What Is Surrogacy? A Guide for Gay Men

What is surrogacy, and what can gay men expect if they pursue this path to parenthood? For gay men specifically, surrogacy is the arrangement or legal agreement whereby a woman carries a pregnancy for a single gay man or gay couple who will become the newborn's father(s) at birth. The surrogate relinquishes any biological tie or maternal role to the baby.

The process requires either in vitro fertilization (IVF) in order to place the fertilized egg into the surrogate's uterus, or intrauterine insemination (IUI) to impregnate the surrogate. An IUI can only be used for traditional surrogacy.For most gay men, creating a family through surrogacy is the only opportunity to have a paternal biological connection with their children.


Here are some common answers to common questions gay men have around the surrogacy process:

What is Traditional Surrogacy?


Traditional surrogacy is when the surrogate is both the egg donor and the carrier for the intended parents. Therefore, the surrogate is also the biological mother of the child. This type of surrogacy is usually less expensive, and it is also less common. Most gay men choose not to go this route unless they want the surrogate to play a role in their child's life.

​What is Gestational Surrogacy?


Gestational surrogacy is when the gay man or couple use a donor egg. The biological father's sperm is used to fertilize the egg, and then the embryo is transferred to the uterus of a surrogate (also called a gestational carrier). Therefore, the surrogate/gestational carrier is not related to the child. Some gay couples choose to have two embryos implanted, each genetically related to one of them.

The rate of success with both types of surrogacy depends on a variety of factors, such as the age and health of the surrogate, egg donor and carrier.

What is Altruistic Surrogacy?


Altruistic surrogacy is when the surrogate carries a pregnancy for the intended parents without any financial compensation other than (sometimes) covering any out-of-pocket medical expenses. This form of surrogacy is the only form that is legal in Canada, the U.K., Ireland, and the majority of Australia, but not always to foreigners. We have shared several stories in which gay dad families are created through altruistic surrogacy, usually with a sister or other relative of one of the dads taking on the role of altruistic surrogate: Ewan and Paul, Salim and Jeff. Still, others use relatives as egg donors, like Ken and Scott.

What is Commercial Surrogacy?


Commercial surrogacy is when the surrogate is rewarded a compensation fee, which goes beyond medical expenses and any out-of-pocket expenses to include a fee for her role helping the intended become dads.

America is one of the few places where commercial surrogacy is an option for gay men, but it can be an expensive journey, which is where the organization Men Having Babies can prove to be quite helpful as they do provide different levels of financial support.

​What other resources are available for gay men interested in surrogacy?


Before you get started on your own surrogacy journey, we encourage you to read these six important surrogacy tips that every prospective gay dad should know and here's an updated overview of surrogacy options around the globe.

Watch our video to learn what to look for in a surrogacy agency and fertility clinic, and to learn about surrogacy for HIV-positive gay men.






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