Introduction to Surrogacy

Overview of surrogacy

Surrogacy can refer either to "traditional surrogacy" or "gestational surrogacy".

  • Traditional surrogacy is the term applied when the mother carrying the pregnancy also provides the genetic material.
  • Gestational surrogacy is the term applied to the process of harvesting eggs from one woman, fertilising them and then implanting them into a second woman who carries the pregnancy.

Most commercial surrogacy in the United States is gestational, with traditional surrogacy mainly occurring when a family member or a close friend is the surrogate.

Getting started

First you need to decide the type of surrogacy you prefer and where you would like to undertake it. Most UK-based gay couples choose the United States, so this website is written from this point of view. Although the most expensive option, there are several reasons for this:

  1. A proven track record, with many agencies offering surrogacy related services.
  2. Surrogacy-friendly laws in certain states. Apparently, there have been no cases where a surrogate successfully demands parenting rights in the US.
  3. Gestational surrogacy is common, which allows for a wide choice of egg donors. This also increases the chance of a successful IVF cycle, which depends more on the age of the egg donor than the age of the surrogate mother.
  4. Robust medical facilities.

US surrogacy agencies

There are several agencies in the United States that have a specialisation in gay surrogacy. Circle Surrogacy and Growing Generations are among the early pioneers in the area. However, surrogacy is becoming more commonplace and several other reputable agencies provide these services.

Men Having Babies, a New York-based not for profit organization, has collated ratings and reviews of surrogacy agencies and fertility clinics. Browse their reviews below, or share your experience of surrogacy in the Men Having Babies survey.

Surrogacy outside of the US

  • India: At the beginning of 2013, the Indian authorities enacted a law that forbade surrogacy for gay couples, hence at the time of writing this region should be avoided.
  • Other regions: We have heard that South Africa, Thailand, Georgia, Argentina and Brasil provide gay surrogacy services.

Surrogacy in the UK

UK law states that a surrogate must not receive payment for services beyond reasonable expenses. Online support groups and forums such as COTS and Surrogacy UK help bring surrogates and intended parents together.

This will likely take longer with less certainty of success, though will be a much less expensive option as surrogacy agencies, lawyers and other third parties are not involved. However, unlike the United States, there is no guarantee that the surrogate mother will choose to relinquish her maternal rights after birth.

We know of one couple who succeeded in having a child through this (very inexpensive) route. Though the majority of our members have used US surrogacy services, the market continues to become much more accessible in other locations, including the UK.

Adoption

We have not discussed issues specific to adoption within this website. However, we welcome contact from gay parents who have adopted, or plan to adopt, as there will no doubt be many issues that we share as our children grow older.

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