LGBT Surrogacy: Helping Same-Sex Couples Expand Their Families
Same-sex couples have several options to consider when thinking of growing their families, including adoption, fostering, and surrogacy. But only surrogacy gives them the chance to have a genetic connection with their children.
Although LGBT people go through nearly the same surrogacy process as any other intended parent, there are many unique aspects you need to understand before getting started. In this article, we’ll discuss how LGBT surrogacy works and some important things you need to know when looking to have a baby via surrogacy.
Surrogacy in a Nutshell
Surrogacy is a process whereby a woman (known as the surrogate) agrees to conceive and carry a baby for another couple or individual who cannot do so on their own. There are two types of surrogacy: (i) traditional surrogacy and (ii) gestational surrogacy.
In traditional surrogacy, the pregnancy carrier is also the biological mother of the child. Because of this, the surrogate often becomes attached to the baby and may want to keep the child for herself, resulting in a legal battle.
However, in gestational surrogacy, the eggs used to create the embryos come from either the intended mother or an egg donor. Therefore, the surrogate mother is not biologically related to the child she carries in her womb.
Today, gestational surrogacy is the most preferred form of surrogacy, as it is less legally and emotionally complicated for the parties involved.
LGBT Surrogacy Process
The surrogacy process can seem daunting for same-sex partners, singles, and transgender people looking to have children. So, it’s best to work with an agency to easily navigate the process and bring a new baby into your family.
Here are the steps you can expect to take during your surrogacy journey as an LGBT parent:
Your surrogacy process will start with a one-on-one consultation with a fertility expert. During this consultation, he or she will ask some personal questions to be sure that you are emotionally and financially ready for the surrogacy journey.
The doctor will also explain the entire process, provide a quote of the potential costs, and advise you on the best financing options to consider (if necessary).
- Finding your egg donor or sperm provider
If you are a same-sex male couple, you will then begin to look for an egg donor. Similarly, lesbian partners will also need to search for someone who will provide sperm that will be used to make the baby. You can search for an egg donor/sperm donor through an agency or ask someone that you know to donate for you. Another option you can consider is to use frozen eggs or frozen sperm from an egg bank or sperm bank, respectively.
- Egg Donor Screening
If you are a gay male couple, your chosen egg donor will have to undergo a strict screening process to ensure that she does not have any medical or genetic diseases that can be transferred to the child. This will include blood work, physical examinations, and a pelvic ultrasound. After this, your donor will undergo an egg retrieval cycle to collect her eggs.
Same-sex female partners will also need to decide which of them is going to provide the eggs. The chosen partner will also undergo the same screening process to ensure that she’s healthy and that her eggs could result in a pregnancy.
- Egg Fertilization and Embryo Culture
Once the eggs are collected or thawed (if you’re using frozen donor eggs), they are going to be “mixed” with sperm to form embryos. The fertilized eggs (now called embryos) will then be cultured in the IVF lab for about 3 to 5 days and frozen before they are transferred. At this stage, you can have genetic testing done on the embryos to check for chromosomal abnormalities or to determine their gender (if you want).
- Finding your surrogate
The next step is to look for a gestational surrogate who will carry your baby until delivery. You may search for a surrogate yourself (through advertisements or personal networking) or work with a surrogacy agency to find a suitable match. The surrogate will also have to complete a thorough medical and medical screening to be sure that she is physically, mentally, and medically fit to go on a surrogacy journey.
- Completion of Surrogacy Contract
Once you find your ideal surrogate, you will be required to sign a legal contract with the gestational carrier. This contract will state the roles and obligations of each party during the surrogacy arrangement. It is recommended that you and your surrogate have separate legal representation to ensure that your rights are fully protected during the surrogacy journey.
- Preparation for embryo transfer
Before embryo transfer, your surrogate will be asked to take medications to prepare her womb for pregnancy. The fertility clinic will then schedule a date when the embryo will be transferred. The physician will thaw the frozen embryos and deposit them into the surrogate mother’s womb using a small flexible tool known as the catheter.
- Pregnancy monitoring and Childbirth
Two weeks after the transfer, your surrogate will conduct a blood test to determine whether she has become pregnant. If the result is positive, she will have an ultrasound a few weeks later to check the fetal heartbeat. Your fertility clinic will monitor the gestational carrier to ensure that she is in good physical and mental health during the pregnancy period.
The surrogacy attorney at the clinic can help you get a pre-birth or post-birth order to establish the parentage of the baby. Once the surrogate gives birth, she will hand over the child to you, and you will return home with your new bundle of joy.
The Cost of LGBTQ surrogacy
Gestational surrogacy can be costly. As a same-sex parent, you can expect your surrogacy in the United States to cost between $110,000 and $ 170,000. The actual amount will depend on a number of factors, including the surrogate mother’s state, the number of IVF cycles required, the type of donor eggs used, and the surrogacy agency you choose to work with.
The expensive cost of surrogacy can make it out of reach for many LGBTQ people looking to have children. Fortunately, there are several financing options that can enable you to pay for your surrogacy journey. Same-sex male partners can also lower the surrogacy costs by using frozen donor eggs or completing an altruistic surrogacy. In this case, the surrogate does not get paid for her services, reducing the financial burden on the prospective parents.
Surrogacy Laws for Same-Sex Couples
In most US states, the same laws apply to both same-sex parents and heterosexual couples looking to have children through surrogacy. However, the regulations regarding LGBTQ surrogacy are friendlier in some states than others. American states with the most favorable surrogacy laws for same-sex couples include California, New Hampshire, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Washington, Maine, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Vermont, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Texas.
Same-sex parents may need to jump through more hoops than heterosexual couples to be declared the legal parent of their child and have their names written on the baby’s birth certificate. This can be achieved through a pre-birth order, an adoption, a step-parent, or a second-parent adoption.
Navigating the legal aspects of same-sex surrogacy can be daunting. So, it is best to work with an experienced surrogacy professional to make sure that you fully understand the surrogacy laws in your state before starting the process.
Other Considerations for LGBTQ+ Parents
There are several other things same-sex partners need to think about when considering building a family through surrogacy.
Choosing an LGBT-friendly professional – Not all agencies are very welcoming to members of the LGBTQ+ pursuing surrogacy. So, it is crucial to work with a surrogacy professional that is experienced in helping same-sex partners complete their surrogacies. Ask potential agencies about their history working with LGBTQ people and determine whether they offer counseling and support specifically for those undergoing same-sex surrogacy.
Parenting Challenges – Welcoming a newborn baby into your family will open up a new chapter in your life. Although parenting is a wonderful experience, same-same parents face the risk of discrimination. While it is true that society has begun to accept diverse family types in recent years, some people are still unfriendly toward non-traditional families. LGBT parents may also find it difficult to share their baby’s birth story. So, you may need to go for counseling after your surrogacy journey to help you deal with the parenting challenges.
Surrogacy is an excellent option for LGBTQ people who want to grow their families. It allows people in a same-sex relationship to realize their parenthood dreams while sharing a genetic link with their children. However, surrogacy is a complicated process with many legal and medical steps. So, it’s best to work with an LGBT-friendly agency to help you navigate the journey and ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
Physician’s Surrogacy specializes in catering services to single parents and LGBTQ+ couples. To learn more about LGBT Surrogacy simply get in touch with us through complimentary consultation or chat option.Schedule A Consultation