Surrogacy and Different Types of Family Structures in the Gay Community
Thanks to the science behind IVF and the generosity of women willing to become a Gestational Carrier, many people are able to achieve the family they have always dreamed of. When a gay couple or a gay single person (or even a straight single person! Ok, fine, anyone!) decide to use a surrogate, there are a few important things to consider.
Legal Considerations: The laws in the states in which the surrogate lives and who can be on the birth certificate.
When using a gestational carrier, it is important to know the laws of the state in which the gestational carrier lives and will give birth. It is important to know if a Pre-Birth Order can be obtained and for what configuration of family. The Pre-Birth Order establishes which parents can be on the birth certificate. New Mexico is a surrogacy-friendly and LGBTQ surrogacy friendly, so both parents, no matter the gender, can be listed on the birth certificate! There are some states that do not allow two individuals of the same sex to be on the birth certificate. New Mexico also allows for one parent if a single parent want to be the sole parent listed. If you are working with an agency, they should match you with a carrier that lives in an LGBTQ law friendly state. Please make sure that you consult an Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorney to know your parental rights in the state the baby will be born.
Biological Considerations: How do you and your partner decide who the biological parent will be?
It’s possible to decide that neither partner will be the biological parent and use both donated embryos or donated eggs and sperm. Two dads may use a mix of their sperm, leaving the genetics up to a chance. They could also use the genetics of one parent for the first child and then use the genetics of the other parent for a second child…OR, have two embryos, one related to each parent, then transfer both embryos at the same time and hope for twins. [We really love single embryo transfer as it’s far safer for both the gestational carrier and the baby but also respect that some might still choose double embryo transfer.]
Embryo Transfer Considerations: How many embryos should you transfer?
Your biological consideration might be a part of this consideration. It is common, in the LGBTQ surrogacy community to want to transfer more that one embryo. Surrogacy is expensive, and most surrogates only charge $5000 more for a multiple pregnancy, so doing it all at once can be more appealing when it seems like you are getting a deal! BUT, twin pregnancy also comes with higher risks for the babies with the chance of an early birth and NICU or other, much higher, sometimes lifelong, medical cost. There are also risks for the surrogate with a higher chance of bed rest (and these expenses can add up quickly – even if she isn’t employed, childcare costs to help her out can get high!) and needing a c-section. Because of these higher risks, Reproductive Endocrinologists often recommend transferring only one embryo and not all gestational carriers are open to more than one embryo per transfer.