Become a Gay Dad

A Friend Offered to Carry a Baby for My Boyfriend and Me. What Next?

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"My boyfriend and I live in Indiana and are considering gestational surrogacy. We have a dear friend who is perfectly happy to provide the egg, carry the child and turn it over to us. What should be our next step? I've read that we should get an attorney. It seems like it should be straight forward, but I don't know how to get the non-biological father as the legal father."
- Hopeful Hoosier

Dear Hoosier,

Congratulations on taking the first steps toward building your family! And that is an amazing offer from your friend.

Quick note about terminology: A gestational surrogate carries a pregnancy with an embryo created with somebody else's egg (with gay dads, it's usually a donor egg, unless one of the dads is trans); a traditional surrogate carries a pregnancy she conceives with her own egg. Because your friend is going to provide the egg and carry the pregnancy, it sounds like you are considering a traditional surrogacy – and it's important to keep that distinction in mind. Gestational surrogacy is considered less risky because the carrier has less of a claim to parentage of the child, and in most states you can compel her to surrender custody of the child. This is in contrast to a traditional surrogacy, where if the surrogate wants to keep the baby at the end of the pregnancy, you have a major lawsuit on your hands. In that case, you will likely end up co-parenting the child with her for the next 18 years.

There are benefits to traditional surrogacy in that it keeps your costs down because you aren't paying for IVF or an egg donor. Most of my clients who pursue traditional surrogacy accomplish the pregnancy through an alternative insemination, which is less expensive and can be done at home. I usually recommend having a midwife or nurse practitioner assist with the insemination so you have a neutral party who can attest that you didn't conceive the child "the old fashioned way." If you conceive the child through sexual intercourse, a court looking at your arrangement will not view it as a surrogacy, but rather a child conceived by two unmarried people, potentially complicating matters.

I also recommend working with a lawyer to draft an agreement between you and your boyfriend and your friend. The agreement will discuss how you plan to achieve the pregnancy, medical testing you've done, who will make decisions regarding terminating a pregnancy if the fetus isn't viable, your financial obligations to her, and how you'll establish legal parentage. You and your boyfriend should have a lawyer, and your friend should have her own lawyer. Even if the agreement isn't enforceable (more on that in a minute), it's helpful as a roadmap and establishes your expectations.

In addition to having an agreement drawn up, I suggest meeting with a counselor or therapist to talk through how you will resolve conflicts and disagreements, if any arise, and work through how you plan to deal with uncomfortable decisions like terminating a pregnancy. Some parents may find that they would, for instance, ask her to terminate a pregnancy if tests show the child may have Down Syndrome, but she may not feel comfortable with that. My clients who have had that consult found it really helpful. It's worth the few hundred dollars to make sure you're on the same page.

My first check for general information about surrogacy in a state where I don't practice, is this really great resource: http://surrogacymap.com. (Lawyers in all 50 states contribute to the map and it is updated regularly.) In Indiana, traditional and gestational surrogacy agreements are considered void and unenforceable, but surrogacy is not considered a crime (unlike my home state of New York). You can still move forward with your plans, but be aware that if the arrangement falls apart, you probably cannot compel her to surrender custody of the baby.

Per Indiana experts, you cannot get a pre-birth order naming both dads as legal parents in a traditional surrogacy. The non-biological dad has to adopt the child. I'll add that if your friend is married, her husband (or wife) is automatically presumed to be the other legal parent of the child. The biological dad in your family will have to file a paternity petition to be recognized as a legal parent, and then non-bio dad can adopt. And check to make sure that Indiana allows unmarried couples to adopt a partner's child. Some states only allow married couples to adopt jointly.

Planning a two-dad family is never quite as straight forward as it seems and traditional surrogacy is less supported by the law than gestational surrogacy. That said, my discussion of your situation would be the same if you were a heterosexual married couple.

Good luck – and I look forward to seeing your family on this site in the future!

Have a question you've been dying to ask? No topic is off limits, and you may ask your question anonymously or publicly. Send an email with your question to dads@gayswithkids.com with "Ask An Expert" in the subject line.

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Researching surrogacy but feel like it's all Ancient Greek to you? You're not alone! The surrogacy process is filled with jargon, so we've started this surrogacy glossary of commonly used terms every gay dad should know as he embarks on the surrogacy journey.
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Become a Gay Dad

Jewish Agency to Help Cover the Costs of Surrogacy for Gay Couples

Isaac Herzog, of the Jewish Agency's Chairman of the Executive, has made it a priority to support employees family-planning journeys, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

According to an article in the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Agency for Israel is about to become first state organization to provide financial assistance to gay employees seeking child surrogacy services overseas. The move is intended to help offset the high costs associated with conducting surrogacy abroad.

The move to do so was led by Isaac Herzog, the Jewish Agency's Chairman of the Executive, who has made it a priority to support employees family-planning journeys, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The decision will apply to the agency's roughly 1,250 employees. The loans can be used to help cover the costs of necessary medical procedures before surrogacy, and for the process of surrogacy itself, the article notes.

Last year, in a controversial move, the Israeli government expanded the ability of single women to access surrogacy services in the country, but excluded single men and gay couples from the policy.

Herzog said the following in announcing the new initiative:

"We are also making a symbolic statement, because it reflects the egalitarian stance of a large organization that is recognizing the right of every man or woman to actualize their wish to be parents and to raise a family, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. The Jewish Agency is one big family, and all its members are equal."

Gay Dad Life

Why Date Night Is So Important

When you're a parent, time alone with your significant other isn't a luxury — it's a necessity.

Even before the morning sunlight — and my eyelids — have lifted, I'm reminded that I'm somebody's father. It's usually around 5:40am when my 8-year old son Maxwell pokes his head into our room shouting "cock-a-doodle-doo" at the top of his lungs. He's usually wearing an adorably comfy onesie, a look he thankfully refuses to retire. His rooster call is followed up with strict demands in quick succession:

"Warm milk!"

"Turn on the lights."

"Where's your phone?"

"Put on Nick Jr."

"Feed me yogurt while I play Fortnite!" (Note: we don't… well… anymore.)

This Groundhog Day routine follows us as we pick out his clothes for the day —"Comfy camouflage t-shirt and sweat pants!" he insists (shoot me now). We then make him breakfast, prepare his packed lunch and then make sure his completed homework is in his schoolbag.

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Fun

Gay Dad Penguins Strike Again! This Time in Berlin Zoo

The latest male penguins to care for an egg together are Skipper and Ping in the Berlin Zoo.

First, there was Roy and Silo — the two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo that served as inspiration for the famous children's book And Tango Makes Three. Then Magin Sphen got together in Sydney, where aquarium keepers gave the cocks (Calm down, that's what a male penguin is called!) a foster egg to care for.

And now, please welcome Skipper and Ping in Berlin to the latest list of gay dad penguins! As soon as the two emperor penguins arrived at the city's zoo, they set about trying to start a family, said Berlin Zoo spokesman Maximilian Jaege to DPA news.

"They kept trying to hatch fish and stones," Jaeger said.

So the zookeepers loaned the penguins an egg from a female penguin, who is apparently uninterested in hatching eggs on her own, according to the BBC.

Unsurprisingly, the gay penguins are killing it as parents. "The two male penguins are acting like exemplary parents, taking turns to warm the egg," Jaeger said,

Read the whole article on DPA here.

Change the World

Hungarian Company Raising Money for LGBTQ+ Organization with a LEGO® Heart

Startup WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is helping combat misinformation and prejudice in Central and Eastern Europe

Guest Post from WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD

WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is an innovative startup venture that sells LEGO® parts and unique creations. The core values of our company include social equality regardless of gender identity or origin. As LEGO® is a variety of colors and shapes, so are the people.

We all know that LEGO® is a brand that nearly everyone knows and likes between the age of 3 and 99 so this gives a great opportunity to connect unique LEGO® creations and Pride. We started a fundraising campaign for a Hungarian LGBTQ+ organization who's aim is to bring people closer to the LGBTQ+ community, they help to combat misinformation and prejudice regarding LGBTQ+ issues in Central- Eastern Europe since 2000.

You might know that gender equality and the circumstances of LGBTQ+ people is not the easiest in the former communist Eastern European countries like Hungary so this program is in a real need for help. For example a couple of month ago a member of the government said that homosexual people are not equal part of our society.

The essence of the campaign is when one buys a Pride Heart, a custom creation made of brand new and genuine LEGO® bricks the organization gets $10.00 donation so they can continue their important work. This Pride Heart is a nice necklace, a decoration in your home, and a cool gift to the one you love.

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Entertainment

Single Gay Dad Featured on Season Three of GLOW

Actor Kevin Cahoon joins the Gorgeous Ladies of Wresting in Vegas as a single gay dad — and drag queen — on Season Three of the hit Netflix show

For a couple of years now, Hollywood has been obsessed with gay dad characters (and who can blame them?) But the latest show to get hip to a story line featuring gay man raising kids is Netflix's GLOW, which explores a female wresting troop in the late 1980s.

But GLOW is helping represent a gay character that rarely gets time in the limelight:the single gay dad. In Season three of the hit comedy — which stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and Marc Maron — actor Kevin Cahoon joins the case as Bobby Barnes, a single gay father who plays a female impersonator. (80s divas only, of course — Joan Collins and Babs among them)


"I've never done female impersonation," the openly gay actor told OutSmart Magazine, "so I tried to learn really quick. You will know them all; I was very familiar with all of them. There were plenty of talk shows and performances on YouTube to study. I learned that their breathing was very informative."

A single gay dad AND drag queen on television? It's about damn time if you ask us.

Read the full interview with Cahoon here.

Politics

Utah Court Rules Gay Couples Can't Be Excluded From Surrogacy Contracts

The Utah Supreme Court found in favor of a gay couple attempting to enter into a surrogacy contract.

DRAKE BUSATH/ UTCOURTS.GOV

Earlier this month, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that a same-sex couples can't be excluded from entering into enforceable surrogacy contracts, and sent a case concerning a gay male couple back to trial court to approve their petition for a surrogacy arrangement.

As reported in Gay City News, the case concerns Utah's 2005 law on surrogacy, which was enacted prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state. As a result, the content of the law is gendered, saying that surrogacy contracts should only be enforceable if the "intended mother" is unable to bear a child. When a gay couple approached District Judge Jeffrey C. Wilcox to enter into a surrogacy arrangement, he denied them, arguing that the state's law only concerned opposite sex couples.

"This opinion is an important contribution to the growing body of cases adopting a broad construction of the precedent created by Obergefell v. Hodges and the Supreme Court's subsequent decision in Pavan v. Smith," according to GCN. "It's also worth noting that same-sex couples in Utah now enjoy a right denied them here in New York, where compensated gestational surrogacy contracts remain illegal for all couples."

Read the full article here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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