Surrogacy for Gay Men

Surrogacy 101 for Gay Men: Learn the Basics With Dr. Ringler

Next up on the Daddy Squared podcast! Yan and Alex talk with a reproductive endocrinologist to get an overview of IVF and surrogacy options for gay men

We turned to Dr. Guy Ringler, Reproductive Endocrinologist at California Fertility Partners to get an updated overview of the IVF and surrogacy options for gay men from a medical point of view. Are you too old to have kids? How to find the right egg donor? Is IVF becoming less expensive? These and other questions are answered in this episode of Daddy Square.

"The cost [of IVF and surrogacy] is actually going up," Dr. Ringler states during the Daddy2 interview. "It's going up because everything gets more expensive, our Petri dishes are more expensive, the technology gets more expensive actually. And there's such a demand for surrogates that the amount that the agencies have to pay the surrogates goes up. So it's gradually increasing. It's not inexpensive, it's something you have to plan for."

"I tell my patients it's somewhere between the cost of a really nice car and a small house in the Midwest."


Dr. Ringler's 5 Steps to Start Your Family

1. Freeze sperm in Los Angeles
Provide a semen sample for freezing and blood for infectious disease and genetic carrier screening.

2. Select Your Egg Donor
Find your ideal donor from a diverse group of candidates.

3. Create Embryos For Freezing
Embryos are cultured to the blastocyst stage and frozen. They can genetically screened prior to freezing if desired.

4. Select Your Surrogate
Choose and meet (in person or via Skype) the surrogate mother that you would like to carry your child.

5. Embryo Transfer
Transfer your embryo(s) into the surrogate. Ten days later is the pregnancy test and the beginning of your surrogacy journey.

Terms you should be familiar with:

IVF - Stands for In Vitro Fertilization. An assisted reproductive technique that is used to treat infertility due to multiple etiologies including tubal disease, male factor, endometriosis and unexpected causes.

PGS Test - Preimplantation Genetic Screening. Testing the embryos to determine if they are genetically normal.

Egg Freezing - a revolutionary technique that provides fertility options to delay pregnancy.

Egg Donation - One of the most important factors effecting the pregnancy rate with IVF is the egg quality which is directly related to the age of the egg provider. IVF using eggs from a young and healthy egg donor provides embryos of optimal quality and pregnancy potential.

About Dr. Guy Ringler

Dr. Ringler graduated with honors from the University of Michigan before attending the Wayne State University School of Medicine. He trained in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Chicago and completed a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of Pennsylvania. In clinical practice in Los Angeles for over 25 years, he has developed an international reputation for excellence in all aspects of reproductive care, especially third-party reproduction utilizing egg donation and surrogacy. He was one of the world's first physicians to use assisted reproductive technologies to help gay men having children.

Dr. Ringler was awarded a Family Building award from the American Fertility Association for his work, and has been named a Super Doctor by Los Angeles Magazine. He has lectured around the world to help educate members of the LGBT community about family-building treatment options. He continues to work and live in Los Angeles with his husband, architect Mark Rios.

Episode Credits:

Co-Hosts: Yan Dekel, Alex Maghen
Guest: Dr. Guy Ringler, Reproductive Endocrinologist at California Fertility Partners
Music: Hercules & Love Affair, "Leonora" buy here
Articles referred to in this episode:
Where to Start If You're A Gay Couple Wanting to Have Kids (Yan Dekel, Daddy Square blog)
Get Ready for Embryos From Two Men or Two Women (Dr. Guy Ringler, Time)
Men Having Babies:
The 14th Annual NY Men having Babies Surrogacy Seminar & Gay Parenting Expo is coming up November 10-11, 2018
Unsung Heroes: Surrogate Mothers to Same-Sex Couples (Dr. Guy Ringler, The Advocate)
A Strip Mall Gay Bar in Detroit Helped Me Come Out (Dr. Guy Ringler, The Advocate)

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Gay Dad Family Stories

This European Couple Became Dads Through a U.K.-Based Surrogacy Program

Janno, from Estonia, and Matthias, from Belgium, were accepted into the "Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy" Program.

Janno Talu, an accountant, and Matthias Nijs, an art gallery director, were born in different parts of Europe. Janno, 39, is from Estonia, and Matthias, 28, is from Belgium. Their paths crossed when the two moved to London, each from their different corners of the European Union.

Janno relocated to London earlier than Matthias, when he was 24, and his main reason for the move was his sexuality. "Although Estonia is considered one of the more progressive countries in Eastern Europe, when it comes to gay rights, it is still decades behind Western society in terms of tolerance," said Janno. "And things are not moving in the right direction." In 2016, same-sex civil union became legal, but the junior party in the current coalition government is seeking to repeal the same-sex partnership bill. "In addition," Janno continued, "they wish to include the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the country's constitution. Even today, there are people in Estonia who liken homosexuality to pedophilia, which is why I decided to start a new life in the UK, where I could finally be myself."

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Asks: Is Destroying an Embryo Similar to Abortion?

It's a question many LGBTQ parents using advanced fertility treatments will need to face — what to do with "left over" embryos.

Let me start off by saying that I have always been pro choice and support all laws that allow people to have full reproductive rights including safe and legal abortions. This is a complicated subject and not one that I ever thought I would really have to deal with on a personal level, especially being a gay man.

I remember a very heated discussion on abortion in my biology class back in university. I was young, idealistic and had very strong convictions about abortion. I was debating with a female classmate who was pro life. She felt there was no reason for an abortion ever, not even if raped by your own parent or sibling. I could not really understand her position, then or now. Don't get me wrong, I still don't agree with her, but now that I'm older and wiser, and also a parent, I have come to respect and accept opinions other than mine.

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Expert Advice

What's It Like When You're NOT the Bio Dad to Your Baby

Lauren Mello of Circle Surrogacy breaks down some of the challenges facing the gay dad who will *not* become the biological parent.

If you're a gay couple considering surrogacy, one of the first decisions you'll need to make together is who is going to be the biological father. When it's time to create your embryos with your egg donor's eggs, you have a few choices when it comes to which dad will be providing his biology: one dad only can provide his biology, both dads can provide their biology and leave the fertilization to chance, or both dads can provide their biology and fertilize half of the embryos with each dad's sperm. Some gay dads choose this third option if they plan to have twins, or more than one baby through surrogacy.

Once embryos are created, you'll decide which embryos will be transferred into your surrogate mother. Hopefully a pregnancy results, and you'll be on your way to fatherhood!

The question is: what's is like when you're NOT the bio dad to your baby? We spoke with a few dads through surrogacy from Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation, about the emotions surrounding being a bio dad...and not being one.

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Change the World

Miami Tourism Board Releases Vacation Guide for LGBTQ Families

Miami isn't just about circuit parties! The LGBTQ Family-Friendly Miami Vacation Guide showcases many options for queer parents, too.

As gay people, it can be difficult to find vacation spots that are LGBTQ-friendly out of the normal travel "fruit loop" — New York, Mykonos, San Francisco; repeat. For those of us with kids, the Venn diagram of destinations that are both queer and kid friendly can seem practically non-existent.

Fortunately, that's starting to change as the tourism industry realizes that LGBTQ families are a growing segment of vacationers. One city to quickly pick up on this trend is Miami. While the gays have long flocked to Miami for party weekends, the city has also recently noticed an uptick in the number of LGBTQ visitors who are parents. In response, Miami's tourism board release a guide, LGBTQ Family-Friendly Miami Vacation Guide, that includes loads of options for queer parents and their kids. Amid Miami's legendary circuit parties, it turns out, are tons of family friendly things to do — like the Museum of Science, an eco-adventure theme park, and other kid-focused events all year long.

Who knew?

"When I came onboard as Director of LGBTQ Marketing a little over a year ago, I found that our LGBTQ messaging was centered around our annual events," said Dan Rios, who works with the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. Massive parties like the White Party and Aqua Girl are a central part of the city's LGBTQ offerings, he said, but he was also worried the city was "developing a reputation solely as a party destination. "I want to diversify that message to highlight everything else that Greater Miami has to offer."

Hence the city's family-friendly guide that includes offerings within "art and culture, dining, beaches, fitness," Dan said. "We have unique and amazing family attractions that we had been promoting to our general audiences for decades. I saw this as an opportunity; an opportunity to introduce our attractions to LGBTQ families, and an opportunity to further promote our attractions -- it was a win-win."

Dan said the Bureau is also in the midst of a campaign that will prominently feature LGBTQ parents within different travel destinations throughout the city, which will be featured throughout both LGBTQ and mainstream websites, publications and advertising.

We applaud the effort to reach out to LGBTQ families, and hope more cities follow Miami's lead! Be sure to check out the guide here.

Gay Dad Life

Gong Hei Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

As we usher in the year of rat, we asked some of our dads how they honor this special time.

Today we're celebrating, alongside our families, the Chinese New Year! As we usher in the year of rat, we asked some of our dads how they honor this special time, what they do to celebrate, and how they're instilling these traditions in their kids. Here are some of their responses.

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News

Indiana Court Says Couples Using Sperm Donors​ Can Both Be Listed on Birth Certificate — But Ruling Excludes Male Couples

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the case, a major victory for LGBTQ parents — but the Attorney General may appeal to the Supreme Court.

On Friday, a US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling from a lower court that said that both parents in a same-sex relationship are entitled to be listed on the birth certificate — previously, the state of Indiana had required the non-biological parent within a same-sex relationship using assisted reproductive technologies to adopt their child after the birth in order to get her or his name listed on the birth certificate, a lengthy and expensive process not required of straight couples in the same situation.

It's a double standard LGBTQ parents have long been subjected to in many states across the country. So this represent a major win. As reported by CNN, this ruling "takes a lot of weight off" the shoulders of LGBTQ parents, said Karen Celestino-Horseman, a lawyer representing one of the couples in the case. "They've been living as families and wondering if this was going to tear them apart."

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals deliberated the case, according to CNN, for more than two and a half years, which is one of the longest in the court's history.

However, because all the plaintiffs in the case involved female same-sex couples using sperm donors, the ruling left open the similar question of parenting rights with respect to male couples. Indiana's Attorney General, moreover, may also appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

We'll be following the case closely and be sure to keep you up to date. For more on this recent decision, read CNN's article here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

As a Gay Dad, What's the Impact of Letting My Son Perform Drag?

Michael Duncan was excited when his 10-year-old son asked if he could perform in drag for charity — but he also felt fear and anxiety.

As LGBT parents, we have all lived through some sort of trauma in our lives. For many it is the rejection of our family, being bullied, or abuse. We learn to be vigilant of our surroundings and often are very cautious of who we trust. As adults, we start to become watchful of how much we share and we look for "red flags" around every corner.

So, what effect does this have on our children? Does it unintentionally cause us to be more jaded with our interactions involving others? For some the answer may be a resounding "no." But as we look deeper into the situation, we often find that through survival our interactions with others have changed and we may not even realize exactly how much we are projecting on those around us.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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