What are Surrogates & Gestational Carriers?

In 1978, gestational carriers, sometimes called surrogate mothers, really came to the forefront of infertility treatment with the arrival of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Surrogacy is an alternative approach to parenthood and a viable option for gay men wanting to become parents. A gestational carrier is a woman who carries a baby to term for another couple. There is no genetic link between a surrogate mother and the child she is carrying.

Surrogates for Gay Men

In a surrogacy arrangement, pregnancy is achieved through IVF.  It is a process that requires that the cycles of both the egg donor and the recipient (gestational carrier) are synchronized.  During the IVF procedure, the intended parents’ own sperm and the donated egg (or, in some cases, donated sperm and/or egg) are combined to produce one or more embryos.  The egg donor’s ovaries are stimulated with the help of injectable medications.  The stimulation period can last from 10-14 days.  During this 10-14 period, the egg donor is monitored with blood work and ultrasounds to check her hormone levels and follicular development.  Once it is medically determined the donor is ready for egg retrieval, the eggs are surgically removed during an in-office, ultrasound-guided procedure.  The eggs are then are combined with the intended father’s sperm to produce embryos, which are then transferred into the uterus of the gestational carrier.  If and when pregnancy occurs, she carries and delivers the child for the intended two dad family or solo dad.

Legal Considerations

To assist with surrogacy agreements, you will need to select an attorney who can represent you as intended parents or solo moms and dads.  This role includes drafting the appropriate contracts, providing legal counseling and assisting couples through the termination of the parental rights of the gestational carrier and/or egg donor.  Surrogates should be represented by independent counsel to assure that they fully understand their obligations and rights by entering into the agreement.  The same goes for a known egg donor.

It is critical that all parties involved in a surrogacy agreement properly evaluate the risks involved in third-party reproductive treatments prior to the commencement of any medical procedures.  It is also critical that the parties have carefully considered the legal ramifications of entering into a written surrogacy agreement itself.  Because a surrogacy contract involves constitutionally protected parental rights and reproductive freedoms, obtaining legal representation is an important step to creating a valid surrogacy agreement with a surrogate (gestational carrier) and the intended parent or couple.  Comprehensive contracts should be executed prior to entering into any surrogacy arrangement to memorialize the full intent of the parties involved.  We will connect you with legal providers who specialize in third party reproduction to assist with your family building journey.