How Can Same-Sex Couples Have a Baby?
If you’re a gay or lesbian couple thinking of starting a family via surrogacy, you’ll be happy to know that the process isn’t altogether different for you than for others. With more legislation opening up and giving members of the LGBTQ community the same rights, starting a family shouldn’t be as difficult anymore. Here are everything and more of what you should know concerning the surrogacy process.
1. Surrogacy process for same-sex couples
Surrogacy has been a popular route to starting a family for LGBTQ couples. The process enables the intended parents the opportunity to share a biological link with their children. Lesbian couples who might not be able to carry their own pregnancies can also benefit from surrogacy. The LGBTQ surrogacy process isn’t complex at all and just as in surrogacy for straight couples, there will be an egg donor, a surrogate mother, and the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF). For gay couples, an egg donor will need to be identified; for lesbian couples, they have the option of using their own eggs or finding a donor. Before you start this journey, here are two considerations we would like you to be aware of:
Establish the Genetic Link:
Who will be biologically related to the child between the two of you? Where gay couples are concerned, you have to decide between the two of you whose sperm will be used to fertilize the donor egg. It must be noted that multiple fertilizations by both intended fathers are possible. When this occurs, the fertilized eggs will be transplanted to the surrogate with the hope that both embryos will implant and each father will have a child.
Selection of an anonymous donor:
In cases where it is not always possible to use one’s own sperm or eggs, an anonymous donor might need to step in to help. In this case, you can either choose from a list presented to you by your surrogacy agency or you can identify someone in your own network whom you have a good relationship with. For intended fathers, it is quite possible to have a child who is directly related to one of the parents while being distantly related to the other parent. How is this achieved? By working with a close relative who donates her egg and having this egg fertilized via IVF by the sperm of one of the intended fathers.
2. Things you may be concerned about
Surrogacy is a procedure that’s not altogether legal across the 50 states of the country. For this reason, if you intend to have a child as a same-sex couple in the United States, you must take time to familiarize yourself with the law as it pertains to LGBTQ surrogacy.
Same-sex surrogacy laws:
Understand your respective state laws:
The very first thing you need to find out if you’re a same-sex couple thinking of surrogacy is whether the state you currently live in recognizes surrogacy and it is actually legal there. There are only 10 states that are considered surrogacy-friendly, and these are
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- District of Columbia
The right of recognition:
LGBTQ couples have to jump through more hoops where same-sex pregnancies are concerned. In order to be recognized as the legal parents of your surrogate child and be awarded the associated documentation, such as a birth certificate, you may have to undergo more processing. Before you start the surrogacy process, ensure that this can all be done easily. Ideally, a pre-birth order should be set in place to avoid the messiness that can accompany such situations.
Work with registered surrogacy agencies:
This cannot be emphasized enough. You may read all you can online about same-sex pregnancy, but there are some intricate details you won’t find online that only an experienced surrogacy agency like Joy of Life will be able to help you with.
Pros and cons of surrogacy for same-sex couples
Surrogacy has made it possible for lots of people who desire children and can’t have them for whatever reason to start a family of their own. However, it does come with its own set of unique challenges that must be weighed carefully to see if this really is a path you want to walk. Before you sign the papers, take the time to review these pros and cons.
- Surrogacy affords LGBTQ couples the chance to become parents.
- Surrogacy enables same-sex couples to have children that are genetically linked to them.
- Surrogacy opens a door to new friendships between the intended parents and the surrogate.
- Some surrogates have dedicated themselves to helping same-sex couples become same-sex parents.
- Surrogacy is an extremely expensive procedure and does not always result in successful outcomes.
- Discrimination because of sexual orientation is still high towards same-sex couples who want children via surrogacy.
- Surrogacy is itself a very complex process legally and the intended parents might need to move to more surrogacy-friendly states to achieve their dream of having children.
3. Additional Considerations for Same-Sex Couples
The challenges that may be faced on your journey to becoming same-sex parents have been addressed. However, the list of issues is extensive and we cannot include them all. Thus, we have picked an additional three areas that you should also think about.
Opt for an LGBTQ-friendly surrogacy professional:
Surrogacy agencies are not created equal and do not see couples the same way. The last thing you want is to work with an agency that is discriminatory and causes you to be uncomfortable. Before getting on board with an agency, ask about their previous work with other LGBTQ clients.
Becoming a first-time parent:
No one is born ready to be a parent! It’s a challenge all new parents have to learn how to deal with. As a same-sex couple, there are added factors to consider, such as how you will address the untoward judgment and bias of society. You’ll have to also think about how you will discuss your children’s birth stories with them and at what age, before society feeds them the wrong information.
HIV and the surrogate journey:
If you are a lesbian couple intending to carry your own children but are also HIV positive, it’s key to discuss this aspect with your surrogacy specialist. Your HIV-status does not hinder you from enjoying a healthy pregnancy and giving birth to a healthy child. Thanks to the Special Program of Assisted Reproduction (SPAR), you can still be the happy parents of a healthy surrogate child.
Joy of Life – An experienced surrogacy team
Are you a couple desired to start a family via surrogacy? Our Joy of Life staff members has been in your shoes before at some point. We are either former surrogates ourselves or former intended parents. For this reason, we here at Joy of Life understand the journey like no one else. From the emotional, legal, and financial side of things, we can share this process with you.
Considering surrogacy? Don’t walk alone. Get in touch with one of our friendly members of staff today.