Gay Dad Life

Birth Plan

It is Sunday, October 4. With the smell of pumpkin spice lattes and warm apple cider in the air, my husband Dom and I have found ourselves in a coffee shop, awaiting a couple of very important ladies. We are nervous, we are anxious, we are excited. And then, with a whisper of autumn wind at her back, in walks the birth mother of our daughter. And inside that swollen tummy of hers, the baby. We are, for the first time, in the same room as our daughter.

This meeting has happened at the request of the birth mother, who we will refer to moving forward as Bio Mom, because who doesn't love a nickname? Bio Mom felt comfortable with us after weeks of texting and phone calls, to request a casual in-person meeting with us. The conversation is light, comfortable. We are feeling each other out, learning how we'll speak to one another. I am too polite, laughing too hard, feeling too much, nodding my head with the furious shakings of a teenager at his first rave.

But it goes well. She is feeling good. There is heartburn, there is near-constant peeing, but the pregnancy is moving comfortably towards its conclusion in the coming weeks. We all have our eyes on a calendar in our heads, awaiting both the beginning and end of an incredible story. And so we discuss her hospital birth plan.

As I mentioned in a previous piece, when a woman is going to deliver a child, she fills out a hospital plan, making her wishes about the process very clear to the hospital. It's an incredibly well thought-out document, covering nearly every imaginable scenario in advance. This is done so that there is no duress or decision-making that a birth mother needs to do while in the throes of labor.

I'd like to walk you through the document, to help paint a clearer picture of what the process is like for a birth mother in an adoption, because hers is, in some ways, the biggest piece of the puzzle. I'll work through the questions on the form, and where it makes sense, give you the answers our own birth mother has provided.

There is the essential form information, name, address, insurance provider, and the like. The first choice the birth mother is given is how she'd like to communicate once the birthing process has begun. The question is:

When will you text/call the agency counselor?


  • When I am in labor.
  • When I have delivered.
  • I will telephone/text the adopting parent(s) regarding labor and delivery.
  • I prefer that the agency contact the adoptive parents.
  • The next question is important. It asks the birth mother her preferences regarding the presence of the adopting parents during the birthing process. Her options include:

  • The adopting parents will wait at home until I call to have them come to the hospital.
  • Wait in the waiting room while the child is being born.
  • Be at the birth as an observer only.
  • Be at the birth of the child as a birth coach or in a similar close relationship.
  • Okay, the baby is being delivered via c-section, and neither Dom nor I need to be anywhere near that nightmare. To better understand the process our birth mother is experiencing, one day I decided to research the actual caesarian section process. I made it as far as “The physician will then physically use his hands to separate her abdominal muscles" before I thought I was going to vomit on my keyboard. Sorry Bio Mom, we'll let there be some magic in the process.

    Back to the plan. Bio Mom has requested that we be in the waiting room while the child is being born. FINE with us, absolutely. It's important to me and Dom that Bio Mom have a support system in the room with her, who can make her feel comfortable and safe while she's delivering. If I were in the room, I'd be hopping from foot to foot like Yosemite Sam just yelling “The BABY! Is it the BABY now? Where's the BABY?" And when they pull the baby out, I know for a fact that I'd be throwing both hands into the air and chanting “YES! YES! YES!" like WWE's Daniel Bryan.

    Bio Mom then gets to make some choices about which support people she would like in the room with her during labor and then delivery, whether it's the birth father or someone else.

    After the actual birth takes place, the next question is important. It is phrased this way:

    Immediately following the birth, my wishes for contact with the baby and the adopting parent(s) are:

  • I would like to be the first to hold the baby.
  • I will allow someone else to be first to hold the baby.
  • I would like to spend time together with the baby and the adopting parents.
  • I prefer no immediate contact with the baby.
  • I prefer no immediate contact with the adopting parents.
  • Other.
  • Bio Mom has made the generous decision to allow me and Dom to be the first to hold the baby. In our conversations with her on the phone and in person, she has reiterated that she wants us to be the first person the baby sees when she opens her eyes. That is incredibly generous and kind. However, the hospital will only be giving out one additional band, so it will either have to be Dom or myself in the nursery. We each can only find compelling reasons why it should be the other person, and not ourselves. We're too smart for our own good, sometimes.

    Next question.

    During the hospital stay, I would like:

  • To room on the obstetrics unit and to have “rooming in" with the baby in my room whenever possible.
  • To room on the obstetrics unit and to have the baby brought to my room upon my request.
  • To room on the obstetrics unit, but to go to the nursery when or if contact is desired.
  • To room in a non-maternity unit if possible. (This does not rule out visits to the nursery.)
  • That's got to be difficult, to be a mother placing your child for adoption, but to be on a maternity floor where you are constantly hearing people “oooo" and “ahhhh" about newborn children, and to hear those babies crying. I can't imagine the mixed bag of emotions a birth mother might feel, our Bio Mom included, when considering this question. But this is a really crucial question, because once she is physically recovering, the emotional wellbeing of the woman should be of paramount importance. It's something we had not considered during the process, where Bio Mom would be recovering post-delivery.

    A birth mother then gets to choose her interest in the level of care-taking, in this way:

    In terms of taking care of the baby during the hospital stay (feeding, changing, etc.):

  • I will initiate caretaking and will seek out the adopting parent(s) when/if I am ready to share or pass on the caretaking.
  • The adoptive parent(s) will be the primary caretakers immediately from birth.
  • Perhaps not surprisingly, Bio Mom has indicated that she feels it is important for us to bond with the baby right away, and she would like Dom and me to be the first ones to interact with the baby; this includes those very first feedings and holdings.

    If the baby is male:

  • Circumcise.
  • Do not circumcise.
  • Consult adopting parent(s).
  • I'm not wading into those waters, readers. Look somewhere else for that opinion; people get super worked up over circumcision conversations. We're having a girl, so luckily we dodged that cultural bullet.

    Photography: I grant permission for the adopting parent(s) to take:

  • Still photography of myself (including labor and delivery).
  • Video footage of myself (including labor and delivery).
  • Still photography of the newborn infant.
  • Video footage of the newborn infant.
  • None of the above.
  • Have you seen pictures or video of a woman delivering a child? Her hair and makeup game are non-existent; it's a major medical procedure. Bio Mom has asked that she maybe not use those moments for her close-up on camera. We are more than welcome to take pictures and video of the baby, but not of her. Makes sense. Look your best, girl; the cameras can wait.

    Bio Mom gets to put together a list of personal visitors she would allow, or not allow, into the hospital to visit her after the procedure, while she's recovering.

    She then gets to make some requests regarding the birth certificate. Bio Mom has suggested a first name, which we've added to our list of contenders. Our short list usually tops out around four or five names. Because of the flexibility and openness of the birth mother to allow us to be there so early, our plan is to wait until we hold our daughter for the first time before deciding what name fits her the best. In some situations it's better to go in with a name picked out, but in others it might be better to make up your mind when you see the baby for the first time, because otherwise your favorite couple wouldn't be Dominic and Anthony, they'd be Nunzio and Andrew. True story.

    Bio Mom gets to state preferences for discharge.

    I prefer to:

  • Provide an outfit myself and dress the baby upon discharge.
  • Have the adoptive parent(s) provide an outfit.
  • We're gay. We should have the go-home outfit covered. Think the pageantry of The Lion King with the sensibility of Phantom of the Opera. Then discard both, buy 9 different outfits from Babies “R" Us in advance, and pray she fits into one of them.

    Also regarding discharge, Bio Mom gets to select her preferences for timing of release.

    I prefer to:

  • Be released from and leave the hospital prior to the release of the baby who will be discharged to the “A Loving Choice" representative and placed with the adopting parent(s).
  • The baby to be discharged from the hospital prior to my discharge.
  • I would like to be discharged and participate in the discharge of the baby.
  • This must be difficult to consider, really. The agency said that, like everything listed above, this is subject to change. Some birth mothers imagine that they'll be able to hand the baby to the adoptive parents and then get into their cars and leave. When faced with that reality, it sometimes proves to be too overwhelming for the birth moms to physically take part in the discharge. Bio Mom, lovingly, has asked that we take the baby home directly from the hospital before she is discharged. With a c-section, that makes some sense as well, as Bio Mom's recovery period will be a little bit lengthier than the average delivery.

    Birth mothers, Bio Mom included, reserve their right to change their minds about any or all parts of that birth plan at any time.

    We are now in the final few weeks before delivery, before all the decisions on paper become decisions in real life. When imagined cries and laughter become voiced and heard, and when the words you are reading become words we are living.

    But for today, this day in October, there are pumpkin spice lattes. And there are apple ciders. And there are nerves. And there is a mother. And two fathers. And a tiny baby girl. And for today, that is enough.

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    Adults

    Why This Adopted Gay Man Will Never Have Children

    Do we have a biological right to parenthood? Kevin Saunders, a childless 52-year-old gay man, says no.

    Guest post written by Kevin Saunders.

    Two dear friends of mine, each partnered, capable gay men of relatively sound mind and body, have recently decided to become fathers, and I could not be more unnerved. The expense, the risk, the potential for disappointment, the logistical complexity that they must navigate leave me baffled and at times enraged with the lingering question that I have, out of respect, refrained from asking, "WHY, WHY, WHY do you want to do this?!" These feelings toward what most would consider a happy occasion beg a reciprocal enquiry: "Why do you care?" The answer is rooted in a disposition and a history that has left me skeptical of the innate right to biological parenthood that many, gay or straight, seem to feel entitled to.

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    Signing With Two Adoption Agencies to "Double Their Chances," These Dads Won Big with Both

    Days after welcoming their first son into their home, Ryan and Brandon received "the call" from a second adoption agency.

    Ryan and Brandon Bolton met in a bar in Chicago in early 2012. Brandon, a professional hair and make-up artist, was touring with a show and happened to go to the same bar that Ryan used to frequent. They eloped in August 2012 and were married in New York.

    In June 2013, they moved to Florida, where they began researching their fatherhood journey. "We were going to attempt surrogacy, but the costs were too high," said Ryan. "Adoption was something that was feasible." The husbands decided they needed to get a few puzzle pieces in place before signing, and Brandon was touring on various shows while they saved. They eventually moved forward, signing with their first agency, Adoption Center US, in January 2015.

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    "Over the Moon": Congrats to Gay Dads on May Births and Adoptions!

    Join us in congratulating all of the gay men in our community whose families grew in the Month of May!

    Wishing all of these gay dads congratulations on their exciting news this month. From pregnancy announcements, to becoming first-time dads, congrats to everyone in our community on their recent births and adoptions!

    Circle Surrogacy is the proud sponsor of May's Congrats post. They were founded in 1995 on the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to be a parent. "For over 20 years we've helped LGBTQ+ couples and singles around the world fulfill their dreams of parenthood. We've helped bring more than 1,900 babies into this world... and counting!"

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    Gay Dad Life

    Gays WITHOUT Kids (If Just For a Day...)

    Andrew Kohn explains why he decided to leave his kids at home this Pride

    I'm not a monster. Yes, I saw the wagons carrying lovely toddler children waiving their flags and eating their graham crackers. The children were plentiful wearing their Pride family shirts, bejeweled in rainbow. The weather was perfect and the crowds were as prideful as ever. But my husband and I had a day where we didn't have to worry about someone else, not on the constant lookout for the next available bathroom or calming emotions because we could buy one unicorn costume and not every unicorn costume. We had a day without kids.

    Yes, Pride has become commercialized. Some companies want my gay money, but others march and have a presence because one gay voice spoke up and asked why the company hasn't marched. I marched in the parade with my employer – who marched for the first time this year – because I started the conversation about why we hadn't marched before. My husband and I were present. We honored Stonewall. And praised Nina West. And we did it without carrying a bag with extra panties and a couple sippy cups.

    Believe me, I get sharing the day with your children. With your family. But in my house, we live Pride every day. Two white dads caring for two black kids makes us walking billboards for equality, love, and acceptance. I don't need a day to celebrate my family with my children. We do it in the grocery store. We do it at preschool. We recognize our uniqueness and celebrate it. My children don't need a meltdown and a long walk to tell them about their history and their fathers' connection to the past.

    Instead of worrying about where we would find lunch and, again, where the closest bathroom was, I saw beauty that took me by surprise – and I was able to be in the moment with it. Trans men waking boldly and bravely around only wearing only their bindings. Watching high school kids sitting in the grass, wearing crop tops and eating french fries, literally carefree looking up at the clouds. We experienced a community that was free and uninhibited, if just for one afternoon, where who you are isn't odd or something to be hidden. But rather something that is a definition of you and should be your reality 365 days a year.

    I know that being gay and having kids can be overwhelming at times. We ask ourselves if we're representing our community adequately (or have we become too heteronormative?). If we have children of a different race, are we giving them the experiences they need to know who they are, as well as navigate that world with gay parents? Are we so embraced at school functions because of our contributions to community or are we a token family? And yes, I'll ask it, are we good enough for acceptance by all gay families, who as if we're single again, judge each other on wealth, looks, and status? No family is better than any other, and gay parents certainly have opportunities to be better towards one another.

    Our Pride ended in a small fight while walking to the car, like all good Pride's should. But it wasn't about kids bickering, or kids getting upset they didn't get the right treat. It was about us centering ourselves in a community that isn't exactly welcoming in certain spaces to gay families other times of the year. It was about us catching up with our past while also seeing our collective future.

    And the kids didn't seem to mind. They had fun with a babysitter and lived their Pride out loud when they shopped for daddy and papa gifts for Father's Day. That's our Pride. Maybe when the kids are older, and really get the meaning of Pride, we'll start marching together in solidarity. But for right now, daddies needed a little time alone to reconnect with their LGBT family. And while there may be too many beer ads and not enough voter registration tables, we celebrate visibility and love. And my husband and I had time together, reminding us of who we are, who our original family was, and how we will connect who we are now, and our children, with that family as it grows.

    At the end of the day, we're all in it together. And my children will be enriched by the experience. Just not this year. This year, we fertilized our roots so that our branches can grow.

    Antwon and Nate became dads through the foster care system. Nine months after becoming licensed, they received a call on a Tuesday, and two days later, their daughter moved in. "It was very quick," said Nate. "Honestly, it was more just shock and nervousness for me."

    As new parents, Nate took unpaid leave for two weeks, before going back to work part-time. Antwon didn't receive any leave.

    "It's definitely important to have time off to bond, but it's also important to be financially stable when you do it," said Antwon. "I don't think you should have to choose between staying financially afloat or showing your kid love... and I don't think anyone should have to make that choice."

    Only 15% of dads in the U.S. have access to paid paternity leave. We want to change this.

    Watch Nate and Antwon's video to find out how:

    Sign the pledge: www.dovemencare.com/pledge

    Like Antwon and Nate, we're helping Dove Men+Care advocate for paid paternity leave for *ALL* dads! Over the next three months, we will be sharing stories of gay dad families and their paternity leave experience. Our goal is to get 100,000 folks to sign the Paternity Leave Pledge.

    Dove Men+Care has collected over 30,000 signatures on the Pledge for Paternity Leave in three short months, in a mission to champion and support new legislation for federally mandated paid leave laws in the U.S. With the conversation growing on Capitol Hill, Dove Men+Care will target key legislators to drive urgency behind paid paternity leave policy and provide a social proof in the form of real dad testimonials, expert research and signature support from families across the country.

    Our goal is to help Dove Men+Care bring 100,000 signatures to key policymakers in Washington, D.C. for their Day of Action on the Hill, and drive urgency behind this issue.

    If you believe *ALL* dads should receive paid paternity leave, sign the Paternity Leave Pledge.

    Gay Dad Life

    Gays With Kids Turns Five!

    Wow! Time certainly flies when you're busy becoming the world's biggest online resource and magazine for gay, bi and trans dads!

    As if we don't have enough going on this June (Stonewall's 50th anniversary! Father's Day! Taylor Swift rounding up all the gays in West Hollywood for her latest music video!) we're also celebrating another milestone here at Gays With Kids: we're officially turning five this month. (And we don't look a day over two, right?!)

    To celebrate, we took a look back at some of our most popular essays, photos, news stories and more. What do you want to see us cover in the NEXT five years? Let us know at dads@gayswithkids.com


    #10. The Hardest Part of Foster Care? The Wait, Say These Dads-to-Be

    Several years ago, we brought you this article: The Hardest Part of Foster Care? The Wait, Say These Dads-to-Be. The article included a video of Antwon and Nate, who were in the midst of their process to become foster dads, which quickly became one of our most popular posts of all time. In this video, they shared how difficult it was waiting for "the" call from the agency letting them know their lives would be forever changed once a child came to live with them.

    Want to see how the dads are getting on several years later? Check out this updated video here!

    #9. Famous Gay Dads and Their Kids!

    Our article, Famous Gay Dads and Their Kids, featuring well-known gay dads from Neil Patrick Harris to Ryan Murphy, quickly became one of our most popular. In the years since, as the ranks of gay dads has continued to grow, we've brought you MANY more stories of gay men in the limelight who are venturing into fatherhood. Check them all out here!

    #8. The Story Behind America's Youngest Gay Dad

    The Story Behind America's Youngest Gay Dad, which ran back in 2015, is also one of our most popular posts of all time! The post explores the story of Brian Mariano, who became a father with an ex-girlfriend while still in high school. "Everybody in my life is really supportive of me," he said. "If it's someone new and a friend mentions I'm a dad, they will stop. 'Wait, what? How are you a dad? You're gay.' It's like that 'Mean Girls' quote sometimes. You know – 'if you're from Africa, why are you white?'"

    #7. When His Son Got a Tattoo, He Freaked Out. Then He Saw What it Was

    This article, When His Son Got a Tattoo, He Freaked Out, definitely plucked the heartstrings of our readers! Which is why it's one of the most popular articles on our site of all time.

    "Guess what dad I'm getting a tattoo," Richard's son, Jonathan, texted him. "Don't you dare," was Richard's response. But Jonathan went ahead with it anyway. At first, his dad "fumed." But then he found out what the tattoo was.

    "So I got my first tattoo!!" Jonathan wrote on Facebook, of his roman numeral tattoo on his side. "This date is the day that my life changed. This is the day my dads adopted me. The greatest day in my life knowing that for the rest of my life I would finally have a loving family that loved me for me!" (Another one of our most popular posts is this photo essay of gay dads who explain the meaning behind their tattoos.)

    #6. 8 Black Dads Share What Black History Month Means to Their Families

    Last year, during February's Black History Month, we ran an article titled 8 Black Dads Share What Black History Month Means to Their Families. To create the post, we asked our community a simple question: as a Black gay dad, what does this month mean to you, your family, and your community? The answers we got back were reflective, poignant and deeply moving, which is why this article became one of our most-viewed ever.

    Check out the story here.

    #5. 19 Photos of Matt Dallas & Blue Hamilton That Will Make You Green with Parenting Envy

    Ok the popularity of this article, 19 Photos of Matt Dallas & Blue Hamilton That Will Make You Green with Parenting Envy, doesn't need that much explanation. Gorgeous, talented, successful and good dads? What's not to love! Also check out this more recent post, Things Husbands (and Gay Dads) Do According to Matt Dallas and Blue Hamilton, which is also quickly climbing the ranks of our most popular!

    #4. A Gay Dad's Message From His Heart to his Facebook Friends

    This article, A Gay Dad's Message From the Heart to his Facebook Friends, by gay dad Michael Anderson, ran in the troubling aftermath of the 2016 Presidential election, when so many LGBTQ people, our allies, and other vulnerable communities looked (and continue to look) towards an uncertain future.

    "Suddenly I don't feel secure anymore," Michael wrote. "Vice president-elect Pence has an extensive anti-gay record from supporting gay conversion therapy on kids that literally includes trying to (but failing to) electro-shock the gay out, to signing legislation in his state in 2013 to jail any same-sex couple who attempted to get a marriage certificate. All of the progress that we have made that gives my family a sense of belonging and security is very likely to be erased."

    For more of our ongoing political coverage, including the 2020 race, check out these articles as well.

    #3. Helping Gay Men Afford Adoption Through Sizable Grants

    Our third most popular article, Helping Gay Men Afford Adoption Through Sizable Grants, features our good friends Help Us Adopt, an amazing non-profit organization that helps adoptive parents offset the substantial costs associated with the process. They are also dedicated to inclusivity, and are one of the few financial resources available for gay adoptive parents. Check out this great profile of their work!

    #2. 9 Times Gay Dads Crushed Their Pregnancy Announcement Pics

    Gay dads love a good photo opportunity. So obviously this photo essay of gay dad pregnancy announcement pics is high up on our list as well. This photo essay, 9 Times Gay Men Crushed Their Pregnancy Announcement Pics, is our second most popular. Check out this most recent roundup of pregnancy announcement pics, which is also climbing the

    And Our MOST Viewed Article of All Time Is... 

    Gay dads do Halloween right! So it's no surprise that this article, 13 Dads Giving You Major Family Halloween Costume Goals, is our most viewed of all time! And though Halloween may still be months away, why not prepare early with a look at some of our other most popular Halloween articles!

    Gay Dads Snap Pics at the Pumpkin Patch
    Nobody Does Halloween Like Neil Patrick Harris and Fam
    31 Gay Dads Serving Major Halloween Costume Inspo (and Where to Get The Looks!)
    Get Your DIY Skills On for Halloween, Dads!







    THANK YOU!

    Lastly, a big thank you to all of our readers! It's thanks to you that we now can claim the biggest online community of gay, bi, and trans dads in the world (not to mention two GLAAD award nominations ;) We can't wait to see what the next five years bring!

    Surrogacy for Gay Men

    What Professionals Will I Work With on a Surrogacy Journey?

    There will be LOTS of people involved in your surrogacy journey. Kristin Marsoli of Circle Surrogacy breaks down the team of people you can expect to work with.

    A surrogacy journey, while monumental, is also a complex process with multiple milestones, many of which are new territory for intended parents. You will likely form the strongest relationships with your egg donor and surrogate, however there are many other professionals who you'll encounter on your journey who will educate and support you on your way to parenthood.

    Here are the types of professionals you can expect to work with on your surrogacy journey working with an agency such as Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation:

    Parent Outreach Team

    When you start your research on surrogacy and surrogacy agencies, if you contact Circle Surrogacy, your first point of contact will be a member of our Parent Outreach Team. This person solely supports intended parents at the very beginning stages of their journeys, before they've signed on with an agency. The Parent Outreach Team is a wonderful resource to answer questions about the surrogacy process, surrogacy costs, how to choose an agency and more. At Circle, many of our Parent Outreach Associates are also parents through surrogacy, so they can share their experiences and understand exactly what it's like to be in your shoes. When you have your surrogacy consultation, you'll meet with a Parent Outreach Associate and a Lawyer to discuss your personal surrogacy needs and journey. Your Parent Outreach Team will support you through signing on with the agency.

    Circle's Parent Outreach Team

    Egg Donation Matching Coordinator

    It's time to match with the first of two women who will be very important in your journey to parenthood: your egg donor! Selecting an egg donor may come easy to some, but others may take more time determining their perfect match. Our egg donor coordination team will help you find the right egg donor to meet your needs. They will help you navigate the egg donor database and coordinate your egg donor match.

    IVF Doctor and Clinic Coordinators

    You'll work closely with your IVF clinic professionals, including coordinators and, especially, your doctor. Your IVF doctor will advise you on your IVF journey and embryos, evaluate your egg donor and surrogate to determine they are ready for the process medically, and perform the egg retrieval and embryo transfer. Some intended parents come to surrogacy having already identified a clinic, others look for guidance in choosing a clinic that will best suit their needs.

    Program Manager and Coordinator

    Perhaps the professionals you will work the closest with will be your Program Manager (PM) and Program Coordinator (PC). As your journey support team, your PC and/or PM will be your day-to-day contact during your entire journey, from the moment you sign on with the agency, until the birth of your baby and beyond. Your PC and your PM ensure that you are meeting every milestone, having a smooth journey, and preparing for the arrival of your baby(ies).

    Social Workers

    Early on in your journey, you'll have an intended parent support call with one of the agency's social workers. During this call, you'll speak with the social worker about your upcoming journey, setting up expectations, talk about matching preferences and more. Social workers are also available to intended parents throughout their journey should they have a bump in the road, or if they need help navigating and talking through a situation.

    L-R Alicia Abdella, Manager of Intended Parent Support and Social Worker, Jessica McCaffrey, Intended Parent Attorney and Scott Buckley, VP of Client Services

    Lawyers (both at Circle and local attorneys)

    During the surrogacy process you will work with a lawyer for the following milestones:

    • Drafting, negotiating and finalizing your surrogacy contracts
    • Establishing your parental rights
    • Safely returning home

    Intended parents will be assigned a Circle attorney who will be part of the Coordination team. Parents can also expect to work with local counsel – lawyers who work out of the state from which their gestational carrier resides. Local counsel will help with establishing parental rights.

    Surrogate Matching Team

    A key milestone during your surrogacy journey is matching with your gestational carrier. At Circle, the Matching Manager – who is also a lawyer – presents intended parents with the profile of a gestational carrier whom she believes will be a great match. The match is based on a few criteria: legal fit, personality fit, geographic location and views on surrogacy. The Matching Team will help coordinate your first call with your potential surrogate, and work with you to find the most suitable match.

    Trust Accountant Team

    Each surrogacy operates a little differently; however if you work with a full-service agency such as Circle Surrogacy, a Trust Accountant will manage any outgoing payments to surrogates, egg donors and third parties. Upon matching, trust accountants keep intended parents informed of the monies needed to fund all expected expenses up until 6 months post delivery. They can also answer any financial questions intended parents may have.

    Medical Billing Team

    Intended parents will interact with the Medical Billing Team when they are matched with their gestational carrier. The team determines what intended parents can expect to pay for medical expenses from local monitoring, pregnancy and delivery, based on their specific case. The Medical Billing Team also reviews each medical bill from monitoring, physicians and the hospital prior to payment to ensure accuracy, and advocate for intended parents should medical facilities need to be called for any discrepancies.

    Gestational Carrier's OBGYN

    Around the 10th week of pregnancy, the IVF clinic will discharge your surrogate from their care and she will start seeing her OBGYN. Your surrogate will select her OBGYN that is local to her, and usually the same doctor she saw for her own pregnancies. Many intended parents attend the 20-week ultrasound with their surrogate, at which time they meet the OBGYN in person (in some cases, IPs have been "attended" ultrasound appointments via video on their surrogate's phone!).

    The entire team at Circle

    Hospital Staff

    Your baby will be delivered at a hospital in your gestational carrier's home state; many times, it's the hospital where she delivered her own children. Circle recommends touring the Labor & Delivery section of your surrogate's hospital to help familiarize yourself with its staff and layout in advance. Many intended parents combine their visit for the 20-week ultrasound and the hospital tour. Touring the hospital with your surrogate enables you both to ask questions of the hospital staff and prepare for baby's delivery.

    Embassy personnel (international intended parents)

    International parents will work with their agency's legal team as well as local counsel to ensure they can return home safely. Some intended parents will need to travel to the embassy to secure travel documents for their baby(ies).

    There are so many experienced professionals involved in a surrogacy and egg donation journey. It's important to understand with whom you'll be working throughout each milestone. While every agency operates differently – and an independent surrogacy journey will involve fewer agency professionals – these are the professionals intended parents can expect to work with on a journey with Circle Surrogacy. And because Circle is a full-service agency, many of the professionals mentioned above – outside of IVF clinics, local attorneys, hospital and embassy personnel – are all under one roof, making the management of your journey smooth and secure.

    Fatherhood, the gay way

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