Surrogacy for Gay Men

Surrogacy Glossary: Terms Every Gay Dad Needs to Know

Researching surrogacy but feel like it’s all Ancient Greek to you? You’re not alone! The surrogacy process is filled with jargon, so we’ve started this surrogacy glossary of commonly used terms every gay dad should know as he embarks on the surrogacy journey.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

Surrogacy Glossary

Altruistic Surrogacy: A type of surrogacy during which the surrogate volunteers to carry a child for intended parents, and receives no compensation. Also known as Compassionate Surrogacy.

Anonymous Egg Donor: A situation where intended parents, and/or any resulting child born through a surrogacy process, are unaware of the identity of an egg donor.

Artificial (or Assisted) Insemination: The medical procedure during which sperm from the intended biological father is inserted into a woman’s cervix, fallopian tubes, or uterus. Also known as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI).

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART): Umbrella term for technologies used to achieve pregnancy in procedures such as Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Surrogacy.

Carrier: A woman who carries a child for separate intended parents. A (gestational) carrier is also sometimes referred to as a Surrogate.

Carrier Contract: See Surrogacy Contract.

Contract: Also known as a Surrogacy Contract or Carrier Contract, this is a legal agreement contract between the intended parents and a surrogate, which will be created through terms negotiated by lawyers. It’s important to research the surrogacy laws in your state to make sure that contracts are always legal or enforceable in a court of law.

Compassionate Surrogacy: A type of surrogacy during which the surrogate volunteers to carry a child for intended parents, and receives no compensation. Also known as Altruistic Surrogacy.

Commercial Surrogacy: See Compensated Surrogacy.

Compensated Surrogacy: Also sometimes known as Commercial Surrogacy, this is a type of surrogacy during which a surrogate is compensated for carrying a child for intended parents. Typically, the terms of a compensated surrogacy are negotiated in a contract. Compensated surrogacy is not legal or enforceable everywhere, so it’s important to research the laws in your state prior to entering into a contract.

Cryopreservation: A process that allows fertilized eggs to be frozen (cryopreserved) for use in later embryo transfers.

Egg Donor: A woman who donates a number of her eggs to intended parents for use in an IVF procedure.

Egg Retrieval: A medical procedure during which eggs are removed from the egg donor for fertilization.

Embryo: The resulting organism after a female egg is fertilized by male sperm. See also Fetus.

Embryo Transfer: The process of transferring a fertilized embryo into a surrogate’s uterus.

Fertilization: The process by which sperm from an intended father fertilizes an egg to produce an embryo.

Fertility Clinic: A medical clinic where medical procedures associated with the surrogacy process are performed.

Fetus: An unborn child, from the eighth week to birth; before the eighth week the term Embryo is used.

Frozen Embryo: A process that allows fertilized eggs to be frozen (cryopreserved) for use in later embryo transfers.

Gestational Carrier: A woman who carries a child for separate intended parents. A (gestational) carrier is also sometimes referred to as a Surrogate.

Gestational Surrogacy: In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate carries an embryo created with eggs that are not her own but from a donor, for intended parents. Therefore, she is not genetically related to the baby. This is contrasted with Traditional Surrogacy, in which the carrier also serves as the egg donor, and thus is the biological mother of the resulting child.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): is an assisted reproductive technology used to enhance the fertilization phase of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) by injecting a single sperm into a mature egg.

Intended Parent(s): a single person or couple who will become the legal parent of a child born through surrogacy.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): See Artificial (or Assisted) Insemination.

In Vitro Fertilization: More commonly known by its acronym IVF, this is a medical process during which eggs are fertilized by sperm outside of the womb.

IUI or Intrauterine Insemination: See Artificial (or Assisted) Insemination.

IVF: See In Vitro Fertilization.

Known Egg Donor: A situation where intended parents, and potentially any resulting child born through a surrogacy process, are aware of the identity of an egg donor.

Matching: The process intended parents undergo to find a surrogate and/or egg donor.

Multiples: A term that refers to the heightened potential in an IVF procedure of conceiving two or more children when more than one embryo is transferred.

Multifetal Pregnancy Reduction or (MFPR): Also known as Selective Reduction, it is the practice of reducing the number of fetuses in a multifetal pregnancy, say quadruplets, to a twin or singleton pregnancy. Selective reduction is done for both medical and non-medical reasons.

Pre-Birth Order: A court order, obtained prior to the birth of a child, that will place all parental rights and responsibilities with the intended parents, rather than the surrogate. This order typically allows intended parents to place both names on the birth certificate after birth.

Post-Birth Order: A court order, obtained after the birth of a child, that will place all parental rights and responsibilities with the intended parents, rather than the surrogate. Typically, this order will remove the surrogate’s name from the birth certificate and replace it with the name(s) of the intended parents.

Selective reduction: Also known as Multifetal Pregnancy Reduction or (MFPR), it is the practice of reducing the number of fetuses in a multifetal pregnancy, say quadruplets, to a twin or singleton pregnancy. Selective reduction is done for both medical and non-medical reasons.

Surrogacy Contract: Also known as a Carrier Contract, this is a legal agreement contract between the intended parents and a surrogate, which will be created through terms negotiated by lawyers. It’s important to research the surrogacy laws in your state to make sure that contracts are always legal or enforceable in a court of law.

Surrogate: A woman who carries a child for separate intended parents. A surrogate is also sometimes referred to as a (Gestational) Carrier.

Traditional Surrogacy: In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is both the egg donor and carrier of a child for intended intended parents. Therefore, she will be the biological mother of the resulting child. This is contrasted with Gestational Surrogacy, in which the carrier does not serve as the egg donor, and thus will not be the biological mother of the resulting child.

If you're considering adoption, read ourAdoption Glossary: Terms Every Adoptive Gay Dad Needs to Know.”

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Surrogacy for Gay Men

What Professionals Will I Work With on a Surrogacy Journey?

There will be LOTS of people involved in your surrogacy journey. Kristin Marsoli of Circle Surrogacy breaks down the team of people you can expect to work with.

A surrogacy journey, while monumental, is also a complex process with multiple milestones, many of which are new territory for intended parents. You will likely form the strongest relationships with your egg donor and surrogate, however there are many other professionals who you'll encounter on your journey who will educate and support you on your way to parenthood.

Here are the types of professionals you can expect to work with on your surrogacy journey working with an agency such as Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation:

Parent Outreach Team

When you start your research on surrogacy and surrogacy agencies, if you contact Circle Surrogacy, your first point of contact will be a member of our Parent Outreach Team. This person solely supports intended parents at the very beginning stages of their journeys, before they've signed on with an agency. The Parent Outreach Team is a wonderful resource to answer questions about the surrogacy process, surrogacy costs, how to choose an agency and more. At Circle, many of our Parent Outreach Associates are also parents through surrogacy, so they can share their experiences and understand exactly what it's like to be in your shoes. When you have your surrogacy consultation, you'll meet with a Parent Outreach Associate and a Lawyer to discuss your personal surrogacy needs and journey. Your Parent Outreach Team will support you through signing on with the agency.

Circle's Parent Outreach Team

Egg Donation Matching Coordinator

It's time to match with the first of two women who will be very important in your journey to parenthood: your egg donor! Selecting an egg donor may come easy to some, but others may take more time determining their perfect match. Our egg donor coordination team will help you find the right egg donor to meet your needs. They will help you navigate the egg donor database and coordinate your egg donor match.

IVF Doctor and Clinic Coordinators

You'll work closely with your IVF clinic professionals, including coordinators and, especially, your doctor. Your IVF doctor will advise you on your IVF journey and embryos, evaluate your egg donor and surrogate to determine they are ready for the process medically, and perform the egg retrieval and embryo transfer. Some intended parents come to surrogacy having already identified a clinic, others look for guidance in choosing a clinic that will best suit their needs.

Program Manager and Coordinator

Perhaps the professionals you will work the closest with will be your Program Manager (PM) and Program Coordinator (PC). As your journey support team, your PC and/or PM will be your day-to-day contact during your entire journey, from the moment you sign on with the agency, until the birth of your baby and beyond. Your PC and your PM ensure that you are meeting every milestone, having a smooth journey, and preparing for the arrival of your baby(ies).

Social Workers

Early on in your journey, you'll have an intended parent support call with one of the agency's social workers. During this call, you'll speak with the social worker about your upcoming journey, setting up expectations, talk about matching preferences and more. Social workers are also available to intended parents throughout their journey should they have a bump in the road, or if they need help navigating and talking through a situation.

L-R Alicia Abdella, Manager of Intended Parent Support and Social Worker, Jessica McCaffrey, Intended Parent Attorney and Scott Buckley, VP of Client Services

Lawyers (both at Circle and local attorneys)

During the surrogacy process you will work with a lawyer for the following milestones:

  • Drafting, negotiating and finalizing your surrogacy contracts
  • Establishing your parental rights
  • Safely returning home

Intended parents will be assigned a Circle attorney who will be part of the Coordination team. Parents can also expect to work with local counsel – lawyers who work out of the state from which their gestational carrier resides. Local counsel will help with establishing parental rights.

Surrogate Matching Team

A key milestone during your surrogacy journey is matching with your gestational carrier. At Circle, the Matching Manager – who is also a lawyer – presents intended parents with the profile of a gestational carrier whom she believes will be a great match. The match is based on a few criteria: legal fit, personality fit, geographic location and views on surrogacy. The Matching Team will help coordinate your first call with your potential surrogate, and work with you to find the most suitable match.

Trust Accountant Team

Each surrogacy operates a little differently; however if you work with a full-service agency such as Circle Surrogacy, a Trust Accountant will manage any outgoing payments to surrogates, egg donors and third parties. Upon matching, trust accountants keep intended parents informed of the monies needed to fund all expected expenses up until 6 months post delivery. They can also answer any financial questions intended parents may have.

Medical Billing Team

Intended parents will interact with the Medical Billing Team when they are matched with their gestational carrier. The team determines what intended parents can expect to pay for medical expenses from local monitoring, pregnancy and delivery, based on their specific case. The Medical Billing Team also reviews each medical bill from monitoring, physicians and the hospital prior to payment to ensure accuracy, and advocate for intended parents should medical facilities need to be called for any discrepancies.

Gestational Carrier's OBGYN

Around the 10th week of pregnancy, the IVF clinic will discharge your surrogate from their care and she will start seeing her OBGYN. Your surrogate will select her OBGYN that is local to her, and usually the same doctor she saw for her own pregnancies. Many intended parents attend the 20-week ultrasound with their surrogate, at which time they meet the OBGYN in person (in some cases, IPs have been "attended" ultrasound appointments via video on their surrogate's phone!).

The entire team at Circle

Hospital Staff

Your baby will be delivered at a hospital in your gestational carrier's home state; many times, it's the hospital where she delivered her own children. Circle recommends touring the Labor & Delivery section of your surrogate's hospital to help familiarize yourself with its staff and layout in advance. Many intended parents combine their visit for the 20-week ultrasound and the hospital tour. Touring the hospital with your surrogate enables you both to ask questions of the hospital staff and prepare for baby's delivery.

Embassy personnel (international intended parents)

International parents will work with their agency's legal team as well as local counsel to ensure they can return home safely. Some intended parents will need to travel to the embassy to secure travel documents for their baby(ies).

There are so many experienced professionals involved in a surrogacy and egg donation journey. It's important to understand with whom you'll be working throughout each milestone. While every agency operates differently – and an independent surrogacy journey will involve fewer agency professionals – these are the professionals intended parents can expect to work with on a journey with Circle Surrogacy. And because Circle is a full-service agency, many of the professionals mentioned above – outside of IVF clinics, local attorneys, hospital and embassy personnel – are all under one roof, making the management of your journey smooth and secure.

Surrogacy for Gay Men

'Broadway Husbands' Meet Potential Surrogate for First Time

Bret and Stephen talk about meeting their potential surrogate for the first time, and their second "team day" at RMA of Connecticut

In their latest video documenting their surrogacy journey, Bret and Stephen talk about meeting their potential surrogate and her husband for the first time.

Bret played tour guide for the couple, he said, who had never been to New York.

"It was super exciting, I think we were a little nervous," Bret said. "Would we even recognize each other even though we'd FaceTime'd each other? Would there be weird things, ticks we didn't catch? I was worried that I would weird them out, which I think I did."

"He did," said Stephen with a smile.

In the rest of the video, Bret and Stephen talk about their second "team day" at RMA of Connecticut, where the husbands had another opportunity to meet and greet all the professionals involved in their journey.

Check out more videos from the Broadway Husbands here!

Broadway Husbands Talk Second Team Day

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

Bret and Stephen discuss meeting their potential surrogate for the first time in person (0:43)

The dads-to-be chat about about their emotions around meeting their potential surrogate for the first time (1:15)

Recap of their first Team Day with RMA of Connecticut (watch the video about their first Team Day here) (1:38)

Bret and Stephen describe what's involved in their second Team Day and the medical side of matching with their surrogate (2:25)

They discuss the group therapy session with their surrogate and her husband (3:18)

They husbands wrap up by talking about their overall experience with RMA of Connecticut (4:51)

Gay Parents To Be®

Gay Parents To Be® is the leading international fertility program serving the LGBTQ community. Our full-suite of fertility services was founded by our Medical Director, Dr. Mark Leondires, a gay dad through surrogacy and egg donation, and leading advocate for the LGBTQ family-building community. Gay Parents To Be® is a single-source destination with a trusted partner network, including surrogacy and egg donation agencies and reproductive attorneys. We are the only East Coast IVF Clinic designated as a fully-inclusive LGBTQ Healthcare Leader by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) .

When you're ready, we're here to welcome you: https://www.GayParentsToBe.com




Surrogacy for Gay Men

Gay Dads Ask: Can We Make Surrogacy Cheaper?

The guys behind Daddy Squared are back with the second season of their podcast! And they're starting by tackling a common question: why is surrogacy so expensive?

Through our podcast we have met so many dads in various stages of the parenthood journey. But whether it's in gay dad Facebook groups or in face-to-face interaction, there's no doubt that the biggest issue gay dads tackle is the cost of surrogacy.

Bringing a biological baby into the world can cost $180,000. For twins it can be around a quarter million. The biggest question is: Can we make it cheaper?

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Brief History of Gay Times

Ferd van Gameren, a co-founder of Gays With Kids, gives a personal history of gay pride celebrations over the years

In 1994, my then-boyfriend Brian and I drove to New York City for Gay Pride.

We had met the year before at Mike's Gym, an almost exclusively gay gym in Boston's South End. A friend of Brian's somehow knew I was from Holland; that's how I believe my nickname Tulip came about.

(Come to think of it: Brian used to say that he'd prefer tulips on his organ to a rose on his piano.)

A quick glance at me in the locker room taught him what religion I wasn't.

And a friend of mine had already divulged to me what Brian had told him in confidence: He was HIV-positive.

Anyway, we met. We really liked each other. Then, on the third date, Brian revealed to me in a shaky voice what I already knew. We had our first, very careful sex that night.

We fell in love. We had dates in the South End, then a largely gay neighborhood. We made friends that were mostly gay. (But not exclusively; we befriended some lesbians too.) We went to see "Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss" and other little indie films that were, yes, gay, gay, gay.

With an AIDS diagnosis looming, we had no time to lose. Some of our new friends were getting sicker. Some died. Barely six months after the first kiss, we moved in together.

At that New York Pride, gay life was celebrated in the face of death. We saw men marching with dark Kaposi sarcoma lesions on their bared chests. We saw young men leaning on canes, too sick to walk, watching the parade from the sidelines. Men blind with cytomegalovirus loudly singing along to "Pride ­­– A Deeper Love" coming from the floats. We chanted and cried and watched a giant rainbow flag being carried along Fifth Avenue. And in our cut-off jeans and Timberland boots, we danced to Aretha and Whitney.

And then, thanks to enormous medical advances, the unthinkable happened for us: Brian stayed alive and healthy. As our horizon of life opened up, we learned to look ahead farther. We made plans for a future together that wasn't just measured in weeks or months.

We loved New York, and so we found jobs there and moved to Manhattan. Forced by my immigration issues we decamped temporarily to cold but wonderful Toronto, repatriated to New York five years later, and in 2017 returned to the Boston area.

We went from boyfriends to partners (for many years our term of choice), briefly to ex-partners, to partners again, and finally, in 2013, to husbands.

We got our first dog in 2005, a saucy Chihuahua named Duke, and showered him with love and attention. It awakened something in us that had long been dormant. But could we, at our age? Would Brian stay healthy?

Our answers were yes and yes. In 2009 we adopted a baby boy. Seventeen months later our two daughters were born.

In 2014 Brian began this website, Gays With Kids. So we're still gay, and our kids clearly have gay dads. They dance a mean Time Warp; instead of straight ahead they say gaily forward. They realize everyone is different, and they seem to like it that way.

But we live now in a predominantly straight suburb with an excellent school system. We socialize primarily with straight-but-not-narrow friends. Brian and I tell each other all the time we should really go back to the gym. We watch our little, almost exclusively gay indie films in bed on Netflix and Amazon Prime, after the kids have finally fallen asleep.

We're going to take our kids to New York Pride later this month. I envision something like this: Proudly holding their hands, we'll watch the floats in age-appropriate shorts and sensible footwear. We'll cheer on courageous Mormon or evangelical LGBT contingencies while the kids are busy licking lollipops. They will learn about Stonewall, AIDS and the road to marriage equality. Following the kids' lead, Brian and I will make some moves to "Old Town Road." With them, we'll belt out "Baby, why don't you just meet me in the middle?" And we will dance in the street to Madonna, Cher, Whitney and Gaga, the soundtrack of our lives for so many years.

Over the course of that weekend, in age-appropriate terms, we will tell our kids more about the lives of their daddy and papa.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Do We Have a Biological Right to Fatherhood? Absolutely, Says This Gay Dad

Jay Bostick, a gay foster dad, responds to Kevin Saunders' controversial essay "Why This Adopted Gay Man Will Never Have Children"

Editor's Note: Below is an essay by Jay Bostick who eloquently lays out many of the reasons why he and many other readers were upset by a post we ran yesterday by Kevin Saunders titled, "Why This Adopted Gay Man Will Never Have Children." This post clearly touched a nerve! (Check out the ongoing discussion on our Facebook page.) While some of our readers appreciated Saunders' viewpoint, many others felt slighted by his reasoning for not having children, calling him everything from "self-involved," "selfish," and an "insufferable narcissist." Many other readers rightly questioned why Gays With Kids would even run an essay from a man who does not want children on (of all place) a parenting website.

The former point is a matter of opinion, but I'll offer some clarification on the latter. We agreed to run this post for two reasons. First, Saunders' perspective is unique among many adopted gay men. We have run countless essays on this site featuring adopted gay men who, inspired by their own upbringing, decided to give back by opening up their homes to children who need them. Saunders' experience, however, led him to conscience decision not to have children, a perspective worthy of discussion particularly by anyone who has been touched by adoption in some way. Secondly, as a 52-year-old gay man, Saunders is starting to find himself alienated from many in his LGBTQ peer group for his decision not to have kids. Again, we are so much more familiar with the opposite perspective on our page: when they become parents, many gay men find themselves ostracized from the broader, childless LGBTQ community. That the inverse is also starting to become true is a testament to the increase in LGBTQ parents in the United States, and an interesting dichotomy we believed warranted further exploration.

All that said, Saunders' essay is a matter of opinion, and one our readers (nor we) certainly don't have to agree with. This is why we were thrilled to receive this "counterpoint" to Saunders's essay from Bostick. We, at least, are enjoying the respectful exchange of ideas, and hope you are as well. Give Bostick's essay a read, as well as the original, and then let us know what you think in the comments or at dads@gayswithkids.com.

--David Dodge, Managing Editor

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Adults

Why This Adopted Gay Man Will Never Have Children

Do we have a biological right to parenthood? Kevin Saunders, a childless 52-year-old gay man, says no.

Guest post written by Kevin Saunders.

Two dear friends of mine, each partnered, capable gay men of relatively sound mind and body, have recently decided to become fathers, and I could not be more unnerved. The expense, the risk, the potential for disappointment, the logistical complexity that they must navigate leave me baffled and at times enraged with the lingering question that I have, out of respect, refrained from asking, "WHY, WHY, WHY do you want to do this?!" These feelings toward what most would consider a happy occasion beg a reciprocal enquiry: "Why do you care?" The answer is rooted in a disposition and a history that has left me skeptical of the innate right to biological parenthood that many, gay or straight, seem to feel entitled to.

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Gay Dad Life

Gays WITHOUT Kids (If Just For a Day...)

Andrew Kohn explains why he decided to leave his kids at home this Pride

I'm not a monster. Yes, I saw the wagons carrying lovely toddler children waiving their flags and eating their graham crackers. The children were plentiful wearing their Pride family shirts, bejeweled in rainbow. The weather was perfect and the crowds were as prideful as ever. But my husband and I had a day where we didn't have to worry about someone else, not on the constant lookout for the next available bathroom or calming emotions because we could buy one unicorn costume and not every unicorn costume. We had a day without kids.

Yes, Pride has become commercialized. Some companies want my gay money, but others march and have a presence because one gay voice spoke up and asked why the company hasn't marched. I marched in the parade with my employer – who marched for the first time this year – because I started the conversation about why we hadn't marched before. My husband and I were present. We honored Stonewall. And praised Nina West. And we did it without carrying a bag with extra panties and a couple sippy cups.

Believe me, I get sharing the day with your children. With your family. But in my house, we live Pride every day. Two white dads caring for two black kids makes us walking billboards for equality, love, and acceptance. I don't need a day to celebrate my family with my children. We do it in the grocery store. We do it at preschool. We recognize our uniqueness and celebrate it. My children don't need a meltdown and a long walk to tell them about their history and their fathers' connection to the past.

Instead of worrying about where we would find lunch and, again, where the closest bathroom was, I saw beauty that took me by surprise – and I was able to be in the moment with it. Trans men waking boldly and bravely around only wearing only their bindings. Watching high school kids sitting in the grass, wearing crop tops and eating french fries, literally carefree looking up at the clouds. We experienced a community that was free and uninhibited, if just for one afternoon, where who you are isn't odd or something to be hidden. But rather something that is a definition of you and should be your reality 365 days a year.

I know that being gay and having kids can be overwhelming at times. We ask ourselves if we're representing our community adequately (or have we become too heteronormative?). If we have children of a different race, are we giving them the experiences they need to know who they are, as well as navigate that world with gay parents? Are we so embraced at school functions because of our contributions to community or are we a token family? And yes, I'll ask it, are we good enough for acceptance by all gay families, who as if we're single again, judge each other on wealth, looks, and status? No family is better than any other, and gay parents certainly have opportunities to be better towards one another.

Our Pride ended in a small fight while walking to the car, like all good Pride's should. But it wasn't about kids bickering, or kids getting upset they didn't get the right treat. It was about us centering ourselves in a community that isn't exactly welcoming in certain spaces to gay families other times of the year. It was about us catching up with our past while also seeing our collective future.

And the kids didn't seem to mind. They had fun with a babysitter and lived their Pride out loud when they shopped for daddy and papa gifts for Father's Day. That's our Pride. Maybe when the kids are older, and really get the meaning of Pride, we'll start marching together in solidarity. But for right now, daddies needed a little time alone to reconnect with their LGBT family. And while there may be too many beer ads and not enough voter registration tables, we celebrate visibility and love. And my husband and I had time together, reminding us of who we are, who our original family was, and how we will connect who we are now, and our children, with that family as it grows.

At the end of the day, we're all in it together. And my children will be enriched by the experience. Just not this year. This year, we fertilized our roots so that our branches can grow.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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