Surrogacy is also one of the most challenging ways for gay men to start a family, not only because of the costs involved, but because the practice is relatively new and constantly changing. Let’s start with the challenges that gay couples face when considering surrogacy:
Prejudice. Straight couples that have difficulty conceiving also use surrogates, so there is a chance agencies, prospective surrogates, and fertility clinics involved in the process will treat gay couples exploring surrogacy differently (i.e. refuse your business, quote the bible, etc.). The point is, it’s best to be up-front about who you are and what you are looking for from the beginning with all the players in the process. See our list of Gay Parenting Resources for gay-friendly, gay-approved Surrogacy Agencies.
Schizophrenic State Laws. As with adoption, surrogacy laws vary state by state. Some states, like New York, have specific laws prohibiting surrogacy. Others have specific laws allowing surrogacy. Still others have no laws established at all about surrogacy. Here’s an excellent resource concerning Surrogacy Laws State by State.
Legal Claims and Clusterf*&ks. Often, the scenarios created by surrogacy arrangements are the stuff of Lifetime Movies and Law and Order Episodes. The legal intricacies in cases involving the creation of life, biological parent claims, and wildly varying state laws might make an excellent question on a state bar exam, but it can also keep your quest for a child hanging in tenuous balance. Each state has their own laws on what establishes parenthood, who is allowed on the birth certificate, and who may lay claim to a child. In short – make sure you consult a lawyer specializing in gay parenting issues who is familiar with these intricacies who can protect you and your partner’s claim to parenthood as well as guide you through the process.
The good news? You’re not alone. The American Organisation of Parents through Surrogacy estimates that 25,000 US babies were born through surrogacy in the 30 years to 2006. More than 1,000 gestational surrogacy cycles take place in the US every year.