“Gay Surrogacy” Helps Gay Men Satisfy Their Desire For a Child With a Genetic Link

iStock_000024946993_ExtraSmall (1)When a gay couple or a single gay man turns to a gestational carrier and egg donor to form a family via a process that has become known as “gay surrogacy“, they are coming from a place that is dramatically different from that of straight couples who might also turn to third parties for help with reproduction. Typically, the straight couple has experienced a long and heartbreaking struggle to conceive, first in the bedroom and then at a fertility clinic where they hoped to be able to use the woman’s own eggs and uterus.  They have found themselves in “the land of the infertile”, a place they never wanted to be. Their journey has been long, painful and filled with a series of crushing disappointments.  If they have decided to create their baby with the eggs and/or uterus of another women, they have first been through a difficult internal process that generally includes grieving over their need to rely on a third party.  The gestational carrier and/or egg donor represent the only way left for them to have a baby and, once they turn the corner to acceptance, they feel grateful for the women whose generous sacrifices ensure that the option exists.

Gay men do not come to surrogacy and egg donation without also having experienced a long history of struggle and adversity, including marginalization and discrimination because of their sexual orientation.  Over the years, society has sent them the message that they are unfit to be parents, and that children raised by them would be more likely to be maladjusted.  In some countries they are denied the right to adopt.  Their concept of  “family” is often the “social family” they have built within the gay community, where they have found acceptance, respect, support and understanding.Like many others, some gay men feel an overwhelming desire for a family with a genetic connection.  Until relatively recently, this seemed like an elusive dream.  However, when same-sex couples in many parts of the globe were granted the right to marry, society became more accepting of their right to become parents.  With increasing frequency, gay men have begun to turn to assisted reproductive technology (ART) for help in building their families. “Gay surrogacy” offers them the genetic connection they crave while enabling them to overcome the barriers presented by their lack of a female partner. Although they may be perfectly fertile, gay men have found themselves thrust into the world of fertility clinics where they can use reproductive material provided by a third party, together with their own, to create a baby.  Although it is an unfamiliar world, they enter the fertility clinic with optimism and excitement because it provides the key to their genetic child.Unfortunately, many countries have passed laws prohibiting “commercial” or “compensated” surrogacy and egg donation. In addition, some countries have passed laws prohibiting members of the LGBT community from using a surrogate, even on an altruistic basis.   Gay men living in these countries often engage in international surrogacy arrangements, particularly in the United States where in certain states both fathers can be named on the birth certificate from the outset.

When gay men travel out of country to pursue gay surrogacy, they have many critically important decisions to make about who will help them achieve their goal.  First they must choose lawyers in the foreign destination and at home who will help them understand  the laws that will govern their baby’s legal parentage, nationality and immigration status, and the process they will go through following the birth to secure their status as a family. They must then choose a cutting edge fertility clinic that will offer maximum potential to achieve a healthy pregnancy, understand the unique nature of their journey, and treat them with respect and sensitivity.  Next they must choose a reputable surrogacy agency that will take pains to rigorously screen its gestational carriers, match them appropriately, and provide support and guidance to the intended fathers and the gestational carrier throughout the pregnancy.   And finally, if they will not be using a clinic recruited anonymous egg donor, they must also choose a reputable egg donor agency.  With each choice, the quality of the services offered must be carefully assessed.

If you are a gay man considering gay surrogacy, we urge you to own the process and make smart choices in a thoughtful and considered way.  Take the time to become discerning and informed so that you can develop a sophisticated understanding of the subtleties and nuances that are not apparent on the surface. It would to be our pleasure to help you if you need us.

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