Meeting Your Surrogate for the First Time? Essential Questions Gay Men Should Ask
#1 What made her want to be a gestational carrier? Women who make the complicated yet impactful decision to become a gestational carrier often have touching and surprising motivations for wanting to help others start their family. For instance, many gestational carriers profess a desire help gay couples in particular start their families. Regardless of her unique motives, uncovering what has led your potential gestational carrier to take this major step in her life is a good place to start your conversation.
#2 How does her family feel about her decision to become a gestational carrier? All gestational carriers must have already carried a child to term, so many are actively raising their own families. Depending on how much contact you choose to have with your gestational carrier following the birth, your families may become intertwined for some time to come. While your agency should have already interviewed your gestational carrier's husband or partner, if she has one, it is still a good idea to discuss their feelings towards her decision to serve as a surrogate.
#3 How do your gestational carrier and her family feel about the LGBTQ community? Prior to matching you, your surrogacy agency should have already ensured that your gestational carrier and her family are LGBTQ-friendly. Still, it can be helpful to raise the subject with your gestational carrier in a non-threatening way, to hear for yourself her perspective on the idea of helping gay men become dads.
#4 How much involvement on your part is your gestational carrier comfortable with during the pregnancy? Particularly if you and your gestational carrier live in close proximity, you and/or your partner may wish to be as deeply engaged throughout your surrogacy journey as possible. If that is the case, you should speak with your gestational carrier about her comfort level with having you and/or your partner in the room during doctor's visits. Ideally, she will be quite open to your involvement throughout the process, but you should also be prepared to respect her need for privacy as much as possible.
#5 How much contact will you want to maintain with your gestational carrier and her family following the birth of the child? Many gay dads choose to maintain contact with their gestational carriers following the birth of their child in some form, but the level of that involvement can vary widely. Some choose to stay intimately involved in each other's lives, and might even choose to repeat a second surrogacy journey together years later. Others, meanwhile, may choose to limit contact to sending an occasional photo via email, or interacting online. There is no right or wrong answer to this question, and the outcome may evolve organically. But it is important to know your own preferences for the type and frequency of contact, as well as the preferences of your gestational carrier.
#6 How does your gestational carrier feel about the possibilities of multiples? Often, gay men may wish to transfer more than one embryo during an IVF procedure. Doing so allows gay men to each transfer an embryo to which they contributed DNA, and raises the odds that at least one will lead to a successful pregnancy. While you may be excited about the prospect of having twins, carrying multiples can complicate a pregnancy. It will be important to discuss this eventuality with your gestational carrier prior to entering into a contact. You may not force her to make any decision that impacts her body in a way she is not comfortable with. If she only wishes to transfer one embryo at a time, then, you must respect her wishes, or find another gestational carrier who is comfortable with the idea of carrying twins to term.
#7 How does your gestational carrier feel about “reducing"? Other gay men may be less excited about the idea of having multiple children within the same pregnancy, but want to transfer more than one embryo during IVF to increase the odds that one will lead to a successful pregnancy. However, as discussed above, transferring multiple embryos will also increase the likelihood of having twins, triples, or more. Carrying multiples can increase health risks during a pregnancy, particularly if it involves more than three fetuses. Your doctor will likely raise the prospect of “reducing" or aborting one or more of the fetuses in this event. It will be important to discuss this eventuality with your gestational carrier, and ascertain her feelings towards the procedure, prior to entering into a contract.
#8 How does your gestational carrier feel about abortion generally? Typically, your agency will pre-screen you and your gestational carrier on the question of abortion well before you ever “match." Still, it's a good idea to discuss the possibility with her, and under which circumstances you both feel an abortion is warranted or not.
For more on surrogacy, check out: