Become a Gay Dad

Surrogacy Counseling for Gay Men: What to Expect

At first, you might balk at the suggestion that you need therapy before being deemed “fit" to become a dad via surrogacy. (Particularly since, as gay men, we all know a straight parent or two who could have used a good head shrinking before being allowed to have children.) But the process of becoming fathers via a gestational surrogate is an emotional one for everyone. Counseling is an essential part of the process. To prepare, take a look at some of the topics gay men can expect from their psychosocial screening, courtesy of the guidelines issued by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM):

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Psychological Risk Assessment: In your clinical interview, your counselor will try to help flag any potential issues that could prevent a successful collaboration between intended parents and gestational carrier. It is also meant to help inform intended parents of potential emotional and psychological risks that can arise throughout a gestational carrier process.

Relationship with Gestational Carrier: The psychosocial evaluation will also help establish some ground rules to ensure you and your partner have a healthy relationship with your gestational carrier. You may discuss the type of relationship you want with your carrier and her family after the birth of your child, for instance. You may also develop methods for resolving potential conflict surrounding a carrier's behavior, such as eating habits, drug and alcohol use, or any mixed emotions with regards to your sexual orientation or gender identity.

Discussion of Process: Your psychosocial screening will also help make sure you are informed of all medical protocol involved in a surrogacy journey. This can include: risk of unsuccessful cycles, the number of embryos typically transferred, the possibility of conceiving multiple children, the option to reduce or terminate a pregnancy, and a discussion surrounding disposition of any extra embryos following a successful pregnancy and birth.

Introduction of Medical Professionals: A surrogacy journey requires a wide array of medical professionals. You psychosocial evaluation will also help you understand the roles of the medical professionals involved, and what you can expect from each.

Rights of Gestational Carrier: Your counselor will seek to ensure you have a good understanding of the rights of your gestational carrier throughout the surrogacy journey. Your gestational carrier, for instance, will always have the right to make a decision over her body. She can refuse to accept medical interventions or testing, for instance, and must agree to the number of embryos to be transferred.

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The psychosocial screening shouldn't be something to fear. Counseling should be viewed as a great opportunity for you, your partner, and your gestational carrier to prepare for the experience. The process can be long and emotionally draining for all involved, but with a little preparation, you can anticipate and plan for your needs, as well as those of your gestational carrier, to make sure your journey is a success.


More for gay men considering surrogacy:

Thinking of asking your sister to serve as your egg donor?

5 Questions Gay Men Should Ask a Surrogacy Agency

7 Tips to Consider When Choosing Your Surrogate or Gestational Carrier

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Become a Gay Dad

Jewish Agency to Help Cover the Costs of Surrogacy for Gay Couples

Isaac Herzog, of the Jewish Agency's Chairman of the Executive, has made it a priority to support employees family-planning journeys, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

According to an article in the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Agency for Israel is about to become first state organization to provide financial assistance to gay employees seeking child surrogacy services overseas. The move is intended to help offset the high costs associated with conducting surrogacy abroad.

The move to do so was led by Isaac Herzog, the Jewish Agency's Chairman of the Executive, who has made it a priority to support employees family-planning journeys, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The decision will apply to the agency's roughly 1,250 employees. The loans can be used to help cover the costs of necessary medical procedures before surrogacy, and for the process of surrogacy itself, the article notes.

Last year, in a controversial move, the Israeli government expanded the ability of single women to access surrogacy services in the country, but excluded single men and gay couples from the policy.

Herzog said the following in announcing the new initiative:

"We are also making a symbolic statement, because it reflects the egalitarian stance of a large organization that is recognizing the right of every man or woman to actualize their wish to be parents and to raise a family, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. The Jewish Agency is one big family, and all its members are equal."

Gay Dad Life

Why Date Night Is So Important

When you're a parent, time alone with your significant other isn't a luxury — it's a necessity.

Even before the morning sunlight — and my eyelids — have lifted, I'm reminded that I'm somebody's father. It's usually around 5:40am when my 8-year old son Maxwell pokes his head into our room shouting "cock-a-doodle-doo" at the top of his lungs. He's usually wearing an adorably comfy onesie, a look he thankfully refuses to retire. His rooster call is followed up with strict demands in quick succession:

"Warm milk!"

"Turn on the lights."

"Where's your phone?"

"Put on Nick Jr."

"Feed me yogurt while I play Fortnite!" (Note: we don't… well… anymore.)

This Groundhog Day routine follows us as we pick out his clothes for the day —"Comfy camouflage t-shirt and sweat pants!" he insists (shoot me now). We then make him breakfast, prepare his packed lunch and then make sure his completed homework is in his schoolbag.

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Change the World

In a First, Scottish Gay Male Couple Offered IVF Treatment by NHS

But the government stressed gay couples will still be responsible for finding a surrogate

In a first, the National Health Service (NHS) in Britain is offering to fund an IVF treatment for two gay men forming their family via surrogacy. Previously, the NHS had refused to do so because of a ban on funding such treatment when a surrogate is involved. Two years ago, the Scottish government changed the law to allow any couple to be eligible. There have been no other cases of IVF treatment for people in England and Wales.

According to the Daily Mail, the Scottish couple (who requested anonymity) revealed they had been granted NHS treatment when they posted an appeal online for an egg donor.

"Our NHS clinic don't have any anonymous egg donors, they advised us we would need to find a known egg donor," the posting said. "Any suggestions how to go about it?"

After a friend voiced surprise that the NHS was offering gay couples treatment, one of the men replied, "it's a new service they offer in Scotland… we only found out [about it] when the GP referred us."

The move was welcomed by LGBTQ groups in England. Stonewall said: 'We welcome any move that ensures lesbian, gay, bi and trans people have fair and equal access to fertility treatment.'

When the Daily Mail reached out to the Scottish government for comment, they confirm fertility treatment for same-sex male couples using a surrogate. But they also emphasized gay men would be responsible for finding their own surrogate.

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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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.


Fatherhood, the gay way

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