Understanding the Gay Surrogacy Process

Gay surrogacy is an option for gay men and women who require the help of a surrogate mother and/or ovum donation to conceive a child.

Ovum Donation

For gay male couples, you can choose which partner will donate the sperm or you may decide to split the retrieved eggs and each fertilize half, implanting into the surrogate one embryo from each, for example. Once this decision has been made, you and your partner will have a better idea how to choose your egg donor.

For all intended parents, singles or couples, using an egg donor, you may choose to use a friend or family member, otherwise known as going independent, or an independent egg donation—or go through an egg donation agency.

What is a Gestational Carrier?

A gestational carrier is the woman who volunteers to be your surrogate, but who will have no genetic or biological connection to your child. You may have a relative or friend who wishes to be your surrogate, but more commonly you will locate a surrogacy agency that will provide you with a surrogate that matches your particular needs and that guides you through the rest of the surrogacy process.

If you have opted for traditional surrogacy, the surrogate will be artificially inseminated using your or your partner’s sperm, a combination of the two, or donor sperm. Once the baby is delivered, the surrogate relinquishes the child to you to raise as your own. In the case of traditional surrogacy, the surrogate supplies 50% of the child’s genetics because her eggs are being utilized to achieve pregnancy.

If you have chosen ovum donation and surrogacy, two women will be involved. The eggs will be removed from the donor’s ovaries and fertilized in vitro (in a liquid medium). The resulting embryos are implanted within the gestational surrogate’s uterus, followed by a pregnancy test 10-12 days later. Though the gestational surrogate carries the baby, she has no biological ties to the child because her eggs were not used in the fertilization process. In the United States, gestational surrogacy is less complicated from a legal point of view, since both intended parents are genetically related to the newborn.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 22 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for the last 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 of Reproductive Medicine, the American Fertility Association, 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 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 created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 28 years and their two teenage daughters.