The decision to pursue gestational surrogacy as a means of building a family is never an easy one. For some, however, it offers the only chance that they will ever have of having their own genetic offspring. This is particularly true for many gay couples, with gestational surrogacy offering male couples the option of incorporating genetic material from one of the partners; they then require the services of both a surrogate and an egg donor. Female couples may opt to use the services of a surrogate only, although they too may avail themselves of both options – as their particular needs require.
The use of a gestational surrogate mother presents some unique challenges for gay couples. Same-sex couples, depending upon both partners' needs, are unlikely to both be able to contribute to their resulting child's biology.
Barring the possibility (presently nonexistent) of both partners contributing genetic material for their child, two possibilities remain, regardless of the couple's gender. Genetic material can come from an intended parent, or from donated tissue. Neither decision is an easy one to arrive at, and many intended parents find that the decision weighs heavily upon them.
ConceiveAbilities offers a considerable variety of information concerning the decision to avail oneself of the services of a surrogate mother, or of an egg donor. There are many choices to be made by the intended parents, some of which we cannot assist with directly – beyond the offering of general guidelines or advice. For example, the decision of which parent will contribute genetic material – or if either will do so – is a deeply personal choice, and one which must be made by the intended parents themselves. It is important to understand, however, that you will never be completely alone or without support throughout the surrogacy process.
Here are a few additional resources for LGBT parents – and intended parents. Some of this information is specific to the pursuit of a family by means of egg donation or surrogacy, while other information relates to some of the issues faced by lesbian, gay, and transgender couples within American society today.
PVED (ParentsViaEggDonation.org) offers this portion of their website as a support community for LGBT parents and intended parents. It includes a deeply supportive forums community populated by other LGBT parents, a detailed and comprehensive FAQ to help walk you through each step of the process, and an enormous variety of information concerning every aspect of assisted fertilization treatment. They even tackle such sensitive subjects as religious concerns, and disclosure to children who were conceived via egg donation.
Dr. April Martin, a clinical psychologist based out of New York City, offers a thoughtful and compassionate article entitled “Issues for Lesbian- and Gay-Parented Families” This article reaffirms the richness and the diversity of family life which LGBT couples provide in raising well-rounded, well-adjusted children, while confronting as gently as possible some of the issues that so-called “non-traditional” family units will face within present-day American society.
Path2Parenthood offers a free, downloadable "LGBT Handbook". The handbook was written by, and for, LGBT parents: individuals who wish to help other gay, lesbian, and transgender parents overcome some of the difficulties which they themselves faced on the sometimes-rocky path to starting a family.
Over the last two years, ConceiveAbilities has begun hosting regular “Making Parenting Conceivable” seminars in the area of our central offices in Illinois. These events, along with other ConceiveAbilities events, are made possible in part by the cooperation of the Fertility Centers of Illinois. They are strongly recommended for anybody with questions or concerns about the assisted fertility solutions which ConceiveAbilities may be able to offer them. For more information about other upcoming events, please take a look at our regular newsletter, Everything Conceivable.
The ConceiveAbilities team is always ready and willing to offer whatever support is within our capabilities. If you have additional questions or concerns which are not answered by our website, or by the resources which we have compiled for you here, please feel free to contact us at any time using our convenient online form. One of our team members will respond to you as quickly as possible with the answers to any concerns that you have.
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based egg donation and surrogacy agency.