Surrogacy is a big decision for any couple, straight or gay. Being familiar with the process is a must for any intended parent. Although surrogacy for heterosexual intended parents and same-sex intended parents is largely similar, there are a few factors that separate gay surrogacy from surrogacy for straight couples.
The matching process is important for all intended parents. Ultimately, you’re choosing the people who, in part, are giving life to your child. And it’s important for LGBT intended parents to work with a gay-friendly surrogate and egg donor. These two women should be supportive of your decision to start a family. Many agencies, including Circle Surrogacy, suggest you meet the surrogate and her family so you can recognize her sincerity in assisting and supporting your choice to become fathers.
Once you’re matched with a surrogate and egg donor (egg donation is required for gay male couples), you’ll get ready to work with your IVF clinic. If you are a couple, decide which one of you will provide the sperm. Another option is that both you and your partner contribute sperm. In this situation, an IVF doctor will divide the eggs retrieved from the egg donor, and fertilize them separately, using samples from each partner. From there, one fertilized embryo from each partner can be transferred.
Surrogacy law is complex and varies by state. But don’t let that get in your way of becoming a parent. It’s vital that you consult with a lawyer who specializes in surrogacy for gay couples or gay parenting issues. Most surrogacy agencies work with such attorneys or have a legal team on staff to help you navigate the process. Common legal procedures for same-sex intended parents include:
- Pre-Birth Order (PBO): A court proceeding that establishes parental rights prior to the birth of the child. PBOs are only available in certain states. In other states, it may be possible to obtain a post-birth order.
- Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity: Allows a birth mother to designate a father, sometimes without the need for a court proceeding.
- Custody Order: Grants custody of a child to the intended parent(s).
- Second-Parent Adoption: Permanently establishes the non-biological parent’s rights to the child. It’s advisable to obtain a second-parent adoption. Even when it is possible to obtain a pre-birth order or a post-birth order, parents should know that not all states recognize parentage conferred in this way. By contrast, adoptions are recognized nationwide.
- Wills and Estate Planning: Ensures that guardianship of the child is provided for in the event of the death of one or both parents. When a gay couple lives in a state or country where same-sex marriage isn’t legal, it becomes even more important to establish these documents.
Nothing should deprive a couple, or individual, from the joy of becoming parents, including sexual orientation. As such, starting a family with the help of a surrogate is a wonderful option for you and your partner.
Download our free guide, An Introduction to Surrogacy & Egg Donation: A Guide for LGBT Intended Parents