Biological Connection Concerns with IVF


In the case of male-male couples, surrogacy presents a very real possibility that one father may not have a biological link to the child that is ultimately born to him. This can happen as a result of one intended father opting to not contribute his DNA, or as the result of the transferred embryo having been fertilized by the other intended father’s DNA. In these cases, it is normal to wonder, “Will I still bond with a child that I have not fathered?”

In a word, yes.

Time and time again, we have learned that when it comes to nearly all family situations, it is love that makes a family, not a biological link alone. Your bond will be determined by your involvement in the child’s life. By nurturing this child, consistently considering their best interests above your own, cheering when they succeed, and crying when they fail, you will build a bond with your new child, regardless of whether or not the child is biologically your own.

Even so, the drive for a biological link to your offspring is something that can deeply drive intended parents. The drive to biologically contribute to your child’s make up is one of many key reasons intended parents may find themselves at surrogacy in the first place. This desire is instinctual. You should not feel negatively for critically considering your own emotions as you begin the path to parenthood.

Often, our male-male clients will opt to transfer two embryos- one fertilized by each partner- and hope for “twins” who are biological half siblings. Sometimes, just one embryo will stick while the other does not. In these cases, some intended fathers will elect to test the paternity of the embryo at a later date, while others find that they no longer feel a significant necessity to know exact paternity.

As you begin to consider which intended father will contribute genetics, know that it is perfectly normal to consider the long reaching impact of this decision. Dr. Kim Bergman and your Case Specialist will be able to talk with you if you have additional concerns.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.