Surrogacy for the Gay Man
Surrogacy has been in the news recently as a way for gay couples and singles to build their families.
In all cases when a surrogate is required, the surrogate is providing an essential piece of the complex puzzle of how a baby is created. Both straight and gay intended parents are thrilled and grateful for the surrogate. But most men have not had to give up their dream of carrying their child in their own uterus. The men involved in building this family now have the opportunity to become parents, a dream they may never had hoped to realize in decades past. There is rarely any underlying jealousy as there can be between an intended mother and a surrogate. In fact, the surrogate often has the opportunity to feel even more special since she is the center of attention and doesn't have to share it with the intended mother. In fact, there are many gestational carriers (surrogates) who prefer working with gay couples.
There are three key ingredients that you must have to make a baby via surrogacy:
- Sperm donor
- Egg donor
The following link will give you the basics for choosing a surrogate: http://donorconcierge.com/ surrogacy-blog/surrogacy-101. I will address choosing an egg donor and/or sperm donor in a future post.
Other aspects that are important when building your family through surrogacy are a reproductive endocrinologist (RE), insurance and legal counsel. You will need to find a reproductive endocrinologist to work with who will make this baby cocktail work. Your RE will first run tests on you to make sure the sperm is viable. The RE examines both your surrogate and your egg donor also to make sure they too are viable. For more detail go to: http://donorconcierge.com/surrogacy-blog/how-does-surrogacy-work.
You will also need to choose an OBGYN physician which, in most cases, may be the physician that your surrogate used to deliver her own children. The physician must be board certified and have privileges at a level two neonatal intensive care unit hospital where your child will be born. Your surrogate and her husband or partner will also need to be psychologically evaluated to make sure they are stable. A credit and criminal background check is also done to make sure the surrogate and her spouse are sound in every respect.
It is vital to cover the surrogate with both health and life insurance. Life insurance is important because having a child is still dangerous and, if something should happen, the surrogate’s family will need to be compensated. It is rare that a surrogate dies but it is very important to plan for the worst.
When it comes to health insurance, I strongly recommend Lloyds of London since it is the only insurance program that has been developed specifically to cover surrogacy. It is always a gamble to hope that the surrogate’s health insurance will cover pregnancy via surrogacy. More and more insurance companies are changing their policies to exclude surrogacy. Therefore, it better to pay a bit more for health insurance to avoid even the slightest chance of insurance fraud.
You need to work with an attorney who specializes in fertility law. Don't think that because you are an attorney or your friend is an attorney that you can review the legal issues yourself. Fertility law is a unique area of law and everyone involved needs to have the contracts reviewed. You will also pay for the attorneys who will review the contract with your egg donor and your surrogate. You will have a separate attorney who will review the contract with you and advise you regarding pre-birth orders or adoption procedures depending on the state where your child will be born.
Throughout the process, it is important to build a relationship with your surrogate. You should plan to talk to your surrogate once a week by phone and, whenever possible, attend medical appointments with her. You want to be supportive of her and her family but not overbearing. You should never discuss money matters with her; that should all be handled by your agency as it can cause friction between you and your surrogate.
Once the baby is born you may want to keep your surrogate in the loop with little updates on how you are doing. In my experience, this communication usually tapers off over time to an exchange of holiday cards and an occasional picture. You will know what feels right as your child grows and based on the relationship you have shared with your surrogate throughout the pregnancy.