Surrogacy for Gay Men

3 Ways Surrogacy Is Nothing like You See in the Movies

It may make for good television, but the surrogacy process is nothing like what you see on T.V. Here are three Hollywood myths about surrogacy.

People have been building their families via gestational surrogacy for decades, however over the last five years or so, surrogacy has grown as an increasingly viable option for singles and couples to have a baby.


In fact, more celebrities are turning to gestational surrogates to grow their families: Fredrik Eklund (of Million Dollar Listing New York fame) and his husband Derek Kaplan welcomed twins last year; Neil Patrick Harris and his husband David Burtka also have twins born via surrogacy; and, of course, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West welcomed their third child in January via gestational surrogate.

So with so many celebrities turning to surrogacy to build their families, why is it that Hollywood can't seem to get surrogacy right?

Here are three myths about surrogacy perpetuated by television and movies:

Hollywood Myth #1: You will be matched with a surrogate who has never been pregnant

"Baby Mama" movie poster, 2008, Wikipedia

In the movie Baby Mama, Tina Fey's character is a single woman who faces infertility challenges but desires to be mother, so she turns to an agency to hire a surrogate to carry a baby for her. She's matched with Amy Poehler, a young woman who has never before given birth. Hilarity – based on fiction – ensues.

Reality: One requirement to be a surrogate is that the woman has had a successful term pregnancy. This is a requirement set forth by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), an organization that ensures ethical standards are upheld through the practice and advancement of reproductive medicines. Agencies, such as Circle, adhere to these guidelines when accepting surrogates into a surrogacy program.

The reason for this is that if a surrogate has never been pregnant or carried a child to term before, she may have limited knowledge of her own fertility. This information is important to intended parents who are ready to emotionally and financially invest in a surrogacy journey. Agencies thoroughly screen their surrogate applicants, and an IVF doctor reviews her medical records and past pregnancies.

Hollywood Myth #2: Your surrogate will lie about her age, and use her own eggs!

"Roseanne" 2018 series poster, Wikipedia

The return of the hit TV show "Roseanne" brings the Conner family back, with oldest daughter Becky announcing that she's going to be a surrogate for a couple who can't conceive. Only hitch: she's lied to make herself 10 years younger (33 vs. 43) and will be using her own eggs.

Reality: Only in Traditional Surrogacy are the surrogate's eggs used, resulting in the surrogate having a genetic connection to the baby. Most agencies today, including Circle, practice only Gestational Surrogacy, meaning: the surrogate has no genetic relationship to the child(ren).

Hollywood Myth #3: Surrogates have dark pasts filled with criminal activity, psychological challenges and multiple personalities.

Movie poster from Lifetime's "The Surrogacy Trap."

Watch almost any Lifetime movie about surrogacy and you'll see any one of these surrogacy scenarios come to life in two hours of drama-filled suspense.

Reality: Agencies thoroughly screen each and every woman who applies to be a surrogate. Women fill out questionnaires, speak with an experienced outreach team member, provide medical records, and undergo background checks and psychological screenings. This is done to ensure a healthy, happy and successful journey for everyone involved.

A surrogacy journey is an emotional experience for everyone involved: intended parents and their families, and the surrogate and her family and support system. It truly is one of life's most rewarding and monumental journeys.

If you're thinking about embarking on a surrogacy journey to grow your family, turn to movies and TV for the entertainment, but rely on the professionals to guide and support you on your journey.


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Politics

Daughter of Married Gay Couple Who Used Surrogacy Abroad Isn't Citizen, Says U.S. State Department

A decades-old law can be used to discriminate against gay couples who use surrogacy abroad.

James Derek Mize and his husband Jonathan Gregg are both American citizens, but their daughter, born via a surrogate, may not be, at least according to the U.S. State Department.

The New York Times took an in-depth look at this case in a piece that ran in the paper yesterday. While James was born and raised in the U.S, his husband Jonathan was originally born in Britain. That may be enough, according to the State Department, to deny their daughter citizenship.

"We're both Americans; we're married," James told the New York Times. "We just found it really hard to believe that we could have a child that wouldn't be able to be in our country."

According to decades-old immigration law, a child born abroad must have a biological connection to a parent that is a U.S. citizen in order to be eligible to receive citizenship upon birth. Children born via surrogacy are determined to be "out of wedlock," according to the Times report," which then requires a more onerous process to qualify for citizenship, such as demonstrating that a biological parent is not only an American citizen, but has spent at least five years in the country.

The intent of the law, which dates back to the 1950s, was to prevent people from claiming, falsely, that they are the children of U.S. parents. But LGBTQ advocates argue this archaic policy is being used intentionally to discriminates against same-sex couples, who often have to rely on donors, IVF and surrogacy in order to have biologically children, and are thus held to a higher standard.

"This is where our life is. This is where our jobs are," James told the Times. "Our daughter can't be here, but she has no one else to care for her."

Read the whole story here.


Gay Dad Life

Netflix Documentary Explores a Gay Chinese-American's Path to Parenthood Via Surrogacy

"All In My Family," a new short documentary by filmmaker Hao Wu, explores his family's struggle to accept his sexuality and decision to pursue surrogacy in the United States

Filmmaker Hao Wu's latest documentary, released on Netflix this past week, explores his coming out story and his path to becoming a gay dad via surrogacy in the United States. Viewers watch as Wu comes out to his Chinese parents, who are not accepting of his sexual orientation.

As the film's synopsis notes, Wu, the only male descendant in his Chinese family, was "raised with a certain set of expectations - excel at school, get a good job, marry, and have kids." He achieves each of these goals, but as a gay man, he hasn't done so in the way his family had hoped. The film follows Wu brings his husband and children to China to meet his family, many of who are still unaware of his sexual orientation.

"I wanted to show the challenges for gay people of Chinese descent, what kind of cultural and generational barriers and differences they have to negotiate in order to build a family of their own," Wu said in an interview with InkStone.

Watch the moving documentary in full here.


Gay Dad Family Stories

This Surrogate Helped Two Different Gay Couples Realize Their Dreams of Becoming Dads

Shelly Marsh says her daughters are her "life," and wanted to share that love as a surrogate for two different gay couples.

We've shared hundreds, possibly thousands, of stories about GBT men who've become dads through the many different paths to fatherhood. We've thanked the women who've made our dreams come true; we wouldn't be dads without their, in many cases, selfless acts of love. Amongst the courageous birth moms, and our co-parenting counterparts, are the surrogates who carry our children. It's a very personal decision to become a surrogate, but Shelly's choice was simple: if she could help others experience the joys of parenthood, she would.

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Gay Adoption

5 Ways to Know Your Adoption Agency Is LGBTQ-Friendly

So you're ready to adopt. How do you know your adoption agency won't just discriminate against you as a gay man, but is actively welcoming to LGBTQ people?

You know what is the worst? Adoption agencies who discriminate! So how do you know your agency welcomes you? Check out our list of five immediate ways to know if your agency is LGBTQ affirming.

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Change the World

Gay Dads Featured in Enfamil Commercial

A new ad for Enfamil showcases two gay men talking about their daughter.

The best kind of inclusion is when you're not singled out but instead included right along with everyone else. This kind inclusion inspires others to pursue their own dreams and desires, just like any one else. As part of our popular culture, we know that brands are uniquely suited to inspire us in this way.

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Gay Dad Life

Cooking with Kids: An Interview with David Burtka

David Burtka sits down with us to talk about his new book "Life is a Party."

When you're a young couple it's easy to order in or dine out on a daily basis, but when the kids come along, spending time in the kitchen to prepare nutritious and healthy meals for them can become a problem for some dads. We turned to gay dad and celebrity chef David Burtka who just published his debut recipe book Life is a Party, to get some advice, inspiration, and support as we take our baby steps in the kitchen.

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Popular

Couple That Met at the Gym Now Spotting Each Other Through Fatherhood

How two real New-Yorkers became two soft-hearted dads

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

Byron and Matthew Slosar, both 41, met ten years ago at one of New York City's Equinox gyms. "I asked him for a spot on the bench press," smiled Byron. The couple were married September 22, 2012.

Surrogacy was always the way Byron and Matthew wanted to become parents. They chose to wait and become dads later in life, until they had established careers and the financial means to pursue their chosen path.

They signed with Circle Surrogacy after interviewing a few agencies. "We immediately connected with their entire staff, particularly Anne Watson who lovingly dealt with my healthy neuroses on the daily for 1.5 years," said Byron. "They definitely personalized the service and helped us understand all 2,000 moving parts." The dads-to-be were also very impressed with how much emotional support they received from Circle.

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