The Gay Parenting Challenge: Like the Amazing Race But Instead of Winning Money You Lose It
As much as the world has become more accepting of gay families (and openly gay citizens in general – thanks Ellen!), there are still a lot of challenges out there. This is a loose outline of some of the thing to consider – or look out for – before diving in to the gay parenting process:
Many insurance companies don’t cover the full costs of inseminations or fertility clinic appointments; even if your doctor wants to help you pay for treatments, their hands can be tied because some companies don’t have reimbursement codes for the process you are going through.
In addition to these costs, you may end up shelling out a lot of money for legal fees, cost of sperm, surrogate services, egg donors, and more. In short, be prepared to spend some dough.
Some surrogate mothers, adoption agencies, and doctors can be bias against gay parents – they may refuse or drop out of the process upon learning about your sexual orientation. If you pursue international adoption, you will have a challenging time adopting in many countries as an openly gay person. Yes, even in the age of Modern Family, Neil Patrick Harris, and Gays in the Military.
No matter which way you cut it, having a baby as a gay or lesbian couple is simply not as easy of a recipe as Insert Penis In Vagina. Repeat. Yes, many straight couples have infertility issues or other challenges. But there’s no getting around the fact that we’re doing warm-up stretches 20 yards back from the starting line that most straight couples have just sprinted from. It will be more money. It takes focus and energy and a third party’s participation. You will have to answer awkward questions.
Whether adopting or having a child biologically with your partner, the rules around second parent adoption within a gay couple vary state by state and can be dicey to navigate. In the U.S., states may restrict adoption by sexual orientation or marital status. About half of all states permit second-parent adoptions by the unmarried partner of an existing legal parent, while in a handful of states courts have ruled these adoptions not permissible under state laws. This leaves gay parents in many states legally unrecognized or severely disadvantaged in court fights with ex-partners and relatives.
Lastly, you and your partner will have to communicate honestly and openly about parenting decisions, emotions, and feelings. I know, I know – it sounds like an Oprah show, but you will have to treat your relationship with as much care and attention as you will for your child when he or she arrives. On the bright side, if you can get through this process, challenges that once seemed daunting (getting your M.B.A., starting that novel) may seem easy by comparison.