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Circle Surrogacy was founded by a gay man who aspired to have his own family, and the strategic programs and partnerships we have in place are designed to make gay surrogacy possible. We've helped gay individuals and couples from Australia become parents for 26 years, and about half of the parents through our program are part of the LGBTQ+ community.
There are two types of surrogacy: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy (which is not usually practiced with surrogacy agencies) is when a woman is artificially inseminated to become pregnant. The woman shares biology with the baby.
The more common type of surrogacy is gestational surrogacy. Gestational surrogacy is the only family growing option for LGBTQ+ individuals and couples to have biological children. It’s a process that requires medical and legal expertise, as well as a strong emotional support throughout the journey. Through IVF, embryos are created in a lab at a fertility clinic, using the gay intended parents' biology (one or both) as well as an egg donor. At the fertility clinic, 1-2 embryos are implanted into a gestational carrier, who carries the baby(ies) to term.
In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate has no genetic relationship to the child or children they deliver.
Surrogacy is an emotional and financial process to building the family of your dreams.
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 singles and couples.
It's important to understand your rights as parents, and what the surrogacy laws are in your state or country, and in the state in which your surrogate mother resides.
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.
Our Matching Team works diligently to match intended parents and surrogates based on 3 criteria, the first of which is legal fit.
Ensuring that your surrogate lives in a state in which you'll be able to safely and securely establish your parental rights is crucial for a successful journey.
Circle Surrogacy has almost 25 years of matching gay intended parents and surrogate mothers successfully!
The Special Program of Assisted Reproduction (SPAR) has allowed hundreds of HIV+ men to build their families through surrogacy. Circle Surrogacy is proud to have assisted many couples and individuals through this program since 2009.
SPAR is offered in conjunction with the Bedford Research Foundation Clinical Laboratory, which has helped bring over 300 babies into the world safely through the program with no transmission of the virus. Dr. Ann Kiessling's innovating program combines semen testing and sperm washing for safe fertility procedures.
Living with HIV doesn't prevent you from having a child safely through surrogacy. It's possible to have a baby as an HIV+ man through the SPAR program and surrogacy through Circle Surrogacy.
For gay intended parents, the surrogacy process can feel complex: the need for an egg donor and a gestational surrogate, the surrogacy laws for LGBTQ+ community, finding a surrogacy agency and an IVF clinic. There are many milestones throughout your journey, and working with an agency can help you navigate the events throughout your journey so that you can focus on the most important thing: preparing for the arrival of your baby!
1. Research, research, research! Learn all there is to know about surrogacy.
2. Write down what's important to you in a surrogacy journey. What type of surrogate/intended parent relationship are you looking for? What level of surrogacy support do you want throughout your journey?
3. Make a list of agencies that fit your criteria, and reach out. Finding an agency that "feels right" is important!
Growing your family through surrogacy means bringing two very important women into your life: your surrogate mother and your egg donor. You may have a family member or friend who wants to act as your egg donor, or perhaps you'll find an egg donor in an egg donor database.
If you’re working with a surrogacy agency, your program coordinator will help find you a surrogate match. If you’re doing an independent surrogacy journey, you’ll need to find a gestational surrogate on your own. Surrogacy is an intimate experience, and agencies such as Circle Surrogacy will encourage you to form a strong bond with the woman who will carry your baby(ies).
Surrogacy and egg donation costs can be broken down into four categories:
Our program and surrogacy costs are structured to achieve two primary goals: success and cost security.
Circle is proud to offer the all-inclusive Journey Protection Guarantee Program, which is designed to help as many Intended Parents as possible bring home a baby while reducing variable costs.
Journey Protection Guarantee Program
Surrogacy only: $142,250
Surrogacy plus egg donation: $163,250
(both prices exclude IVF)
Our Journey Protection Guarantee offers Intended Parents:
The costs outlined above are for our Surrogacy Only and Surrogacy Plus Egg Donation Programs. For more information about the costs of our other programs, please email us or call us at 617.439.9900.
Finding an egg donor is a big step in your family building journey. Learn how LGBTQ+ singles and couples go about choosing a donor, what to look for in a donor, and how to agree with your partner on which egg donor is the best match.
Finding the perfect egg donor can be a stressful process. After all, you are selecting the young woman who will be providing half of your baby's biology!
If you're a gay couple, and you're both submitting biology for the creation of your embryos, it's not as easy to have an image of what your child will be like. Making a decision on what the other half of your child's biology will be can be a little harder. Some gay dads base the characteristics they look for in an egg donor on those of a close friend or family member.
Education? Appearance? Ethnicity? Personality? As you start your search, it's a good idea to have some thoughts as to what's important to you in an egg donor match.
And remember, nature vs nurture – not every characteristic or trait is hereditary!
Perhaps you have NO idea what you're looking for in an egg donor, or how to start your search. That's okay! Some intended parents take the "I'll know it when I see it" approach and create their list of criteria as they start looking through profiles.
Gay dads have told us that the ideal woman they thought they wanted as an egg donor, is not even close to the woman they ended up matching with.
Perhaps you have done your homework and have a list of 10 criteria you're looking for in an egg donor…only to find that there aren't any egg donors who meet your full list. Re-evaluate your list and prioritize your top 5 criteria and restart your search.
For example, one gay couple considered education and appearance to be their top priorities. As they started looking through our egg donor database, they weren't finding exactly what they were looking for. They removed some of the criteria from their search, and ended up finding their perfect woman, whose reasons for becoming an egg donor hooked them immediately.
The more open-minded you can be, the easier it will be to find your perfect match.
Finding the woman who will act as your surrogate mother and carry your baby(ies) is one of the most exciting milestones during your surrogacy journey to parenthood. Trust your surrogacy agency to help you find the best surrogate match.
Many of Circle's surrogate mothers are excited at the prospect of helping building LGBTQ+ families through surrogacy. They understand firsthand the joys of parenthood and want to share that experience with others.
Both gestational carriers and intended parents will fill out a questionnaire that asks them about the type of person they wish to be matched with, as well as what their expectations are from the surrogacy journey, and the level of communication with which they are comfortable. It's important to be honest when answering these questions, as our Matching Team uses these answers – as well as your geographic location and views on termination – in order to find you the best match.
When you're working with a surrogacy agency such as Circle, there are certain criteria on which you will be matched with your gestational carrier.
Intended Parent matching criteria includes their preferences on:
If you are doing an independent surrogacy journey, you can use the above as guidelines as to what you should be looking for in a suitable match.
1. Appropriate legal fit
In the United States, each state has its own laws regarding surrogacy. In addition, each country we assist has different requirements and laws regarding surrogacy. Therefore, our legal team ensures that the laws of the surrogate’s home state (where the delivery will take place) complement the laws of intended parents' home state/country (including laws around same sex parenting). The legal department will always approve a match from a legal standpoint before a surrogate profile is presented to intended parents. We will never knowingly present matches that are not a safe legal fit.
2. Personality fit and surrogacy expectations.
Once the legal team presents its list of safe matches, the matching team reviews the list to ensure good personality fits, since we want this to be a comfortable relationship throughout the entirety of the journey. Both surrogates and intended parents undergo phone calls or in-person meetings with the Circle team early in the process; these meetings help determine your personality as it relates to surrogacy. We also look at IPs' and surrogates' expectations and hopes for the journey including the number of embryos to transfer and communication styles.
3. Expectations Surrounding Termination and Selective Reduction.
We ask IPs and surrogates their views on termination of a pregnancy as we want to create a match of IPs and surrogates who share similar views. We want to ensure that the views of the surrogate and the views of the intended parents align in the event a situation arises where a reduction or termination is considered. In our experience, many intended parents prefer the option to make the choice of termination.
Circle Surrogacy believes that strong relationships between surrogate mothers and intended parents lead to smoother, more successful journeys. Regular communication also helps intended parents feel comfortable with their surrogate, and feel part of the pregnancy and process.
As a gay intended parent, building a relationship with your surrogate also helps you tell your child their origin story, and gives him/her the opportunity to know the woman who helped create your family. Because developing a relationship with your surrogate is so important, Circle strongly suggests a weekly video call (at minimum) between parents and surrogates via Skype or other video chat forum.
While the first Skype meeting can be a little stressful, surrogate mothers and intended parents create their own cadence for communication; some speak to each other weekly, some send text updates, while others chat daily and send photos frequently.