Surrogacy for Gay Men

Understanding the Legal Process of Surrogacy for Gay Men

Next up on the Daddy Squared podcast! Yan and Alex talk with a fertility lawyer, Richard Vaughn, about the legal elements of the IVF process

When thinking about having kids via surrogacy, the legal part is just as important as the IVF process itself. Making sure that the agreements with the surrogate and the egg donor are set up properly is a solid base for the whole process itself. And then there are issues like legal guardianship and birth certificates that are also crucial for finishing the process with babies that are completely, legally yours. We turned to Fertility Lawyer and gay dad Richard Vaughn of International Fertility Law Group, to set the record straight about the legal steps that must be taken when having babies through IVF.


If you're going through the surrogacy path, you're going to have more than just the agreement with the egg donor and with the surrogate. "You would typically have an agency, if you're being match with a surrogate or a donor agency, so you may have two agencies or you can find your surrogate and egg donor at the same agency," explains Fertility Lawyer Richard Vaughn. "You will have written agreements with the clinic, these are usually called Informed Consent Documents. In these documents the doctors need your consent before they proceed, so they should, in writing, explain the procedures, the medications, the risks to those things, the benefits, the goal."

"Then you'll have contracts with the donor and with the surrogate, and there's additional legal work that follows after that including guardianship documents and the parental establishment court process."

"The analogy to construction or building a house is quite crystal clear because in buying a house you've got escrow and you've got tons of documents that you're signing, some of them electronically, and you just click, click, click," adds Vaughn. "In many of these situations, at least with the Informed Consent Document at clinics it's a lot of stuff that goes over your head unless someone is explaining it to you."


About Richard Vaughn

Fertility law attorney Rich Vaughn combined his passion for family formation with over 20 years of experience in business and technology law and founded International Fertility Law Group (IFLG), one of the most successful and best-known law firms in the world focusing on assisted reproductive technology law. Rich is also married to Tommy Woelfel and a father of twins born via surrogacy.

Vaughn first studied reproductive and fertility law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law in the early 1990s. In 1993, Rich began providing litigation, contract, technology, marketing and corporate legal services to individual clients, companies and municipalities in Chicago and Los Angeles. During his own experience of becoming a parent via egg donation and surrogacy, Rich discovered a renewed passion for fertility law and launched IFLG, which focuses exclusively on assisted reproductive technology legal services. Since then he's had the opportunity to help thousands of intended parents from all over the world create families via assisted reproduction.

Episode Credits

Co-Hosts: Yan Dekel, Alex Maghen
Guest: Richard Vaughn, International Fertility Law Group
Music: Hercules & Love Affair, "Leonora" buy here


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Broadway Husbands Talk Eggs, Embryos and Exciting News

The husbands explain what is considered a good egg retrieval.

In their previous video, Broadway Husbands Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna shared that they found their egg donor. In this video, the dads-to-be discuss their embryo creation process. And - spoiler alert - there are now frozen Hanna-Shuford embryos, and the husbands are ready for their next step: finding a gestational carrier.

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Joseph Tito was overjoyed this past November when he became a dad with the help of a surrogate in Kenya. But thanks to a host of legal complications, he's been stuck there since.

"I've gone to the moon and back for these kids, I'll do anything for them."

On November 30th, Canadian citizen, Joseph Tito, became a dad to twin girls via surrogate in Kenya. It had been a long journey for the family including a relationship breakup as Joseph was contemplating fatherhood, and after he found a somewhat affordable surrogacy agency in India who had opened a clinic in Kenya, he went through four unsuccessful embryo transfers.

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'Broadway Husbands' Bret and Stephen Learn Some New Surrogacy Lingo In Their Latest Vlog

Enjoy our fourth video in our series that follows Broadway husbands Stephen and Bret on their path to parenthood via surrogacy

In our next vlog with "Broadway Husbands" Stephen and Bret, the dads-to-be talk about the process of choosing an egg donor and creating embryos.

After learning they'd have to wait for their donor to "cycle twice" before beginning, the guys offered a word of wisdom to future gay men who are interested in surrogacy:

"Just so you know they call it 'bleeds,'" Bret said.

"Yeah they said they're waiting for her 'second bleed,'" Stephen added.

"So if they tell you that, don't be shocked," Bret cautioned. "I guess that's just a phrase that they use medically?"

Bret, a New York actor, and Stephen, a Broadway dancer, make up the dynamic duo behind @BroadwayHusbands. Gays With Kids is extremely excited to have front row seats, as this theater duo vlog about the highs, lows, complications and revelations of their surrogacy journey.

Watch this latest installment of their journey and follow along as we learn about their hopes and their worries, gain insight on their mindset about starting a family, and the factors that helped them choose surrogacy and, ultimately, their fertility clinic, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT).

Watch the video:

In this video you'll hear Bret and Stephen discuss:

The process of choosing their egg donor (0:15)

Filling out the egg donor questionnaire (0:29)

Exploring RMACT's egg donor profile database (0:47)

Bret and Stephen discuss the egg donor they selected and what they learned and loved about her (1:00)

The next steps for their egg donor; she has to cycle twice before they can do an egg retrieval (2:10)

Overall thoughts and excitement on the egg donor process (2:45)

Change the World

Study Finds Two-Thirds of Gay Dads Experienced Stigma in Last Year

The study also found that over half of gay dads have avoided certain social situations in the last year for fear of experiencing stigma.

According to new research by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the vast majority of gay men and their children experience some form of stigma. The findings are based on a survey of 732 gay father across 47 states in the United States.

More gay men are becoming fathers each year, and have more options for doing so than ever before: including adoption, foster care, and surrogacy. However as the study's authors write: "Despite legal, medical, and social advances, gay fathers and their children continue to experience stigma and avoid situations because of fear of stigma. Increasing evidence reveals that stigma is associated with reduced well-being of children and adults, including psychiatric symptoms and suicidality"

Almost two-thirds of respondents, or 63.5%, reported experiencing stigma based on being a gay father within the last year. Over half, or 51.2%, said they have avoided situations for fear of stigma, in the past year. Importantly, the study found that fathers living in states with more legal protections for LGBTQ people and families experienced fewer barriers and stigma. Most experiences of stigma (almost 35%) occurred, unsurprisingly, in a religious environment. But another quarter of gay dads said they experienced stigma from a wide variety of other sources, including: family members, neighbors, waiters, service providers, and salespeople

Surprisingly (or perhaps not?) another source of stigma cited by the study originates from other gay men. "Gay men report suspicion and criticism for their decision to be parents from gay friends who have not chosen parenthood." The study also says gay dads often feel "isolation in their parental role."

The study concludes, "Despite growing acceptance of parenting by same-gender adults, barriers and stigma persist. States' legal and social protections for lesbian and gay individuals and families appear to be effective in reducing experiences of stigma for gay fathers."

Read the whole study here.

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Gay Dads Featured on Cover of Parents Magazine for First Time

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I literally never thought I'd see the day. Literally.

Gay fathers on the cover of Parents Magazine! Gay fathers being celebrated in a "main stream" publication about being parents. Gay fathers!

I don't want to get overly dramatic here, but this is a milestone. A massive cultural milestone.

Sure, gay dads have come a long way in being accepted in our popular culture, but to my eye we've never been on the cover of a big popular parenting magazine celebrating our parenting skills. As if we are the norm.

We are now - thanks to Parents Magazine.

This is a particular milestone for me because I have a bit of a history with the magazine and with parenting publications in general. My first job out of grad school was in brand marketing at Johnson's Baby Products where I did indeed run advertising in this particular magazine. Back then though we only featured married, straight couples. There were no other kinds of parents to feature back in the day! And if I'm to be really honest, they were generally white, married, straight couples.

I distinctly remember one photo shoot where I forgot to put a wedding ring on the "husband's" finger and we had to reshoot it. No photoshop back then!

Now admittedly this was before I was a dad and before I was out, but as the years went by and I embraced my own journey as a gay dad, there were no role models or pop culture markers to say that I (and other gay dads) were accepted. There were no Andy Cohens publicly making baby announcements. We were alone on our parenting.

It was hard. There was a constant barrage of straight parenting norms that constantly reminded us that we were different.
Not any more! Being a gay dad, or any dad, is now simply being a parent. A good parent. A loving parent. And we have Parents Magazine to thank for the reminder and endorsement, with hopefully more to come.

And I can't help but think, and actually know, that this kind of normalization will inspire the next generation of gay dads who will simply accept, without hesitation, that fatherhood as a gay man is a real, accepted, and normal option.

Bravo!

Gay Dad Family Stories

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After multiple scam attempts, bizarre leads, and a birth mom's change of heart, Jason and Alex finally became dads.

Photo credit: Dale Stine

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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