02 Jul 2012 Surrogacy to Help Gay Men Become Parents
84% of same-sex couple households reported having children who are biologically related (www.census.gov). The number of gay couples forming families is on a steady rise from previous years. Assisted reproductive medicine and surrogacy, originally created to help infertile heterosexual couples, are now paving the way for same sex-couples to build families with genetic ties, too. Gay and lesbian couples around the world are finding new hope creating families using ART methods.
Christopher Farley and Victor Self met in 2003 and became the first same-sex couple to legally wed in Rye, New York, in July 2011. While they had said their “I do’s” a few times before, this was the first time they could legally pronounce their relationship. Like many dedicated gay couples, Farley and Self looked forward to raising a child of their own and set their sights on surrogacy to forge a natural family.
“I saw kids in my life, and Chris did too” (www.cnn.com). Surrogacy is not without its challenges. In Farley and Self’s case, the first egg donor became ill, and the first surrogate failed to get pregnant. The couple persevered, and after two years, their beautiful daughter Coco finally arrived to make their family complete.
Gestational surrogacy coupled with egg donation is helping gay couples fulfill a previously impossible dream: genetically related family formation. In the past, alternatives such as adoption were the most common method of family formation for these couples. Today, with the aid of ART technology, gestational surrogacy allows gay couples to donate sperm, conceive using an egg from an anonymous donor, and have the resulting embryo implanted into the surrogate. This way, the surrogate is not genetically linked to the child, and the intended couple can generally establish parentage through a court procedure.
The cost? The cost of having a child through egg donation and gestational surrogacy ranges roughly from $25,000 (in the case of a heterosexual couple requiring a donor only) to $140,000, depending upon the availability of insurance. Costs include payment for legal fees, the donor egg, in vitro fertilization procedure, and financial support for the surrogate (medical and living expenses during the pregnancy). A solid family planning strategy and use of legal counsel are strongly recommended for all gay couples embarking on this journey. Challenges such as finding an egg donor and surrogate, developing a gestational surrogacy agreement, and other numerous details to be ironed out may seem overwhelming—but there is help. Firms such asInternational Fertility Law Group (IFLG) focus exclusively on assisted reproduction and family formation law. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about non-traditional family formation, visit www.iflg.net to take advantage of our legal support and expertise.