $60,000 to $140,000.2 Also impacting the gay surrogacy cost is the costs involved with selecting the egg and or sperm donors and the costs of all the medical procedure for both the gestational surrogate and the IVF with egg or sperm donors.
There are legal considerations not just with surrogacy for gay couples, but the process in general. Specializing in reproductive law, an attorney can provide advice and draft surrogate/egg donor agreements. Texas is a state where the Intended Parents names are placed on the Birth Certificate without having to “adopt” their own genetic child. This is called a “pre-birth order” and is handled along with the legal requirements by an attorney specializing in Reproductive Law. Another consideration for gay couples looking for a surrogate mother is where to find surrogates, assistance, and advice. With 3 Sister Surrogacy, help is available at every step of the process. For more information on LGBT surrogacy in Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, or Los Angeles, contact us at 877-976-9483 today.