Hatch Fertility Blog

Surrogacy for Gay Couples: A Step-by-Step Guide

Hatch Fertility
Written by Hatch Fertility

Surrogacy has become a beautiful option for gay couples looking to start a family, offering a path to parenthood that was once out of reach. With the increasing acceptance and availability of surrogacy for intended parents in the LGBTQ+ community, same-sex couples now have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams of having children through this meaningful and intricate process. Each step in the process is carefully orchestrated to ensure a smooth and successful journey towards creating a loving and supportive family. In this article we cover everything gay couples need to know when choosing to build the family of their dreams through surrogacy.

Surrogacy Process for Same-Sex Couples

Surrogacy for same-sex couples is a beautiful and intricate journey that involves various parties coming together to create a family. From the intended parents (IPs) to the egg donor, gestational carrier (GC or surrogate), fertility agency, clinic, and OBGYN, each plays a crucial role in the process. The surrogacy process for same-sex couples is a testament to love, dedication, and the power of modern reproductive technology.

Below is an overview of the overall surrogacy process from beginning to end. Understand that every case is unique and that your particular case may include additional steps; the steps below are for the most common paths and include the required steps along the way.

  1. Sign up and consultation
  2. Choosing an egg donor
  3. Matching with a surrogate
  4. Legal preparation
  5. Surrogate pregnancy & legal obligations
  6. Surrogate birth & parenthood

Continue reading for a complete breakdown of what to expect in each step of the surrogacy process as well as additional considerations and financing information.

Sign Up and Consultation

The very first step on the surrogacy journey for gay men is to sign up for an initial consultation. Upon initial consultation, agency specialists will determine your third-party reproduction needs—and explain how your family-building journey can be facilitated from your location. Your agency will likely have intended parent requirements, it is encouraged to review any agency requirements ahead of your initial consultation to determine if your chosen agency is the right fit.

Choose an Egg Donor

Finding the right Egg Donor can be challenging, there are many different databases out there. At Hatch, we are the nation's first egg donor program and are proud to have the largest fresh egg donor database in the United States. All Hatch donor candidates are pre-approved by our in-house IVF specialists. When considering how to find the perfect egg donor, we recommend considering the following essential elements:

  • Age
  • Health history
  • Physical appearance
  • Education
  • Possible donation history

After being matched with an egg donor, the donor will go to her in-person medical screening appointment with the Intended Parent's IVF specialist. The donor screening process is thorough, it can vary depending on different IVF specialists’ requirements. The screening process typically involves a review of the donor's profile and medical records, psychological assessment, genetic risk evaluation, a physical examination including a specific pelvic ultrasound examination of her ovaries, a panel of blood tests including an infectious panel, a genetic carrier screening, and a urine drug screen.

The egg donor needs to pass all the tests in order to be considered as medically cleared to move forward. And then the next step is to sign a legal contract. Once contracts have been signed, it is time to begin the egg retrieval stimulation cycle to create embryos. The egg donor will be given hormonal medications to help her develop-eggs and undergo an egg retrieval procedure. The eggs retrieved are then fertilized in the laboratory to create embryos, and the embryo(s) will be transferred to the surrogate later on.

Anonymous or Known Donation

It is very common to see anonymous egg donation, many donors prefer to maintain an element of privacy. However, there are donors who are open to having a relationship with their intended parents. If this is something you are unsure about, talk with your agency and ask questions to help determine which relationship with the donor you are looking for on this journey. At Hatch, our team is made up of donors, surrogates, and intended parents, and we are happy to offer first-hand insight when needed.

Matching with a Surrogate

One of the most exciting and important steps of the surrogacy process is finding the right match for a surrogate. In the matching process, we look for compatibility using the following criteria:

  • Social fit
  • Medical fit
  • Legal fit
  • Financial fit

At Hatch, we offer free rematching to help families go through this journey with the best possible candidate for them. However, most of our families go with their first match due to our detailed matching process. If the intended parent(s) and their surrogate are interested in moving forward, they may get to know one another better through phone calls, emails, or in-person meetings and may then make the match official. 

Once officially matched with a surrogate, she will go to your IVF clinic for in-person medical screening with the Intended Parent's IVF specialist. The surrogate screening process typically involves a review of pregnancy records, a physical examination which includes a specific pelvic ultrasound examination of her uterus, a panel of blood tests including an infectious panel, and a urine drug screen.

Legal Preparation

Once a surrogate is considered as medically cleared, the surrogate and intended parents will need to start working on a legal contract. It is imperative for both the surrogate and intended parents to understand parental rights during a surrogacy journey. Each party will have its own attorney to ensure that its legal interests are represented and protected. Each party will meet with their attorney individually to review the legal aspects of the surrogacy. Once everyone agrees to the terms and signs the finalized contract, then the embryo transfer process can begin.

Surrogate Pregnancy & Legal Obligations

The surrogate will undergo fertility treatments prior to the embryo transfer and during the early pregnancy. After the embryo transfer, the pregnancy will be confirmed. The surrogate’s pregnancy will be monitored through ultrasounds and blood tests by the IVF specialist either at the IVF doctor’s office or through a monitoring clinic closer to your surrogate’s home until about 10 weeks of pregnancy. 

At 6 weeks of pregnancy, the surrogate will have an ultrasound to check for the growth of the baby and confirm the fetal heartbeat. At 10 weeks of pregnancy, she will be graduating from IVF care to OB care. Our experienced staff at Hatch will help the surrogate to transition to her OB care. The OB doctor will complete the 1st-trimester screening for your surrogate around 12-14 weeks of pregnancy.

Legal Parentage Process

At around 16 weeks of pregnancy, the legal parentage process will be initiated with the same attorneys who assisted with the initial contract. One important step during a surrogate's pregnancy is to establish the intended parents as the baby’s legal parents. This process looks different depending on state surrogacy laws. Attorneys generally begin working on the pre-birth order about seven months into the surrogate’s pregnancy. If a pre-birth order is filed, the only paperwork needed to finalize the surrogacy after birth is a document signed by the surrogate and her partner recognizing that they are not the legal parents of the child, as well as documentation from the intended parents stating that they will accept custody of the child.

In most surrogacy-friendly states, the intended parents can work with their attorney to file a pre-birth order. The pre-birth order essentially expedites the post-birth legal process and allows the baby to be discharged from the hospital to the intended parents.  The requirements to file a pre-birth order vary by state. In general, the intended parents will need to compile the following paperwork:

  • An affidavit from the physician saying that the embryos were in fact transferred to the surrogate.
  • Any social documents prepared for the surrogacy, including evaluations of the intended parents and the surrogate.
  • Paperwork signed by the surrogate family saying that they intended to relinquish any legal rights they have to the child once he or she is born.

Surrogate Birth & Parenthood

Around 20 weeks of pregnancy, the surrogate will have a 20-week fetal anatomy ultrasound and possibly a fetal echocardiogram, which is the ultrasound of the baby’s heart. Your agency will then start assisting with finding a delivery hospital. Most intended parents will plan to be in town two weeks before the estimated due date, so they don’t miss the important moment. It’s typical for the intended parents to be present for the birth, as long as the surrogate is comfortable with this.  

After the long surrogacy process, the birth of the baby is a life-changing event for both the surrogate and the intended parents. The surrogate will typically choose whether or not to pump. The surrogate and new family may wish to maintain a relationship throughout the child’s life. Our compassionate staff at Hatch can help to facilitate this relationship and continue to provide any other support that is needed after the surrogacy.

Other Considerations for Surrogacy as a Gay Couple

When embarking on a surrogacy journey as a gay couple, it's essential to consider additional factors beyond the steps of choosing an egg donor, matching with a surrogate, legal preparations, and the birth process. One crucial aspect to keep in mind is the cost and financing of the entire process. Surrogacy can be a significant financial investment, and it's important to explore financing options, such as loans, or employer insurance coverage, to help cover the expenses. Additionally, selecting the right agency is key to a successful surrogacy journey. Researching and choosing an agency that aligns with your values, offers transparent pricing, and provides support throughout the process can make a world of difference. 

Surrogacy Cost and Financing

The surrogacy journey can cost around $200K on average but it depends on each specific case. Hatch is the only agency in the United States to offer a truly all-inclusive financial package, covering both medical and non-medical expenses, with no surprises. 

The cost of surrogacy is expensive. Consider personalized fertility financial support. Many programs offer free quotes and allow parents to combine all treatment costs into one monthly payment, making surrogacy more accessible than ever before.

Choosing the Right Surrogacy Agency

Choosing the right agency is crucial for a successful surrogacy journey. It's important to weigh the following considerations when determining who is going to help guide you on the path to parenthood:

  • Is the agency LGBTQIA+ friendly?
  • How will your agency work with you to choose an IVF clinic?
  • What is the agency's experience and success rates?
  • What will you be responsible for as an intended parent?

With over 30 years of experience and being known as a surrogate and intended parent powered program, Hatch Fertility stands out as a reliable and trusted agency to guide families through every step of the process. From selecting the perfect egg donor to finding the ideal surrogate match and navigating the legal complexities, Hatch Fertility's all-inclusive financial packages ensure transparency and peace of mind, making the surrogacy journey more accessible for all. 

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