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5 Questions Gay Men Should Ask Themselves Before Starting Surrogacy

Here are five questions gay men should make sure they have the answers to before starting a surrogacy journey

Photo credit: Melissa Bissell Photography

Babies are the best! And growing your family through surrogacy is an amazing experience for everyone involved. There is a tremendous amount of planning, a detailed process and a rollercoaster of emotions that go along with it.

Before you begin your surrogacy journey, here are 5 questions you should ask yourself – and have the answers to! – to help ensure the smoothest journey possible.


#1. Are you prepared to answer some VERY personal questions?

From the wide-eyed "Did you have sex with your surrogate?" to "Is your surrogate the baby's mother?", preparing yourself for the spectrum of questions friends, family and, yes, even strangers, will ask you is no easy task. It's important to share your news that you're building your family through surrogacy, as it's such a monumental journey. It's important to be ready with answers to even the craziest questions. If you're coupled, you and your partner should be on the same page when it comes to how you'll respond when the questions take a turn for the personal.

#2. How and when will you tell your child(ren) their origin story?

You are about to bring two new women into your life, and it's important to think about what your relationship will be with them after your baby's birth, and how you will describe their roles in your life and family. Gay dad Brett shares that he and his husband have always been very open and honest with their son about his origin story. "We have always had a photo of our son's egg donor and surrogate on display in his bedroom so that he could know who they were when he was ready." It's a wonderful story to tell, and it's a good idea to think about how and when you'll share it.

#3. Who will be the bio dad?

There is a whole scientific and medical process about to happen to get you on your way to holding your baby in your arms. Once you select an egg donor, you will need to create your embryos. You'll be asked who will be supplying the biology, so having a plan will help facilitate that process. Will you both create embryos? Will one of you go first if you are planning more than one surrogacy journey? Will you implant both embryos (one biologically each of yours) and see what happens? This decision is a very personal one – and no doubt one you'll be asked about by others! (See question 1 about being asked personal questions!)

#4. Are you ready to have ZERO control?

Zero control may be an exaggeration, but you should prepare to step back as science takes over. One gay couple had a very detailed plan of how they were going to grow their family, how many children, and who would be the bio dad of each of them. As it can happen, science was not onboard with their plan. Instead of both of them being able to be biological dads to their two children, only one was able to do so. This was not how they imagined their journey would be, but they got their beautiful family in the end. Giving up control means accepting the unpredictable. It's also a reason to work with an agency you trust: you always have support.

#5. Have you thought long-term about child care and support after the baby is born?

When they say it takes a village to raise a child, they meant it! During your journey you will most likely be in the moment and planning for the delivery day and the arrival of your baby. But that's just the beginning! Take the time to prepare for your return home, those first few weeks and beyond. Will someone be home with the baby? Are you headed back to work? It's important to have a support system in place, for both you and your baby.

Embarking on a journey to parenthood with your chosen egg donor and your surrogate will be an amazing experience. Surround yourself with a strong support system, an experienced and trustworthy agency like Circle Surrogacy, and be honest with yourself and your partner.

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"We're Dads, the Greatest Thing We've Ever Been": Congrats to Gay Men Whose Families Recently Grew!

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Gay men go through a lot of ups and downs on the path to parenthood. It can be one of the most emotionally draining times in our lives. But as each of these families who are celebrating births and adoptions this month agree: it's worth every hardship.

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United Nations Calls on Cambodia to End Criminalization of Surrogates

Cambodia's 2016 law criminalizes surrogacy — and requires women who work as surrogate to raise the children they conceived for intended parents as their own.

Last Friday, the United Nations Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) reiterated its support to end the harassment and criminalization of surrogates in Cambodia, according to Voice of America.

The report issued by CEDAW recognized growing international criticism of the unregulated practice of surrogacy around the world, which often leads to the exploitation of women who work as surrogates. However, since surrogacy became illegal in Cambodia, over 60 women working as surrogates — the very people put in danger of exploitation — have been arrested and subjected to criminal proceedings. The women were only released according to VOA, under the condition of raising the surrogate children until they are 18.

"The Committee is particularly concerned that such an obligation creates an additional financial and emotional burden on women who are in precarious situations, which led them to act as surrogates in the first place," the report reads, "and that they face discrimination and stigma from their families and communities for having acted as surrogates."

CEDAW called on the Cambodian government to repeal the October 2016 law — particularly the requirement of raising the children they conceived for other intended parents as their own. This punishment is particularly onerous given that many of these women entered surrogacy arrangement against their will, said Chak Sopheap, Executive Director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, speaking to VOA.

"Surrogate women in Cambodia are likely to be at the sharp end of various economic and political hardships that caused them to make the decision to become a surrogate," she told VOA in an email. "We have seen, over the past year, women surrogates raided, charged with human trafficking, and detained, with no transparency from the authorities as to their wellbeing or that of the children they have given birth to."

Read more about this story here.

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World's First Sperm Bank Opens for HIV Positive Donors

Sperm Positive, started by three non-profits in New Zealand, hopes to end stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood

"Our donors have so much to give," say the promotional materials of a new sperm bank. "But they can't give you HIV."

The new sperm bank, Sperm Positive, launched on World Aids Day this year by three non-profits as a way to fight stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood. For years, scientists have known that those living with an undetectable level of HIV in their blood thanks to antiretroviral treatments can't transmit the virus through sex or childbirth. Yet discrimination and stigma persists.

The sperm bank exists online only, but will connect donors and those seeking donations with fertility banks once a connection is made on their site. Sperm Positive was started by three New Zealand non-profits — Body Positive, the New Zealand Aids Foundation and Positive Women Inc. — who hope the project will help disseminate science-backed education and information about HIV and parenthood.

Already, three HIV positive men have signed up to serve as donors, including Damien Rule-Neal who spoke to the NZ Herald about his reasons for getting involved in the project. "I want people to know life doesn't stop after being diagnosed with HIV and that it is safe to have children if you're on treatment," he told the Herald. "I've experienced a lot of stigma living with HIV, both at work and in my personal life that has come from people being misinformed about the virus."

We applaud the effort all around! To read more about our own efforts to end the stigma surround HIV and parenthood, check out our recent round-up of family profiles, resources, and expert advice that celebrate the experience of gay dads living with HIV here.

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'Homosexuality is Wrong' Utah Teacher Tells Boy Who Gave Thanks for His Two Adoptive Dads

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To anyone with a heart, the moment should have done nothing more than bring a tear to the eye. Last week, just before the Thanksgiving break, a substitute teacher in a fifth grade class in Cedar Hills, Utah — just south of Salt Lake City — asked her students to name something they were thankful for this holiday season.

"I'm thankful for finally being adopted by my two dads," said Daniel, one of the boys, when it was his turn.

Rather than grab a tissue to dab her eyes, or ask the classroom to join her in a hearty round of applause to celebrate Daniel finding his forever family, the teacher took it upon herself to impart her personal religious beliefs onto the young boy. "Homosexuality is wrong," the teacher said in front of the class, adding that it was "sinful" for two men to live together.

The teacher, fortunately, was fired from Kelly Services, the substitute staffing company that employed her, quickly after the incident, but the moment is nonetheless receiving widespread attention in the press — no doubt in part because one of the boy's dads, Louis van Amstel of "Dancing With the Stars," posted a video clip to his 76,000 Twitter followers with the title: "Our child was bullied."

"It shouldn't matter if you're gay, straight, bisexual, black and white," he said to the New York Times in a follow up interview. "If you're adopting a child and if that child goes to a public school, that teacher should not share her opinion about what she thinks we do in our private life."

Louis also revealed that the moment may not have come to light were it not for three of his son's classmates, who told the principal about the teacher's bigoted comments. His son, Daniel, didn't want to report the incident for fear of getting the teacher into trouble.

Louis expressed thanks that the staffing company responded as quickly as it did following the incident — and also stressed that his neighbors and community have rallied behind he and his family in the days afterward, offering support. He wanted to dispel stereotypes that Utah, because of its social conservatism and religiosity, was somehow inherently prejudiced.

"It doesn't mean that all of Utah is now bad," he told the Times. "This is one person."

It's also true that this type of prejudice is in no way limited to so-called red states, and incidents like these happen daily. LGBTQ parents and our children are subjected to homophobic and transphobic comments in schools, hospitals, stores, airlines and elsewhere as we simply go about living our lives. These moments so often fly under the radar — many classmates don't have the courage, as they fortunately did in this case, to report wrongdoing. Some administrators are far less responsive than they were here — and most of us don't have 76,000 Twitter followers to help make these moments of homophobia a national story.

All that aside, let's also get back to what should have been nothing more than a heartwarming moment — Daniel, a fifth grade boy, giving thanks to finally being legally adopted into a loving family.

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December 1st is World AIDS Day — a day to unite in our collective fight to end the epidemic, remember those we've lost, and bring much needed attention and money to support those who continue to live with HIV and AIDS. For us at Gays With Kids, it's also a time to lift up and celebrate the experiences of fathers, so many of who never thought they'd see the day where they would be able to start families.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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