These are the main types of professionals you can expect to work with throughout your surrogacy journey.
They say it takes a village to raise a child — but where surrogacy is concerned, this is true just to conceive one. Your surrogacy team, made up of a variety of professionals, will help guide you throughout your journey.
“I like to think of the parents and the surrogate in the center, kind of like the nucleus, and the team of professionals surrounding and supporting them — providing a foundation for them to have a really amazing and wonderful experience of having a baby,” said Victoria T. Ferrara, Founder and Legal Director, of Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists.
A reproductive endocrinologist will conduct medical screenings, create embryos and help your surrogate achieve pregnancy. You should be sure to work with a reproductive physician who has extensive experience with surrogacy — and particularly with gay, bi and trans intended fathers.
“Not all reproductive physicians are familiar with surrogacy,” said Ferrara of Worldwide Surrogacy. “And we want to know that someone has a really good understanding of all the parties involved.” The doctor should understand the role of your gestational carrier and egg donor — and honor your identity as the intended parent. If you are partnered, and you both hope to have a genetic connection to a future child, your doctor should understand the importance of creating healthy embryos using two sperm sources.
Assisted reproductive attorney
You will need to negotiate legal contracts with your surrogate and egg donor, so hiring an attorney with extensive experience with these types of contracts is absolutely essential. Your lawyer will help you navigate two critical issues:
1) The legality of surrogacy contracts in your state: Every state has a different law as it relates to surrogacy and egg donation,” said said Sam Hyde, President and CEO of Circle Surrogacy. “You want to make sure you have a lawyer that understands the nuances in each state.”
2) Establishing parentage: Your lawyer will also need to understand the steps needed to establish your parental rights and to sever those of your surrogate’s. This is best done through obtaining a “pre-birth order” from a judge, which will establish you as the legal parent before the birth of your child. However, not all states permit pre-birth orders. In this instance, your lawyer will help you obtain a “post-birth order,” which will confer your legal parental status after the birth of your baby.
Mental health professionals
The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends you, your surrogate and your donor — and each of your partners, where relevant — undergo screening by a trained psychologist early on in the process. Your surrogate will undergo a comprehensive mental health screening well before you are ever matched with her. “But it’s not uncommon for parents to get some counseling at the outset to help them uncover any concerns they have,” said Ferrara of Worldwide Surrogacy. These professionals can be helpful throughout the entire journey as well.
Fertility insurance experts
You will need the support of fertility insurance experts, who will help make sure both your surrogate and egg donor are properly covered. Your surrogacy agency should help facilitate that process. In some instances, your surrogate’s own insurance will cover her pregnancy, but not always. Whether or not you will need to purchase insurance to cover your surrogate's maternity care is one of the biggest variables that will impact your overall cost. You will also need a special form of insurance for your egg donor, as insurance companies do not cover the egg donation process.
In most instances, your surrogacy agency will assign a caseworker who will help support and guide you throughout your entire journey. At experience agencies, “this is someone who has helped coordinate hundreds of surrogacy journeys on behalf of clients, including parents and surrogates,” said Hyde of Circle Surrogacy.
You will be working incredibly closely with your team of experts, it’s important that you feel comfortable with your professionals. Make sure to speak with several before making a decision. And see our founding member page for a listing of agencies and clinics with a long track record of working with gay, bi and trans men.
Experts interviewed for this article: