Are you and your partner looking to become parents? Navigating the world of gay fatherhood, egg donation, and adoption or surrogacy for gay men and couples can be complicated. Here is an overview of gay family building
Adoption vs Surrogacy for Gay Couples
The first step for gay men who want to pursue fatherhood is to consider surrogacy or adoption. Adoption is potentially a faster and less costly way to become a father and allows parenting of children from various age groups. It also provides a meaningful contribution to society and the child whose future may be uncertain. On the other hand, an adopted child’s biological parents may change their mind before the child is born, or even soon after. The process of eventually letting the child know of its adoption status may be emotionally taxing for the parents and the child, and psychological support may be needed. Other uncertainties that affect this decision include the unknown genetic background or medical history of the birth parents, or the environment in which the birth mother carried the child which may affect the future health of the child.
The process of surrogacy for gay parents may be more costly and time-consuming but provides them with more control. Contractual agreements with the surrogate, especially in California and other select states, provide the most protective legal frameworks for gay surrogacy options, ensuring that the child will be placed with the parents after birth.
Gay Surrogacy Options and Considerations
Provided that prospective fathers choose the path of surrogacy, the next step is to decide whether one or both partners will become genetic fathers. One partner may have a strong desire to become the genetic father and the other may not, in which case it is an easy decision. If both wish to be genetic fathers, one embryo from each father can be transferred to have a twin pregnancy or transferred sequentially in a staggered manner.
Choosing the genetic father for surrogacy can be a difficult decision. In our experience, open and direct communication between the fathers is essential at this time as you take into consideration your preferences, goals, and respective family and medical histories.
Here are some things to think about, plan for, and discuss:
- How do you feel about having twins? Each father could contribute his sperm to fertilize eggs from the same or different egg donors.
- If twins aren’t an option, another possibility is having two children of different ages, each with a different genetic father.
- What does your fertility specialist think? It may be that one intended father has healthier sperm than the other.
- Consider your respective family medical histories. A family history of serious medical conditions should be taken into consideration when making a final decision.
- Are there physical traits that you would like to see in your child or children? Consider selecting the father who has these traits for genetic parenthood.
Finding an egg donor for gay couples
The next step after choosing the genetic father(s) is to choose an egg donor. Factors to consider about the egg donor include:
- The donor’s ethnic background
- Genetic and medical history
- Self-described personality traits
Having the ability to choose an egg donor is among the most desired qualities of egg donation. Typically, multiple embryos are created with the father’s sperm and the donor eggs. The embryos are then frozen, allowing couples to build their family over time with the same genetic material. Santa Monica Fertility has strict guidelines for egg donor screening process and selection which helps to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. You can view profiles of our exceptional egg donors in our online Donor Egg Bank.
Choosing the right surrogate mother
In addition to choosing an egg donor, prospective parents have to choose a surrogate and go through legal procedures to set up a contractual agreement. As our team outlined in the blog page about choosing the right surrogate, this process can be the most challenging, yet rewarding of all. Our standards for surrogates are extremely high and we actively seek to work with those women who are committed to be a surrogate mother for gay couples and individuals.
An important decision is choosing the birth location, which typically corresponds to the surrogate’s state of residence. Although California has led the nation in progressive surrogacy laws, other states are now following these precedents. It is important to note that in recent years, U.S. citizen gay fathers using internationally based surrogates have faced issues with the citizenship of their children
Also, while the genetic father will automatically be listed on the birth certificate of the newborn, in some locations the non-genetic father will need to adopt the child in order to be fully considered a legal guardian. Consultation with an attorney expert in surrogacy law is critical to avoid encountering these challenges.
After choosing the biological father(s) and selecting an egg donor and a surrogate, the medical process of egg donation and embryo transfer can begin with the hope of welcoming a child into the world 9 months later!
Learn more about egg donation and surrogacy for gay men
Our in-house team of surrogacy consultants is comprised of women who have been surrogates themselves, some of whom have even been a surrogate mother for a gay couple. They have a long history of helping couples and individuals, LGBTQ+ and straight, become parents. In addition, they have worked with intended parents from across the nation as well as those living abroad. They can help you understand and navigate the process along with any challenges that you might face.
If you have any questions about gay fatherhood, don’t hesitate to contact us or call (310) 566 1470 to speak to our patient coordinator. Read about our options for sperm washing services and more in our blog.