How Does Surrogacy Work for Gay Couples?

By (gynecologist), MD, FACOG, FACS, FACE (gynecologist), (embryologist), (embryologist) and (babygest staff).
Last Update: 03/17/2020

By contrast with lesbian couples, two men cannot be fathers by traditional assisted reproduction techniques. In order for a gay couple to achieve paternity, they have two options: surrogacy or adoption.

Since adoption involves several years of waiting and complicated paperwork, most male homosexual couples and single men, who cannot be fathers in any other way, resort to surrogacy.

Forming a homoparental family

Female homosexual couples may have biological children through assisted reproductive techniques such as artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. In case they do not achieve pregnancy by these techniques, have a uterine problem or a serious health problem that makes the pregnancy pose a risk can have biological children by surrogacy.

However, for two men to form a family in which they share their genes with their children, they have no choice but to turn to a surrogate to have them through surrogacy.

Aunque habitualmente esta práctica se conoce como vientre de alquiler o maternidad subrogada, el término más correcto para referirse a ello es gestación subrogada o gestación por sustitución.

Society is more and more aware that there are different types of families, and all models are equally valid. Now, thanks to assisted reproduction a man can be a father, without the need to have a female partner. The process would consist of the following steps:

  • Choosing a woman who carries the pregnancy, called a surrogate
  • Choosing an egg donor
  • Delivering a semen sample to the fertility clinic
  • In vitro fertilization with a donor's eggs and the couple's sperm
  • Transfer of the embryos to the surrogate. If the intended parents wish to transfer more than one embryo to the pregnant woman, the latter must agree. The main reason for this is the high possibility of multiple pregnancies, which can lead to an increased risk of complications during pregnancy.
  • Development of pregnancy and childbirth

At all times it is necessary for men to be informed of all the steps to be taken and the evolution of the process. In this way, they will be able to adopt a positive and relaxed attitude during the surrogacy process.

Biological children of gay couples

If it is important for the future parents to have a biological relationship with their child, there are several options to decide who will contribute the sperm and therefore their genetic material. Each of the possibilities is detailed below:

  • Only one partner provides the semen, either the one with the highest seminal quality or the one chosen by mutual agreement. This will be the child's biological father. Therefore, the eggs given by the donor will be fertilized with the sperm of one of the couple's men in the laboratory. The embryos generated will be transferred to the surrogate mother to carry out the gestation.
  • Both men in the couple provide the semen. In this case, half of the donor's eggs are fertilized with the sperm from one partner and the other half of the eggs with the sperm from the other partner. However, the best quality embryos would be transferred to the uterus, regardless of who the biological father is. Thus, none of the male homosexual couple would know who the child's father is.

Double transfer

When both members of a gay couple want to have a biological child of their own, there is the option of having a child from each of them. To do this, it is necessary that the surrogate agrees to have two embryos transferred which, as we have already said, means a high probability of a multiple pregnancy.

It is important for prospective parents to keep in mind that by transferring two embryos, the surrogate mother will not always get pregnant with two babies. It is possible that only one embryo implants, so the pregnancy would be unique, although it may also happen that no embryo implants and a new transfer has to be made. It would also be possible, although much less frequent, for one of the embryos to split in two to give rise to identical twins, so a triple pregnancy could occur.

To achieve pregnancy in this situation, half of the donor's eggs would be fertilized with the sperm from one and half with the sperm from the other. Thus, if the embryos generated are of good quality, two embryos could be transferred to the surrogate, one from each parent.

The important thing is that both partners agree and decide which option is the most suitable for their needs and with which they are most comfortable.

Another factor to take into account in order to carry out a surrogacy process is to choose a country where not only is this practice legal, but where homosexual couples are also allowed access.

Countries where gay surrogacy is allowed

Surrogacy is not carried out in a lot of countries, since the legislation does not protect future parents by considering a surrogacy contract to be null and void. In the majority of European countries, the woman who gives birth is considered the mother of the baby.

India, Thailand, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia or Greece are not options for gay couples. In Mexico, India and Thailand, they have tightened their legislation and it is no longer allowed for foreigners.

In Greece, Georgia, Russia and Ukraine, the law prohibits homosexual couples from having access to this reproductive method. In the United States there are states where surrogacy is allowed and it is specifically contemplated that homosexuals or single men can form their families. This is the case in states such as California, Florida or Utah. The same goes for Canada, so it's another reproductive destination for homosexual couples.

Considering starting a family of two dads? Then we recommend that you use this tool to receive an individual report with a list of useful tips. We have over 10 years' experience behind us. We are Surrogacy only recommends clinics and agencies that have passed our strict selection process, and our dedicated team of surrogacy experts is here to help you choose the ideal clinic and agency for you.

Parentage for children born thanks to surrogacy

In both the United States and Canada, when a surrogacy process is carried out, the intended parents obtain the child's parentage through a judicial sentence. This judgment will be obtained by trial and may be given both before and after childbirth, depending on the state in which the surrogacy process is made.

With this pre or after-birth order, the parents can go to their embassy in order to travel home with their child.

Consult this article to learn more about the different laws about surrogacy: Surrogacy Laws by Country – Where Is It Legal?

FAQs from users

Can two gay males have fraternal twins, each one from a different intended father, in a single pregnancy?

By Dr. Joel G. Brasch (gynecologist).

Of course! Although we can’t guarantee the delivery of fraternal twins, there are definitely things we can do to help you achieve this goal! Our clinic offers the opportunity to fertilize half the number of eggs with one intended father’s sperm while fertilizing the other half of eggs with the other intended father’s sperm. Should viable embryos be created from each intended father’s sperm, then it would be possible to transfer said two embryos to a surrogate. However, transferring multiple embryos is a question for which the Doctor, GC, and IPs all need to be on the same page.

Can two men have a biological child of both in a single pregnancy?

By Mark P. Trolice MD, FACOG, FACS, FACE (gynecologist).

Currently, only one spermatozoon produced by the same man can fertilize an ovum.

Do gay couples need to be married to go through surrogacy?

By Sara Salgado (embryologist).

In the case of a gay couple or a single man, the only two legal countries are the United States and Canada. Since the U.S. has a federal structure and Canada has its regulation by provinces, we will have to review state by state or province by province what the requirements are and if they fit our specific case.

In Canada, any state will accept a couple of men as fathers of the baby regardless of whether they are married except Quebec where surrocay is prohibited. In the U.S., only a few states such as California or Nevada will accept this situation; and in other states, such as Texas or Utah, the couple must be united in marriage to be accepted as the baby's parents.

In which countries can gays go to for surrogacy?

By Sara Salgado (embryologist).

The USA is undoubtedly the safest destination for gay male couples who resort to surrogacy to create their family, as well as having prestigious clinics and the most advanced technologies, the legal guarantees are absolute and from the first moment both intended parents appear on the birth certificate of the baby.

Is it hard to find a surrogate for a gay couple? Where can they find her?

By Sara Salgado (embryologist).

In order to carry out a surrogacy process it is necessary to look for a surrogate. Surrogacy agencies are responsible for finding a suitable woman who meets the requirements and passes medical and psychological tests. They have a database of surrogates so that parents can choose different candidates and an interview can be arranged.

The sexual condition of the couple and the family model does not have to make it difficult to find a surrogate. Even so, it is important to keep in mind that the choice must be mutual between the surrogate and the intended parents. This supposes that the woman who offers herself as a surrogate can accept or reject the couple.

Can a gay couple go through surrogacy in Ukraine?

By Sara Salgado (embryologist).

No, Ukrainian legislation is very clear on this point: only married heterosexual couples are allowed access to surrogacy.

You can check here the conditions for surrogacy in this country:How Does Surrogacy Work in Ukraine? – Cost & Legal Aspects.

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References

Authors and contributors

Dr. Joel G. Brasch
Dr. Joel G. Brasch
Gynecologist
Dr. Joel Brasch is the Medical Director of Chicago IVF, founded in 2005. He is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and has over 25 years of direct experience in fertility treatment and reproductive care. He is also the Director of Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. More information about Dr. Joel G. Brasch
 Mark P. Trolice
Mark P. Trolice
MD, FACOG, FACS, FACE
Gynecologist
Mark P. Trolice, M.D., FACOG, FACS, FACE is Director of Fertility CARE – The IVF Center and Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology (OB/GYN) at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine. He is Board-certified in REI and OB/GYN, and maintains annual recertification. His colleagues select him as Top Doctor in America® annually, one among the top 5% of doctors in the U.S. More information about Mark P. Trolice
Florida license: ME 78893
 Marta Barranquero Gómez
Marta Barranquero Gómez
Embryologist
Graduated in Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences by the University of Valencia (UV) and specialized in Assisted Reproduction by the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH) in collaboration with Ginefiv and in Clinical Genetics by the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH). More information about Marta Barranquero Gómez
 Sara Salgado
Sara Salgado
Embryologist
Degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). Master's Degree in Human Assisted Reproduction from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM). Certificate of University Expert in Genetic Diagnosis Techniques from the University of Valencia (UV). More information about Sara Salgado
Adapted into english by:
 Romina Packan
Romina Packan
Babygest Staff
Editor and translator for the Babygest magazine in English and German. More information about Romina Packan

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