Expert Advice

Your Surrogacy Questions —Answered by a Dad Via Surrogacy

We asked our Instagram community to send us their questions about becoming a dad through surrogacy

Dad Tyler Fontes (read his story here) recently shared his experience as a dad through surrogacy with our Instagram community via a question and answer session.

Read Joseph's responses below.


What was the easiest and the hardest part of your surrogacy journey?

Easiest part was that we had a gestational carrier that we knew offer to do it for us allowing us to have someone we personally knew and trusted to carry our twins.

The hardest part was our carrier lived in a different state so we could not be there throughout the pregnancy process for all the check up's and ultra sounds. And knowing that twin pregnancies are already a high risk pregnancy, made for a long nervous 8 months of pregnancy.

What's your advice for finding an LGBTQ+ friendly agency?

We used social media to find recommended clinics from other gay dads. We also followed Men Having Babies and Facebook which has a huge wealth of knowledge on gay men pursuing having a family. We asked questions on there and got some great recommendations. After that we would call the agencies/clinics directly and personally ask about their experience with gay families to make sure they were very open and accepting of the LGBTQ+ community.

How did you know that surrogacy was the right choice for your family?

We knew we always wanted to have children and we continue to support adoption for us for the future to grow our family however we had the amazing opportunity to have a gestational carrier became financially and socially possible for us so we decided to pursue that opportunity first.

What are the complications that we are going to face throughout the year with baby and mother?

We love our gestational carrier and have a profound respect for the physical and emotional toll that the pregnancy takes on a woman's body, especially a high risk twin pregnancy. We were always worried about the health of the twins development along with the health of our carrier throughout pregnancy and also during the birthing process. It is a very emotional time for everyone involved throughout the pregnancy year. We will never be able to fully thank her for all she has given us.

How much money should a couple save? Do most agencies have payment plans?

In regards to all IVF, IVF medications, egg donor payment, FDA testing prior to creating embryos, embryo testing, embryo transfer, embryo storage, I would recommend about $35,000 - $40,000. That estimate is based off of our Arizona clinic pricing (who had their own egg donor bank to select from) and they did not offer a payment plan. All payments were due in full at time they occurred. That price also does not reflect a payed surrogate or birth costs. We did not go through an agency for our surrogate as our carrier was a family member and a huge financial savings for us.

What was the cost of having twins?

Most of this is answered in question 1, and really no additional cost for having twins vs a single pregnancy. Two embryos were transferred at the same time so all financial costs were still the same up to that point.

For more information on having twins, read this article: 5 Questions for Gay Dads Considering Twins in Their Surrogacy Journey

What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about becoming a dad through surrogacy?

It is going to be a long process full of emotions and at some times an emotional rollercoaster but it's all externally worth it all once you have a successful transfer and pregnancy! Do lots of research and find a clinic that's best for you and your specific needs. Also recommend some research into your state laws regarding same sex couples and having kids through surrogacy in regards to birth certificates (some states allow both dads to be on the child's birth certificate while other states only allow the one biological dad on the certificate).

Did you guys use grants or assisted funding?

We did not. We used a lot of our savings and saved finances to help with our payments. We also did our process in stages which helped pay everything off as we went along. We did embryo cryopreservation for a full year after they were created to wait until our carrier was available for the transfer.

What kind of research did you do for becoming dads through surrogacy?

We did a lot of research into well known IVF clinics in different states. We looked into some in Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico clinics trying to find the best one to fit with our situation as our carrier lived in New Mexico and we lived in Arizona. We also wanted a clinic that also had their own egg donor bank and embryologist on site so all our IVF could be handled at one location and office.


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Surrogacy for Gay Men

Campaign to Legalize Surrogacy in New York Heats Up with Competing Bills

Two competing bills — one backed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and another by Senator Liz Krueger with stricter provisions — are aiming to legalize surrogacy in New York.

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York is once again attempting to legalize commercial surrogacy in the state, which is still just one of three states in the country to forbid the practice.

"This antiquated law is repugnant to our values and we must repeal it once and for all and enact the nation's strongest protections for surrogates and parents choosing to take part in the surrogacy process," Governor Cuomo said in a statement in announcing a broader effort called Love Makes a Family. "This year we must pass gestational surrogacy and expedite the second parent adoption process to complete marriage and family equality."

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Asks: Is Destroying an Embryo Similar to Abortion?

It's a question many LGBTQ parents using advanced fertility treatments will need to face — what to do with "left over" embryos.

Let me start off by saying that I have always been pro choice and support all laws that allow people to have full reproductive rights including safe and legal abortions. This is a complicated subject and not one that I ever thought I would really have to deal with on a personal level, especially being a gay man.

I remember a very heated discussion on abortion in my biology class back in university. I was young, idealistic and had very strong convictions about abortion. I was debating with a female classmate who was pro life. She felt there was no reason for an abortion ever, not even if raped by your own parent or sibling. I could not really understand her position, then or now. Don't get me wrong, I still don't agree with her, but now that I'm older and wiser, and also a parent, I have come to respect and accept opinions other than mine.

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News

People Magazine Interviews Four Surrogates in Latest Issue

People Magazine helped humanize the experiences of surrogates by interviewing for women who carried babies for other people

There are common misperceptions about what motivates women to do the seemingly unthinkable: carry a child for another person. The only motivator, people assume, must be money. But as anyone who has been through the process will tell you — the reasons women decide to carry children for other people are varied. Financial compensation is of course a factor, but typically it is not the only one, and rarely is it even the most important.

Recently, People Magazine ran a feature on four women who served as surrogates, which helped reveal a plethora of other motivators. Sammie Diaz, for instance, carried a son for a gay couple in Seattle, because she was motivated to help people who can't have children on their own start their families — money was just a minot factor.

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Politics

Colorado Republicans Try and Fail to Outlaw LGBTQ Marriage and Adoption Rights

A bill introduced by four Republican state legislators in Colorado that would outlaw same-sex marriage and adoption rights was voted down.

The "Colorado Natural Marriage and Adoption Act," which would have outlawed gay marriage and adoption in the state of Colorado, was voted down in the state legislature this week. The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Stephen Humphrey and three of his conservative colleagues: Dave Williams, Shane Sandridge and Mark Baisley.

If enacted, the bill would have enforced "state law that marriage is between one man and one woman" and restrict "adoption of children by spouses in a marriage ... that consist of one man and one woman."

The bill, which had little chance of success, particularly in Colorado which has trended more progressive over the past several election cycles, was mostly symbolic, according to Sanridrge. "We all know this bill isn't gonna pass in this current left-wing environment," he told Colorado Public Radio. "It's to remind everyone, this is the ultimate way to conceive a child."

In a sign of how far we've come on the issue of LGBTQ marriage and parenting rights, most Republican legislators in the state did not endorse the bill.

Though the bill had little chance of passage, LGBTQ advocacy groups in the state are taking the threats seriously nonetheless. Daniel Ramos, director of the LGBTQ group One Colorado, told LGBTQ Nation that the bills were an attempt to return Colorado to its "hate status" of the 1990s, adding the aggressiveness of the measures were "a bit surprising."

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Dads Talk About Surrogacy Process in New Video for Northwest Surrogacy Center

The Northwest Surrogacy Center interviewed some of their gay dad clients for a video to celebrate their 25th anniversary of creating families through surrogacy!

Last year, Northwest Surrogacy Center celebrated 25 years of helping parents realize their dreams. And they celebrated in style by inviting the families they've worked with over the past two and a half decades to join them!

At the party, they took the opportunity to film queer dads and dads-to-be, asking them a couple of questions: how did it feel holding your baby for the first time, and tell us about your relationship with your surrogate.

Watch the video below and get ready for the water works!

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Change the World

Your Marriage Should Be Gayer, Says the New York Times

In an op-ed for the New York Times, Stephanie Coontz, author of "Marriage: a History," lists the many insights LGBTQ marriages can offer straight ones.

According to a fascinating op-ed in the New York Times this week by Stephanie Coontz, author of "Marriage: a History," turns out the people convinced marriage equality — legal across the United States for five years now — would usher in the complete breakdown of civil society should be more worried about the health of their own marriages.

In the article, Coontz details the results of research that followed 756 "midlife" straight marriages, and 378 gay marriages, and found same-sex couples reporting the lowest levels of physiological distress — with male gay couples reporting the lowest. The reason for this, the author said, is pretty simple — misogyny. The idea that men and women should strive for parity in a relationship is still a fairly new idea, Coontz said, and traditional gender roles are still pervasive. Gay couples, meanwhile, are free from such presumptions, which often results in happier, healthier relationships.

The most interesting findings in the research relate to parenting. While gender norms tend to be even more emphasized among straight people once they have children, with the bulk of the childrearing falling to mothers, same-sex couples — once again freed from the stereotypes of the male/female divide — parent more equitably. As the author notes, "A 2015 survey found that almost half of dual-earner, same-sex couples shared laundry duties, compared with just under a third of different-sex couples. And a whopping 74 percent of same-sex couples shared routine child care, compared with only 38 percent of straight couples."

When it comes to time spent with children, men in straight marriages spent the least amount of time and the lowest proportion of "nonwork" time, with their children — while men in same-sex marriages spent just as much time with their children as women in a straight relationship. "The result?" Coontz writes, "Children living with same-sex parents experienced, on average, three and a half hours of parenting time per day, compared with two and a half for children living with a heterosexual couple."

Straight fathers devote the least amount of time — about 55 minutes a day — on their children, which includes things like physical needs, reading, playing, and homework. Gay mothers spent an additional 18 minutes each and straight mothers an additional 23 minutes. Gay fathers spent the most time with their children, the study found, an average of an additional 28 minutes a day.

Taken together, straight couples spend an average of 2 hours and 14 minutes on their children. Lesbian moms spend an additional 13 minutes, while gay men spend 33 more minutes than straight couples.

One factor, the author notes, that can help explain this difference is this: gay parents rarely end up with an unintended or unwanted child, whereas a full 45% percent of pregnancies in straight relationships in 2011 (the last year data is available) were unintended, and 18% were unwanted.

But right. Gay people shouldn't be parents.

Gay Dad Photo Essays

How Single Dads Are Celebrating Valentine's Day This Year

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers! We caught up with 8 single gay dads to see how they plan to celebrate Valentine's Day with this year.

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers; it's also a day to celebrate our loved ones. And that's exactly what these single dads are doing.

Within our community, GWK has a large group of admirable, active, and awesome (!) single dads and we want to honor them! On Valentine's Day, they and their kids celebrate their family unit in the sweetest possible ways. We asked the dads to share these moments with us, and, where possible, one of the most heartwarming things they've experienced with their kids on Valentine's Day to date.

Hear their stories below.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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