An Impassioned Letter to Elton John from A Circle Parent

Few people in England are as well known as Sir Elton John, so it has been natural that his journey to fatherhood as a surrogate parent in England has been widely covered by the UK media. He voiced a common fear among gay parents not long ago in saying that he worried that his 19 month old son, Zachary, would be bullied because he has 2 dads and comes from a gay family. Circle Surrogacy Dad Brett Griffin – who is also our UK representative – took to the pages of The Daily Mail to allay Sir Elton’s fears with a heartfelt and personal account of his own experiences as a gay father to son Sebastian in Britain. We’ve quoted the article below:

Dear Elton,

I understand your concerns and that’s good, all parents are worried about their children’s future. But I don’t doubt that if a child is raised with love, he or she will be OK. 

Will Sebastian ask some awkward questions when he gets older? Of course, but I think the tough questions have changed. We’ve moved on from the awkward birds-and-the-bees questions to, ‘Why does Mary have two mummies?’

We were in the supermarket the other day and there was a woman pushing a boy in a pushchair. Sebastian pointed and said: ‘Who is that?’

I don’t think a child is particularly better off with same sex parents, but I certainly don’t think they’re any worse off than any other child who grows up in a loving home. And the fact we had to go through so much to get Sebastian will reinforce that love for him. 

If ever, when he’s a teenager, he says: ‘I didn’t ask to be born,’ I am so ready for him.

I was nervous of telling people we were having a child by surrogacy. It was like coming out all over again.  But in fact the response was overwhelmingly positive. 

At the time I was working for Barclays. I told my boss I would need some time off to go to the States and he was incredibly supportive. I told my team and they were all great. Even the neighbours were excited. 

Surrogacy was once for only the super-rich, but that is not the case any more. We used the agency, Circle Surrogacy. It was a struggle financially – we are an average couple from the Midlands – but we managed. 

Sebastian was born into this relationship because we wanted a child. He is loved and lacks for nothing and he will always know that. I think the only thing that could make it better would be the introduction of marriage. 

At the moment a civil partnership is a poor second-class substitute to a marriage certificate. It’s a sticking plaster. If we had civil partnerships for black or Asian people, there would be uproar. 

Well, it’s the same for gay people. Marriage is not in the ownership of the church. Marriage pre-dates the church, wedding rings are of pagan origin. 

I refer to Simon as my husband, why can’t I just say it’s a marriage? I think it would solidify things more for children who are part of a gay relationship.  

But overall I think Zachary will be just fine. Don’t forget, Elton, that anybody who picks on your kid would have to deal with your wrath. 

I wouldn’t risk that. Nor would anyone who has seen Tantrums And Tiaras

Yours, Brett

Are you a Prospective Parent in the UK? Want to speak with Brett? Click to Email Him.

Covering the Cost of Surrogacy: 6 Tips for Intended Parents

For most people, covering the costs of surrogacy requires planning and organization. Here are some of our favorite tips to help make the financial aspect of your surrogacy journey go smoothly:

1.  Share your story. Surrogacy is the ultimate example of people helping people. Being open about your intent to pursue surrogacy can help you gain the support of family and friends. In some cases, family members of intended parents have chipped in to help with expenses. But even if friends and family can’t assist you financially, counting on the emotional support and encouragement of the people who matter to you most can make your journey to parenthood through surrogacy much easier.

surrogacy costs

2.  Start putting funds aside. Consider setting aside money over time. Most intended parents come to an agency after a period of careful thought and research. This is a good time to start saving.

3.  Remember you can influence the overall costs. While the surrogacy journey can be unpredictable, remember that the preferences you express and the choices you make can affect your overall expenses, including the IVF clinic you work with and whether your surrogate is insured or uninsured. You can also look into various surrogacy programs to see which is right for you.

4.  Consider your financing options. You may be able to obtain loans from banks or lending agencies to help you cover the costs. Many intended parents look into home equity loans as an option to pay back a portion of their expenses over time. Because the medical fees associated with IVF cycles are a significant portion of total expenses, many intended parents investigate the possibility of secured or unsecured loans from medical financing companies. Circle also offers surrogacy financing options for U.S. intended parents.

5.  Evaluate all of your insurance options. There are a variety of insurance options available to cover the medical costs of surrogacy, so make sure you take time to look into which is right for you. Ask for information about deductibles, enrollment fees, premiums, and out-of-pocket maximums.

6.  Look into different fertility clinic options. Talk to more than one IVF center/fertility clinic. Most offer a variety of packages. Consider options like the Unlimited IVF Plan offered by Circle Surrogacy and Pacific Fertility Center – Los Angeles which allows you unlimited embryo transfers until a pregnancy is achieved.

photo credit (l): jridgewayphotography via photo pin cc

photo credit (r): bisbiglio [in arte “sbibbì”] via photo pin cc

Surrogacy in New Jersey: Governor’s Veto Delays Progress

New Jersey has wrestled with the issue of surrogacy more often and more publicly than most states. Governor Chris Christie’s veto of a surrogacy bill on Wednesday adds another layer to the history of surrogacy in the state.

We’ve already covered the the New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act here and here. But let’s take a look at what the changes in surrogacy would have looked like in New Jersey, if the bill had become law:

  • Gestational carrier agreements would be explicitly recognized as in accord with state public policy,
  • Best interests of children born through surrogacy would be protected by legal standards and safeguards,
  • Rights of intended parents would be secure immediately upon birth, and
  • Diversity of intended parents who pursue surrogacy would be protected by law which recognizes surrogacy for married couples and those in civil unions and domestic partnerships.

The Governor missed an opportunity to make New Jersey an example across the nation. Christie could have established guidelines to protect all of those involved in the surrogacy process. He could have improved surrogacy law in a state most noted for the famous Baby M case of 1988, in which a woman refused to hand over a child she had carried as a traditional surrogate for an infertile couple.

A lot has changed since 1988. The practice of traditional surrogacy, the arrangement in question in the Baby M case, is no longer common. Now, in the vast majority of surrogacy arrangements, the surrogate (or gestational carrier) agrees to undergo implantation of one or more embryos created from the sperm and egg of the intended parents or third-party gamete donors. She bears no genetic relationship to the child.

In vetoing the recent surrogacy bill, Governor Christie explained his concern about the “profound change in the traditional beginnings of a family that this bill would enact.” He said that “permitting adults to contract with others regarding a child … unquestionably raises serious and significant issues.”

The Governor’s decision shows a lack of appreciation for the progress of medical technology. It shows a misunderstanding of the primary concepts of surrogacy and of the purpose of contracts in ensuring that the best interest of all parties—surrogates, intended parents, and children—are protected. It reflects an outdated view that changes in the “traditional beginnings of a family” are negative. Finally, it ignores the joy that surrogacy and egg donation have given to deserving couples and individuals, gay and straight, who need a little help to build their families.

Tell us what you think about the recent developments in New Jersey surrogacy law in the comments below, or by emailing us.

photo credit: Bob Jagendorf via photo pin cc