Become a Gay Dad

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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'Broadway Husbands' Bret and Stephen Learn Some New Surrogacy Lingo In Their Latest Vlog

Enjoy our fourth video in our series that follows Broadway husbands Stephen and Bret on their path to parenthood via surrogacy

In our next vlog with "Broadway Husbands" Stephen and Bret, the dads-to-be talk about the process of choosing an egg donor and creating embryos.

After learning they'd have to wait for their donor to "cycle twice" before beginning, the guys offered a word of wisdom to future gay men who are interested in surrogacy:

"Just so you know they call it 'bleeds,'" Bret said.

"Yeah they said they're waiting for her 'second bleed,'" Stephen added.

"So if they tell you that, don't be shocked," Bret cautioned. "I guess that's just a phrase that they use medically?"

Bret, a New York actor, and Stephen, a Broadway dancer, make up the dynamic duo behind @BroadwayHusbands. Gays With Kids is extremely excited to have front row seats, as this theater duo vlog about the highs, lows, complications and revelations of their surrogacy journey.

Watch this latest installment of their journey and follow along as we learn about their hopes and their worries, gain insight on their mindset about starting a family, and the factors that helped them choose surrogacy and, ultimately, their fertility clinic, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT).

Watch the video:

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

The process of choosing their egg donor (0:15)

Filling out the egg donor questionnaire (0:29)

Exploring RMACT's egg donor profile database (0:47)

Bret and Stephen discuss the egg donor they selected and what they learned and loved about her (1:00)

The next steps for their egg donor; she has to cycle twice before they can do an egg retrieval (2:10)

Overall thoughts and excitement on the egg donor process (2:45)

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Surrogacy 101 for Gay Men: Learn the Basics With Dr. Ringler

Next up on the Daddy Squared podcast! Yan and Alex talk with a reproductive endocrinologist to get an overview of IVF and surrogacy options for gay men

We turned to Dr. Guy Ringler, Reproductive Endocrinologist at California Fertility Partners to get an updated overview of the IVF and surrogacy options for gay men from a medical point of view. Are you too old to have kids? How to find the right egg donor? Is IVF becoming less expensive? These and other questions are answered in this episode of Daddy Square.

"The cost [of IVF and surrogacy] is actually going up," Dr. Ringler states during the Daddy2 interview. "It's going up because everything gets more expensive, our Petri dishes are more expensive, the technology gets more expensive actually. And there's such a demand for surrogates that the amount that the agencies have to pay the surrogates goes up. So it's gradually increasing. It's not inexpensive, it's something you have to plan for."

"I tell my patients it's somewhere between the cost of a really nice car and a small house in the Midwest."


Dr. Ringler's 5 Steps to Start Your Family

1. Freeze sperm in Los Angeles
Provide a semen sample for freezing and blood for infectious disease and genetic carrier screening.

2. Select Your Egg Donor
Find your ideal donor from a diverse group of candidates.

3. Create Embryos For Freezing
Embryos are cultured to the blastocyst stage and frozen. They can genetically screened prior to freezing if desired.

4. Select Your Surrogate
Choose and meet (in person or via Skype) the surrogate mother that you would like to carry your child.

5. Embryo Transfer
Transfer your embryo(s) into the surrogate. Ten days later is the pregnancy test and the beginning of your surrogacy journey.

Terms you should be familiar with:

IVF - Stands for In Vitro Fertilization. An assisted reproductive technique that is used to treat infertility due to multiple etiologies including tubal disease, male factor, endometriosis and unexpected causes.

PGS Test - Preimplantation Genetic Screening. Testing the embryos to determine if they are genetically normal.

Egg Freezing - a revolutionary technique that provides fertility options to delay pregnancy.

Egg Donation - One of the most important factors effecting the pregnancy rate with IVF is the egg quality which is directly related to the age of the egg provider. IVF using eggs from a young and healthy egg donor provides embryos of optimal quality and pregnancy potential.

About Dr. Guy Ringler

Dr. Ringler graduated with honors from the University of Michigan before attending the Wayne State University School of Medicine. He trained in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Chicago and completed a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of Pennsylvania. In clinical practice in Los Angeles for over 25 years, he has developed an international reputation for excellence in all aspects of reproductive care, especially third-party reproduction utilizing egg donation and surrogacy. He was one of the world's first physicians to use assisted reproductive technologies to help gay men having children.

Dr. Ringler was awarded a Family Building award from the American Fertility Association for his work, and has been named a Super Doctor by Los Angeles Magazine. He has lectured around the world to help educate members of the LGBT community about family-building treatment options. He continues to work and live in Los Angeles with his husband, architect Mark Rios.

Episode Credits:

Co-Hosts: Yan Dekel, Alex Maghen
Guest: Dr. Guy Ringler, Reproductive Endocrinologist at California Fertility Partners
Music: Hercules & Love Affair, "Leonora" buy here
Articles referred to in this episode:
Where to Start If You're A Gay Couple Wanting to Have Kids (Yan Dekel, Daddy Square blog)
Get Ready for Embryos From Two Men or Two Women (Dr. Guy Ringler, Time)
Men Having Babies:
The 14th Annual NY Men having Babies Surrogacy Seminar & Gay Parenting Expo is coming up November 10-11, 2018
Unsung Heroes: Surrogate Mothers to Same-Sex Couples (Dr. Guy Ringler, The Advocate)
A Strip Mall Gay Bar in Detroit Helped Me Come Out (Dr. Guy Ringler, The Advocate)








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