5 Things I Learned Serving as a Surrogate for a Gay Couple

Heather Manojlovic breaks down what it was like to serve as a surrogate for two gay dads

*This post is written as part of our ongoing collaboration with Circle Surrogacy as they explore topics that help to demystify the surrogacy experience for our community of gay dads. This article is written by Heather Manojlovic, the Prescreening Coordinator at Circle Surrogacy and experienced gestational carrier.

"What was it like carrying a baby for a gay couple?"

I'd be lying if I said I was never asked that question both during and after my surrogacy journey. First off, no matter whom you carry for as a surrogate, the journey is monumental and life-changing. You are carrying a baby for someone. They are entrusting you with an enormous gift. It's a big deal!

With my gay Intended Parents (IPs), the journey was unforgettable for so many reasons! We had a very special relationship, and I was honored to carry their baby.

But is carrying a baby for a gay couple different than carrying for a heterosexual couple?

Here are 5 insights from my surrogacy journey with a gay couple:

#1: Carrying for Gay Intended Parents is Special

The fact that I was able to help someone that may have had to overcome a lot of adversity during his lifetime to fulfill a dream meant so much to me. I've always felt like love is love, and the idea that gay rights are human rights has always struck a chord with me. I feel that anyone who has the passion to become a parent should be able to do so, regardless of his/her relationship status or sexual orientation.

Heather with one of her gay IPs

#2: My Gay Intended Parents Trusted Me Completely

My IPs were so relaxed, they truly did not worry about anything! They were always curious about how I was feeling and what my cravings were. I enjoyed sharing those details with them! We were able to build such a beautiful level of trust during our journey, and I believe this was because their worries were kept to a minimum. The fully entrusted me with their most precious cargo and gave their full faith in me as their carrier.

#3: Working with Gay Intended Parents Helped Me to Educate Friends and Family

Most of my family is pretty progressive in their thinking and like to stay open to ideas and respect others. So my family and friends were all very receptive when I told them I was carrying for Gay IPs. Most people automatically assume only a woman would require a surrogate, so it brought up really great conversation points when talking about my Intended Parents. Everyone always loved hearing how the Dads were preparing for their baby's arrival; I don't think there was one person that wasn't excited about their journey to parenthood!

#4: Watching People Try to Figure Out 'Who Was Who' Was Hilarious

One of my funniest favorite memories was when my husband was mistaken for one of my gay IPs! After delivery my IPs spent a great deal of time back and forth between my room and their own room, just chatting and connecting and celebrating this monumental time. The hospital was aware that I had carried for a same-sex couple. There were often times when only one of my IPs was in the room with me and my husband, and the hospital staff constantly confused my husband as one of my IPs. My husband actually ran to a baby store with one of my IPs to help him get some last-minute baby items and they were also mistaken as a couple shopping. It was such a silly moment and my husband always said he was in amazing company and joked they made a good-looking couple.

#5: My Biggest Piece of Advice for Other Gay Men Considering Surrogacy? Go in with an Open Heart.

Remember to not let any expectations take over. Go into the process with an open heart and an open mind and know this is a personal experience for everyone involved. Your surrogate really just wants to partner with you in whatever capacity you are needing to help your dreams come true. Try not to have too many ideas of WHO you expect your surrogate to be. Be prepared to grow as an individual and couple during this experience. Let go of preconceived expectations!

Working with Gay IPs, I truly felt their gratitude. It was special to experience this gratitude, and to be able to share with my own children how amazing our world is, and how all the people we love and interact with are comprised of so many different dynamics.

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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.

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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.

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