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The path to LGBTQ+ parenting for same-sex couples

February 10, 2021

With modern assisted reproductive technologies, members of the LGBTQ+ community can finally make their dreams of starting a family come true. In fact, same-sex parenting is on the rise thanks to fertility services such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy and artificial insemination (or IUI)

Members of the LGBTQ+ community can even have their own biological children. So if you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community and are looking to start a family, look no further. Together, we’ll explore your options to set your family planning up for success.

Gay parenting is on the rise

While once difficult to imagine, couples and individuals within the LGBTQ+ community can now bring their biological children into the world. Advancements in assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have opened up the possibility of biological children for members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

In fact, research has shown that there are many benefits of same-sex parenting, from raising children in a more tolerant environment to developing skills to deal with adversity. 

There are over 23 million families with opposite-sex parents and 547,000 families with same-sex parents. Of these opposite-sex parents, 94% have biological children, whereas 17% of same-sex couples are raising biological, step or adopted children. Among female couples, that increases to 24%, whereas only 10% of male couples are raising children. 

And as the legal and social climate has become more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, many advances in assisted reproductive technology (like IVF) will continue to drive the rise of same-sex parents with biological children.

The path to parenthood as gay IPs 

As an intended parent within a same-sex relationship, you likely feel a range of emotions at the thought of trying to have a biological baby. You may be filled with excitement and joy over the idea of finally being able to welcome your new family member, or you may feel stress over complications of third-party IVF and worries about your surrogate’s wellbeing. 

These are all common worries, regardless of familial structure or parenting type, and it just means you’re going to be an amazing parent. However, although many same-sex parents will need both an egg donor and a surrogate to conceive their child, almost all gay parents attest to the emotional rewards that greatly overshadow any hardships throughout this journey. 

The key to success? A compassionate, knowledgeable egg donor and surrogate agency (and fertility clinic) to guide you throughout this life-changing process.

IVF and surrogacy for gay couples 

There are two types of surrogacy: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. 

Traditional surrogacy, which isn’t usually supported by surrogacy agencies, takes place when a woman is artificially inseminated with the intended father’s sperm (or sperm from a donor) to become pregnant with her own eggs. Because traditional surrogacy doesn’t involve IVF, the surrogate shares a biological connection with the baby. 

Gestational surrogacy, on the other hand, is a more popular path toward parenthood for gay couples and surrogacy agencies alike. Gestational surrogacy allows LGBTQ+ individuals and couples to have their own biological children through IVF, a process that requires medical and legal expertise, as well as comprehensive emotional support throughout the journey. 

Through IVF, embryos are created with one or both of the intended parents' sperm, and sometimes donated eggs from your hand-selected donor. Once the egg and sperm have been fertilized to form embryos, your fertility clinic will  coordinate your gestational carrier’s cycle to prepare her body for the embryo transfer. 

If the transfer is successful, the embryo(s) will attach to the wall of the gestational carrier and she’ll be pregnant! If the embryo transfer is not successful, don’t fear -- this is why fertility clinics retrieve multiple eggs from your donor,  so your gestational carrier  can simply undergo another embryo transfer when her body is ready. This may add a few months onto your path to parenthood, but your surrogacy agency will be with you every step of the way.

Preparing for LGBTQ+ surrogacy laws and regulations 

Surrogacy law is complex, and varies from one state to another. Your surrogacy agency will connect you with a lawyer experienced in LGBTQ+ parenting laws. At Hatch, your intended parents coordinator will connect you with experienced legal counsel to guide you throughout this process. 

Location matters when it comes to selecting your surrogate for this reason. And while surrogacy for heterosexual intended parents and gay intended parents is similar, you still need to understand your parental rights, the surrogacy laws where your surrogate lives, and the surrogacy laws in your own state or country. 

As an intended parent going through surrogacy, there are a few different legal procedures to prepare for: 

  1. The surrogacy contract. This will entail all details of finances and compensation, social  and medical requirements, and responsibilities of you and your surrogate throughout the IVF cycle and pregnancy. 
  2. Your pre-birth order (PBO). A court proceeding that establishes parental rights to the intended parents before the surrogate gives birth. Pre-birth orders are only available in certain states. For intended parents in other states, it may be possible to obtain a post-birth order. 
  3. Second-parent adoption. In states where you can’t obtain a pre- or post-birth order, we recommend that you obtain a second-parent adoption to attain nation-wide recognition that your child is legally both yours and your partners.

How to pick your egg donation and surrogacy agency

Hatch Egg Donation and Surrogacy has supported the LGBTQ+ community on their path to parenthood for over 30 years with joy and love throughout every step of the way. Surrogacy and egg donation is an involved process requiring care, expertise, and attention to detail. Because of this, we always recommend using a surrogacy and egg donation agency to best mitigate risks and potential conflicts along your journey. 

By partnering with a surrogacy and egg donation agency, you’ll be in experienced, competent hands that manage the details of your journey for you -- all so it can become the life-fulfilling, emotionally rewarding experience it was meant to be. 

As you’re evaluating and picking the right egg donation and surrogacy agency for your future family, we like to recommend intended parents within the LGBTQ+ community consider the following: 

Familiarity with same-sex parenting laws. 

At Hatch, your legal representation will be an accomplished lawyer to make sure that your parental rights with a surrogate are affirmed and safeguarded. Whether you need a pre or post birth order, or second-parent adoption any and all of your legal needs will be included as part of your journey to parenthood. 

Your surrogate (and egg donor) will also receive their own legal representation, and your lawyers will work together to make sure that you all feel protected and prepared for your journey together.

Level of care and support throughout your journey 

Your egg donation and surrogacy agency should provide you with comprehensive, compassionate care along your journey. At Hatch, you’ll have a dedicated intended parent coordinator to oversee all other details of surrogacy and egg donation, support you with expert guidance, referrals to appropriate third parties with surrogacy expertise, and  provide the emotional support you may need during this time. 

Many of our staff have been surrogates themselves, and we’re here to make this the most rewarding, unforgettable experience of your life. At Hatch, you’ll  have a dedicated team of coordinators for your journey. And at our sister fertility clinic, Pacific Fertility Center of Los Angeles, you’ll have your own dedicated clinical care coordination team and fertility doctor to perform the egg retrieval, fertilization, transfer and monitoring.   

Access screened and vetted donors

Using an independent surrogate is risky and stressful, and one of the main benefits of using a surrogacy agency is the peace of mind and assurance that you’re matching with the most qualified candidates who have been appropriately screened. Hatch’s egg donation and surrogacy programs only accept the top 5% of applicants nationwide, and we’re one of the few agencies to medically pre-qualify our egg donors. 

It’s important to understand and get to know your potential surrogate face-to-face, and feel confident in your agency and clinic’s screening protocols, to make sure that the journey you’ll embark on together will be healthy and happy for everyone involved. Surrogate and egg donor requirements are there to safeguard everyone, so going ‘independent’ to save financially or work with a specific candidate privately can actually do more harm than good. 

When it comes to the women that will help you create and carry your future baby, it’s not worth cutting corners. 

Embark on your path toward parenthood 

There are many decisions to make as gay intended parents, and it’s completely normal to have questions, concerns and doubts. But as times and technologies change, gay parenting is becoming more and more accessible for whomever desires it. 

At Hatch, we’ll be here for you every step of this exciting time in your life. Our surrogate and egg donor candidates are among the top 5% in the country, and we have one of the most comprehensive screening processes that has withstood the test of time. We’ll do everything in our power to give you and the women who help you along on your journey the most enjoyable, rewarding process of your lives. 

To get in contact with a surrogacy and egg donation specialist at Hatch, contact us. We look forward to connecting with you.

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