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Before Gay Men Choose Surrogacy Through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

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Before Gay Men Choose Surrogacy Through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Ready to start a family? Along with adoption and fostering, surrogacy is a way gay, lesbian, and same-sex couples can expand their families.

Surrogacy or Adoption?
Through adoption couples can extend their family by providing a home for a child in need. However, surrogacy by in-vitro fertilization (IVF) offers couples the chance to have a biological child.

How In Vitro Fertilization Works
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the joining of a woman's egg and a mans sperm in a laboratory dish. In vitro means outside the body. Fertilization means the sperm and egg have joined. (More on In Vitro Fertilization)

Types of Surrogacy Through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
There are two different types of surrogacy:
  1. Traditional
    surrogacy is where a surrogate mother is artificially inseminated by one of the two gay men or a donor. The sperm sample is collected either through masturbation or by removing it from the scrotum. The mother is given fertility treatments at least two weeks before insemination.

  2. Gestational surrogacy is where the egg is removed from the surrogate mother, fertilized by one of the gay couple or a donor, and then implanted into the intended mother.

Egg Donors
Some couples solicit egg donors (from family, friends or anonymously) and then find a surrogate to carry the embryo. Others arrange for the surrogate to donate the eggs as well. In Massachusetts, the donor and surrogate must be two different women.

Biological Connections
Some partners both want a biological connection to the child(ren). In this case, some clinics are able to combine the sperm of each partner with separate batches of the donors eggs. The possible result: Twins- each with the same biological mother, but separate dads. If the process does not take, a DNA test will be needed to determine which donor is the father. Partners can also maintain a biological connection by choosing a relative as a surrogate mother. One partner would donate his sperm to fertilize the eggs of the other partner's relative.

Surrogacy Costs
Surrogacy costs vary depending on the selection of fertility clinics, surrogacy clinics (if couples choose so), insurance options, and other expenses and fees. Prices can be as low as $15,000 (with no surrogacy fee and insurance coverage) according to Surrogatemothers.com to upwards of $150,000 as reported by Growing Generations, a LGBT-focused fertility clinic. Surrogacy fees can include rates to carry the egg (more for twins), legal bills, medical bills, fertility drugs, advertising, counseling and even a maternity clothing allowance.

Legal Considerations
Couples considering surrogacy should retain an attorney to draft surrogate/egg donor agreements and advice on other protections throughout the process.

Counseling
Intended parents should also seek couples counseling to make sure both partners are ready for parenthood. It's often easier to discuss gay parenting with a gay-affirmative therapist.

Is Gay Parenting Healthy?
Some claim a child raised by two dads or two moms is unhealthy. However, this perception is unsubstantiated. In fact, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the leading voice in reproductive medicine, found no "persuasive evidence that children raised by single parents or by gays or lesbians are harmed or disadvantaged by that fact alone, the Committee concluded that clinics have an ethical obligation to treat all requests for assisted reproduction equally, without regard to marital status or sexual orientation."

ASRM's recommendation continues, "The Committee found that the ethical duty to treat persons with equal respect requires that fertility programs treat single persons and gay and lesbian couples equally with married couples in determining which services to provide. Only the same factors which would disqualify married or heterosexual couples from receiving services, such as serious doubt about whether they will be fit or responsible child rearers, or the fact that the clinic doesn't offer anyone a particular service, would justify denying treatment to homosexuals and single people.

Steven Ory, MD, President of ASRM remarked, 'Children thrive in families where they are loved and cared for; and happy families don't need to conform to any one model. This report from the Ethics Committee emphasizes how important it is for all people to have equal access to the help they need to have children.'"
(The Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Access to fertility treatment by gays, lesbians, and unmarried persons, Fertility and Sterility, Volume 86, Number 5, November 2006.)

Support for Kids With Gay Parents
The is a national organization called COLAGE that supports children and adults with LGBT parents. The San Francisco-based organization provides resources, empowerment and support activities such as youth leadership and activism programs, pen pal programs, training for professionals in education, and media training.
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