Become a Gay Dad

4 Legal Questions Gay Men Interested in Surrogacy Will Encounter

Gay men interested in surrogacy need to know that laws governing the process vary state to state

There are a number of legal considerations every gay man interested in creating a family through surrogacy should know. Be aware that laws, and your options, vary from state to state. Below are the first three legal consideration every gay man will encounter in this process. Want a more general overview of surrogacy? Check out this surrogacy guide for gay men.



Is Surrogacy Legal in My State?

Laws governing surrogacy vary widely state by state, so it's important to know what is and is not permitted where you live. First, though, we need to define the difference between "traditional," and "gestational" surrogacy as the laws governing each can differ across the country.

In traditional surrogacy, as opposed to gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is both the egg donor and the carrier for the intended parents, and therefore is genetically linked to the resulting child.

Traditional surrogacy provides gay men and couples a unique opportunity to have their own biological child, but the practice is not legal everywhere in the United States. Check here to see where your state falls.

In gestational surrogacy, the egg donor is a separate person from the surrogate, meaning she will not be genetically linked to the resulting child. Gestational surrogacy provides gay men and couples a unique opportunity to have their own biological child, but the practice is not legal everywhere in the United States. Check here to see where same-sex couples can use gestational surrogacy to become fathers.

Need some help understanding some of this surrogacy jargon? Don't worry, you're not alone! Check out this glossary of surrogacy terms every gay man should know.

Do I Need to Hire a Surrogacy Attorney?

Yes. Your surrogacy attorney will handle the contract between the dad or dad-to-be, also knows as the intended parent(s), and the egg donor. The contract spells out what rights the egg donor is releasing by going through this process, allowing the intended dad or dads to become the sole parent(s).

The attorney will need to obtain a court order terminating the birth mother's parental rights to the child. This sometimes happens after the birth based upon the contract signed among the parties. There can also be a court order issued before the birth that allows for the dad or dads to be listed on the birth certificate.

If there was no court order before the birth, the surrogacy attorney will need to amend the birth certificate to reflect the names of the intended parent(s) and not the birth mother, which would appear automatically at the time of birth along with the name of the father who donated the sperm.

Will I Need to Undergo a Stepparent Adoption?

It will be important for the non-biological father to secure his legal protections through a stepparent adoption. Although gay marriage is now legal across the nation and same-sex couples are no longer banned from being parents, the laws of some states may still ban surrogacy contracts. And in some of these states, it may not be enough that both gay dads are listed on the birth certificate. Therefore, it is wise for the non-biological dad to secure rights as a legal parent through a court in the state your surrogacy legally took place through stepparent adoption. That way, if you or your partner ever moves to a state that does not recognize surrogacy, you will already be deemed a legal parent by the court order of another state.

This process is easier than a traditional adoption because it does not require a court investigation or hearing. You must be married to or in a registered domestic partnership with the birth parent of the child (the sperm-donating father). You must present the surrogacy contract and other paperwork to the court showing that the egg donor has released her parental rights. You or your attorney must fill out the adoption request paperwork, file them with the court, and you will be approved as the legal parent of the child. Read more about the legal process of stepparent adoption here.

Considering International Surrogacy? Check Out These Considerations

There are many risks in an international surrogacy that should be balanced with the cost-saving benefits. Here's what you need to know:

A child born abroad will be a U.S. Citizen only if there is a DNA test proving that the father is a U.S. Citizen. Additionally, a U.S. Citizen using a foreign surrogate will need to apply through the local consular agency or embassy for a "Consular Report of Birth Abroad" in order for the child to be issued a U.S. passport and be eligible to travel back to the U.S.

There are many other health, safety, and legal concerns in a foreign surrogacy that require the expertise of immigration and family law attorneys. Please see this summary from the U.S. Department of State for more information.

Also be sure to read these five questions every gay man should ask prior to embarking on about international surrogacy.

Surrogacy is a complicated legal process that varies drastically based on the particulars of your situation. This article is intended to be a general guide and should not be construed as legal advice. Only a licensed attorney in your state can advise you on your legal rights and obligations.

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Become a Gay Dad

Why One Gay Dad is Unapologetically Embracing Christmas Early This Year

By decorating for Christmas early this year, Erik says they aren't replacing Thanksgiving--just enhancing it


With everything going on in our country, I think saying that it has been a crazy year is an understatement. It has been emotionally difficult and draining at times for many. This year brought so many new changes that it is hard to wrap our minds around some of them. The daunting feeling of uncertainty looms over our heads as we march deeper into this unfamiliar territory led by someone that is so disconnected and embarrassing.

We can take solace in knowing that a new change is on the horizon and the midterm election a couple of weeks ago proved it. We are sick of being led by a tyrant. We want a leader to be proud of. We want a role model for our children, and I have all the faith in the world that we will find that perfect statesman. When we do, all of our hearts will know it. In the meantime, let us focus our positive energy on our beautiful and diverse families all across this amazing country.

Change is hard. Change is brutal. But a lot of times, change is beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes longer than we had hoped. With that said, one thing will not change- the holidays. For most families, this time of year brings cheer, joy, hope, and optimism for the new year to come.

I have always had one golden rule when it comes to decorating our home for the holidays: the current holiday must pass before decorating for another. Last year, our 3 year old developed an appreciation for all that Christmas brings. Now, her year and a half old little sister has now started to love it too. The way they both light up and get excited when they see Christmas decorations made me re-evaluate for the first time in my life, what if I changed things up this year? Decorating earlier will also help attenuate the political frustration that this year brought. That coupled with the amazement that our little girls have for Christmas makes a strong case for decorating for Christmas early. Sure, there are diehard Thanksgiving fans that grumble at the thought of Christmas coming early and I am sure they will give this a healthy eye roll and, if so, that's ok.

We are not replacing Thanksgiving. I like to think that we are just enhancing it. We will most definitely continue to teach our children the meaning of Thanksgiving and to enjoy the symbolic feast that comes along with it. The white pumpkins I usually put out for Thanksgiving really made a statement when I mixed them with the Christmas attire. I was quite surprised and impressed by the final outcome.

These days, one of my primary goals in life is to create an environment for my family that is happy, healthy, and nurturing. I want them to get excited about Christmas, both the true meaning and the atmosphere that it brings. When my children walk into the house, I want them to be transported into a bright, cheerful place that they will always remember. Perhaps it will even inspire the way they celebrate the holidays with their families (and our future grandchildren) in the future. The world can be a harsh, cold and scary place, especially more lately it seems. I would be lying if I said I didn't do this for myself too. I am. For the first time in my life, I am worried for the future of our country. I am terrified of the direction we as Americans have taken and it is setting a precedent on what the future will be like for my family. For example, mass shootings that seem to happen monthly now met with the lack of response followed by a series of excuses by our leaders along with the bigotry and racism masked by patriotism that plague our society. I know I am speaking of sore subjects, but all of these reasons give me the motivation for welcoming the Christmas season earlier.


I do have faith that in time, competent leaders will emerge and will steer us in a direction that will help fade our fear into the bold and lionhearted society that we are. Voices were heard a couple of weeks ago. This was the most diverse group of elected officials on record! There is a fire that has been ignited within us and time will allow it to spread. That fire is coming in the form of what we all have hoped for- Change.

We as LGBTQ families need to comfort one another. Lets extend our hands to each other. Let this holiday season not be about the "correct" time in which we decorate for Christmas, moreover lets make it about coming together as a community that lifts each other up. Lets protect each other. Lets embrace each other for all the we are, all that we bring and all that we stand for. Let us not be silenced- and pushed into a corner but let us lead by example- while showing our children who their parents are by being respectful, tolerant and warmhearted as we welcome this Christmas season.

May you and your family have the most beautiful and happiest of holidays, regardless of when you choose to welcome Christmas. I pray that 2019 will bring each of you happiness, patience, resilience and with time, we will get there, together!

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Gay Belgian Dads Give Detailed Account of Their Two Surrogacy Journeys in the U.S.

Gay dads Wim and Dirk pen a detailed essay to give a glimpse into what the surrogacy process is like in the United States as a foreigner.

Written by dads Wim and Dirk.

At first we didn't know about the surrogacy possibilities in the United States, so we prepared ourselves for adoption. We followed the mandatory adoption courses, as most gay couples in Belgium do when they want to have children. We started with the international adoption course but when most countries closed international adoption for gays we decided to give up international adoption and go for national adoption. While we were in the process of being evaluated (psychologically, financially, ...) we read an article in a newspaper about a gay couple that was expecting a child through surrogacy. We managed to contact them and they've told us their surrogacy journey.

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5 Questions Gay Men Should Ask Themselves Before Starting Surrogacy

Here are five questions gay men should make sure they have the answers to before starting a surrogacy journey

Photo credit: Melissa Bissell Photography

Babies are the best! And growing your family through surrogacy is an amazing experience for everyone involved. There is a tremendous amount of planning, a detailed process and a rollercoaster of emotions that go along with it.

Before you begin your surrogacy journey, here are 5 questions you should ask yourself – and have the answers to! – to help ensure the smoothest journey possible.

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Gay Dad Life

Gay Dad Creates a New Kind of LGBT Children's Book

Titled, "What Does a Princess Really Look Like?" the book differentiates itself from most other LGBT picture books. Namely, the story doesn't explain, clarify or justify its gay characters (who are dads). The characters are just a natural part of the story - the new normal.

Gay dad Mark Loewen's children's book debut made a splash in the children's LGBT literature pool this year.

Titled, "What Does a Princess Really Look Like?" the book differentiates itself from most other LGBT picture books. Namely, the story doesn't explain, clarify or justify its gay characters (who are dads). The characters are just a natural part of the story - the new normal.

"What Does a Princess Really Look Like?" is the story of Chloe, a girl who loves princesses. As she sets out to craft an imaginary princess out of paper, yarn, and colored pencils, she becomes disillusioned with the importance of beauty. Chloe realizes that the power of a princess is not in how she looks to others, but in the change she can affect around her. More than looks, her princess values knowledge, bravery, strength, assertiveness, and kindness.

"In a way, Chloe's experience is the LGBT experience," explains Loewen, "but I didn't realize this until after I finished the book. I grew up very concerned about how others saw me. Then I found my own happiness when I learned to look past other's opinions of me, and appreciate who and how I was."

Another key element of the message in this book comes at the end of the story. Chloe's dads help her realize what a princess is not: perfect. "Being OK with being imperfect has been one the most freeing lessons I've learned. And I want my daughter to get this message early on. We should aim to be the best we can, but if we aim to be perfect, we'll surely fail."

Loewen's book tour started in Provincetown, MA, during Family Week, a weeklong gathering of LGBT families, organized by Family Equality Council and Colage. "I can't describe what it feels like when I read my book to children who have LGBT parents, and when I turn to the page that shows Chloe dancing with her two dads. Their eyes sparkle with excitement as they see themselves in the story," Loewen describes.

Loewen's book was named one of 20 LGBT Books for Preschoolers to High School Kids in a post by the parenting site scareymommy.com. It was included in the online review magazine, Children's Bookwatch. Midwest Book Review described the book as, "A unique, entertaining, and iconoclastic picture story from beginning to end."

Bestselling author Rachel Simmons (The Curse of the Good Girl) praised "What Does a Princess Really Look Like?" for "helping girls expand their definition of what a princess can truly be." Katherine Wintsch, founder of The Mom Complex, endorsed the book for delivering "the right message at the right time for the next generation of brave young women." The librarian ran website, www.bendybookworm.com, described the book as "the beginning of a new Manifesto of Beauty for young girls."

Finally, www.mombian.com, a website for lesbian mothers, speaks to the LGBT aspect of Loewen's book. "I love that this is an LGBTQ-inclusive children's book with a message, but that the message isn't about LGBTQ identity. Not that that's not an important topic—but we LGBTQ parents and our children have multifaceted identities, and sometimes we want books that speak to other parts of us, while still showing families that look like ours."

Giving visibility to families with two dads is also Loewen's goal, and why he shares many of his family's experiences on Instagram and Facebook.

For more information about Mark Loewen and his upcoming projects visit his website. Mark is also the founder of www.bravelikeagirl.com, a website that helps parents who are raising girls.

"What Does a Princess Really Look Like?" is available on Amazon, or anywhere books are sold.

Fun

Check Out this Amazing Xmas Tree Cake Recipe By the Dad Behind "Preppy Kitchen"

We're thrilled to be working with John Kanell, the gay dad behind the popular "Preppy Kitchen" account, to bring you some amazing holiday recipes! First up: learn how to "paint with buttercream" in this incredible Christmas Tree Cake recipe

My husband and I love entertaining during the holidays, and a great cake is often the focal point for our gatherings. For this Christmas Tree Cake, I made a spicy gingerbread batter for the layers and piped a two-tone swirl of Italian meringue buttercream in between each layer. The red batch is spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, and cloves, while the white part is a mellow vanilla flavor. For those who don't know, Italian meringue buttercream is creamy, less sweet than your average frosting and PERFECT for cake decorating as it's quite smooth. I "painted" the tree on with a pallet knife and dusted it with confectioner's sugar for a snowy effect. My twin boys were mesmerized by the process as they watched from their highchairs. Maybe next year they'll be able to help out!


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Expert Advice

How to Get Your Little Ones to Eat (and Enjoy!) Their Vegetables

Meet David and Danny fathers and founders of Kekoa Foods sharing some tips on how to keep your little ones eating their healthy vegetables during the hecticness of the holidays.


Watch:

Tip Number 1 – Try to prepare your own meals with fresh ingredients. Doing so gives you better control over the amount of sugar, sodium and cholesterol you and your family consume.

Tip Number 2 – Experiment in your kitchen with herbs and spices you haven't used before. Some items we've added in recent years include cumin, tarragon, curry, turmeric and ginger. Start slowly, though, you can always add more next time.

Tip Number 3 – Use veggies instead of pasta to get more veggies in your diet. We like spaghetti squash, zucchini and beets for this purpose and toss them with our favorite sauce.

Tip Number 4 – Instead of adding cream to veggie dishes to get your kids to eat them, sprinkle them with just a touch of parmesan cheese and add fresh lemon juice. It enhances flavor without adding a significant amount of cholesterol or fat.

Sponsored

A 'Men Having Babies' Conference Started These Happy New Dads on Their Path to Parenthood

In the Bay Area? Sign up now for the next Men Having Babies Conference taking place this January 12-13!

Last year, after 12 years together, Jimmy Nguyen and Michael Duque were finally ready to become dads. And so in 2017 they began their journey to fatherhood. Little did they know how quickly that would become a reality. What began with a serendipitous sighting of an ad for an upcoming Men Having Babies conference resulted in the joyous birth of their son in October 2018. Here's their story.

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