Lesbian couples can now have children who are a part of each of them

Over the years I’ve had many lesbians tell me they want children but don’t see themselves being pregnant. It’s not part of their “body image.”

At some level, I understand this feeling. Our gender identity and sexual identity are tied up in our body image and feelings of sexual desire. Being pregnant and carrying a baby inside is an incredibly unique, womanly experience. Men have no idea what this is like, despite how much some may try.

As an experienced obstetrician who’s cared for many pregnant women throughout their pregnancies and deliveries, and as a gynecologist who has cared for and has performed gynecologic surgeries for women for the past thirty years, I’ve seen first-hand the many phases of reproductive health (and experiences with ill health) that only women can experience.IVF

I understand that some women may not identify with parts of that spectrum. For a lesbian couple it is sometimes easy to decide who will carry the pregnancy, while other couples struggle mightily with this uniquely lesbian decision. For single lesbian women, the choice can become more complex: to carry oneself and maybe go into new self-awareness territory, or to utilize the reproductive assistance of a gestational carrier.

We usually reserve gestational surrogates for women with a clearly defined medical need for surrogacy, yet lesbian women can often have very real issues that educate their life choices. Is body image a medical necessity for surrogacy? I believe that it can be if it’s tied into a woman’s sexual identity and sense of self.

We are very fortunate to live in a country where reproductive options are now available for all individuals regardless of gender, sexual identity, or marital status. This is not the case across Europe and other parts of the world. In my practice I see many patients from across the globe – from China, Europe and elsewhere – who travel for reproductive treatment options that are illegal where they live.

All women, and in particular lesbians, who might consider having children someday should talk with their doctor about reproductive options available, or ask for a referral to a fertility specialist to review the treatments that may best apply to their situation. It is imperative that lesbian women seek out a practice that is comfortable providing care to lesbians and same-sex couples.

By Dr. Guy Ringler, LGBTQNation.com – September 12, 2017

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A surrogacy fairy tale

Anthony Brown and his husband Gary Spino’s neighbor in their West Village apartment building in New York City wore all black, only went out at night and had a frequent cough.

She was, “the type of woman you’d see coming down the street and you might cross the street,” Brown says. Now and then the couple would see her coming home at night from grocery shopping and would help carry her groceries upstairs. One day after falling in her apartment the woman, named Janet, called the couple to help. The result was a seven-year friendship and the gift of Brown and Spino’s son, Nicholas.

Brown and Spino came to learn she suffered from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, had lived all over the world and that she was also wealthy from family money. When she died, they discovered she had been so touched by their kindness that she left them half her estate. Because of her, the couple were able to afford surrogacy with Spino as their son’s biological father in what Brown calls, “a New York fairytale.”adoption new york,new york adoption,new york state adoption, stepparent adoption process,adopting step children,co parent adoption,2nd parent adoption,second parent adoptions,gay adoption new york,gay couple adoption, gay couples adopting

“It was a gift from God, truly. Or at least a gift from Janet,” Brown says. “We still have her picture and a heart-shaped urn that has some of her ashes. We sprinkled her ashes all over the world. We took her ashes to all the places where she had lived and tried to do her justice.”

As they embarked on their surrogacy journey, the couple went to a Men Having Babies meeting at the Gay and Lesbian Center and began gathering information. Brown, an attorney, would eventually go on to become chairman on the board for the organization.

While working with Men Having Babies, the group became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and started a grant. The grant used money from events the organization produced to help with its gay parenting assistance program.

The program now offers qualifying individuals and couples discounted services, donated free services and cash grants. So far the organization is in its fourth class of recipients and 13 babies have been born to parents who have utilized the gay parenting assistance program.

“It’s one of the greatest things in the world to be able to talk to the recipients and see myself in them and to know I would never have been able to have afforded the surrogacy route had it not been for the grace of a kind woman who lived in my building. So it’s a full circle moment for me personally,” Brown says.

Brown is also no stranger to the other side of surrogacy. Before having their son, Brown worked for a marriage equality organization in the early ‘00s. Brown and Spino met a lesbian couple through the organization who wanted to have a family with a known donor. Brown and Spino agreed to help and the partner Brown was working with became pregnant first. Through her, Brown has an 11-year-old biological daughter. The experience led Brown and Spino not only on their own journey to welcome their son into their family, but for Brown to embark on a passion project to help other gay couples expand their families.

In 2012 Brown went deeper on his mission to help others and started TimeforFamilies.com, a website filled with information for LGBT families to learn how to start families.

Brown covers topics such as surrogacy, estate planning, co-parenting and specific topics like having a known donor versus an anonymous donor. While Brown notes the majority of website visitors are from the New York area, people from Africa, Asia and Europe have also accessed the site. Gay families can also send in their personal stories and photos to be featured on the website.

By Mariah Cooper, 10/6/2016, WashingtonBlade.com

Click here to read the entire article.

Ethical Surrogacy – Making the Right Choices

Ethical surrogacy is, and must be, the goal of an intended parent (IP) who is looking to have a family with the assistance of a surrogate mother.

Because of the different parties involved and the roles that they play, there must be a guiding, ethical roadmap for intended parents to follow to ensure that everyone has a successful and positive experience, an ethical surrogacy. Up until very recently, no such roadmap existed for intended parents.  Doctors have such guidelines in the ASRM (American Society of Reproductive Medicine) Recommendations for Practices Utilizing Gestational Carriers.  Attorneys also have such guidance in numerous articles and section committees dedicated to issues surrounding surrogacy.

Respect Ethics Honest Integrity Signpost Meaning Good Qualities

Now there is a place where intended parents can go to review best practices and baseline protocols for ethical surrogacy, ensuring that each IP has the tools to create an ethical journey. Men Having Babies (MHB), a non-profit organization of which I am the board chairperson, recently introduced A Framework for Ethical Surrogacy for Intended Parents, available online in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Hebrew.  This comprehensive document is supported by several LGBT organizations in America and abroad.

What is Ethical Surrogacy?

MHB’s ethical surrogacy framework revolves around the notion that surrogacy can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience for all parties involved, even if the surrogate is compensated for her efforts, risk and inconvenience. While compensation is part of the process, the act itself is not commercial because the IPs are not buying anything, particularly a child, which is a claim made by some anti-surrogacy activists.  A surrogate efforts should be compensated, even if the journey does not result in a pregnancy or in the case of a miscarriage.

How can Ethical Surrogacy be Achieved?

Regulation is the key to achieving ethical surrogacy. Having laws in place that require independent representation for all parties ( in their home languages), ensuring that all parties are vetted medically and psychologically, limiting compensation so as not to create irresistible incentives for participation and making surrogacy legal in each state and in each country so IPs and surrogate mothers do not have extraordinary distances between them, all work together to create an ethical surrogacy environment.

Reasonable and appropriate legislation should be enacted to allow perspective parents, donors and surrogates enter into legally enforceable agreements for surrogacy arrangements without having to cross state lines or country borders. This fosters more successful and fulfilling relationships between surrogate mothers and IPs.  Steps must also be taken to limit any medical risks that donors and surrogates face in the surrogacy process.

Baseline Protocols for Providers

Several baseline protocols should be implemented by service providers to ensure an ethical surrogacy experience including, but not limited to: informed consent from all parties, medical screening, social and psychological screening, independent legal representation (with language interpretation is required) before any treatments begin, medical insurance review from the surrogate mother and an agreement regarding contact during and after the surrogacy journey.

Best Practices

Best practices are suggestions for “above and beyond” thinking that is required of IPs because so much of the integrity of the journey depends on them. Among these suggestions is the creation of a long term vision about your family.  Who will be the biological parent?  How many journeys do you anticipate? What will the relationships be during and after the surrogacy?  How will you explain your family make-up to your child?  These questions are just a few of those that need to be asked and answered in the surrogacy process.

Above all, the autonomy of your surrogate mother must be respected and supported. While it may be your child that she is carrying, it is her pregnancy.  Insuring that she knows that you, as IPs, understand this distinction is critical to supporting her autonomy.  Her family and community will also play a role in her pregnancy, so getting to know her circle of support is a wonderful way of bolstering that support, making the journey a happy and healthy one for your surrogate mother.

While the MHB Framework for Ethical Surrogacy for Intended Parents goes deeper into the specifics of making your journey an ethical one, this article is designed to begin a conversation about the quality and success of your surrogacy journey.  After all, your family is worth it!  For more information, go to timeforfamilies.com or email Anthony at Anthony@timeforfamilies.com.

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Triplets With DNA From Both Same-Sex Parents Born In South Africa

I can only imagine how it feels to become a parent for the first time. The words thrilling, exciting, nerve-racking, and love, all immediately come to mind.

I’m sure that’s close to what South African dads Christo and Theo Menelaou felt – perhaps multiplied three times over – when they brought home their adorable triplet babies for the first time. Of course, triplets and newborns alone are enough to prompt a flurry of excitement. But there’s another reason Christo and Theo had to be especially excited: the couple’s triplets carried DNA from both of their same-sex parents — the first ever multiples with DNA from three parents. Human Sperm Cell

Of course, the couple went through a long journey to become parents. In an interview with Sky News, Christo Menlaou shared some of the couple’s previous experiences in pursuing adoption:

When you are gay, there is always the thought that it just may not be possible to be a parent no matter how much you would love to be. It’s very hard to be accepted for adoption and we were told we would always come after heterosexual couples. And then we just never thought we’d ever find a person who would want to be surrogate to a gay couple.
The Menalaous have two girls, Zoe and Kate, and a boy, Joshua, by a surrogate. Both dads reportedly used their sperm to fertilize one embryo each, and 10 weeks into the pregnancy revealed that one embryo had split – resulting in triplets, two of which are identical (Zoe and Kate) according to the Sky News interview with the dads. The triplets share both fathers’ DNA, the Associated Press reported.

The babies were delivered, prematurely, in July. And the adorable triplets are now home with their dads, after weeks of being monitored in the hospital, Sky News reported. The babies reportedly needed breathing assistance, and are still receiving care from nurses at home.

The gynecologist who delivered the triplets said the babies, born by surrogate with a split embryo resulting in triplets, was an “extremely rare” situation. “It is extremely rare,” Dr Heidra Dahms told Sky News. “I have never heard of this before.”

by Kimberly Richards, Romper.com – August 22, 2016

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Men Having Babies’ Gay Parenting Assistance Program Expanded to Help Prospective Surrogacy Dads with Discount on Fertility Medications

Men Having Babies (MHB) Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP) announced today that EMD Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in the U.S. and Canada, will provide eligible prospective gay parents with up to a 75% discount on select fertility medications for use by their surrogates when redeemed at an EMD Serono participating pharmacy.

GPAP annually provides dozens of prospective parents with over a million dollars worth of cash grants, discounts and free services from more than fifty leading service providers. “GPAP was created to promote affordable surrogacy services for gay men, the first such program to do so,” said Ron Poole-Dayan, the executive director of Men Having Babies. “In the last two years more than 300 couples became eligible for substantial discounts off the cost of surrogacy services, and more than 40 couples have received direct Stage II financial assistance, including grants and free service. Ten babies were already born to Stage II couples, and many more are on their way.”

“Our mission at EMD Serono is to advocate for people who want to have a child,” said Craig Millian, Sr. Vice President, US Fertility & Endocrinology at EMD Serono. “We are excited to be the first manufacturer to provide financial assistance, in the form of discounted medicine, directly to the gay community. Most importantly, we are thrilled to work with Men Having Babies to try to help more and more people build families.”Men Having Babies

The collaboration will be officially announced at a special dinner reception at the upcoming Surrogacy and Gay Parenting conference in Dallas, TX, this Father’s Day, which EMD Serono is co-sponsoring. The conference is based on the successful model of programs MHB has already organized in NYC, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Brussels and Tel Aviv. It will bring together under one roof community activists, experts, parents and surrogates who will share their experiences. Prospective parents at all stages of their journey are encouraged to attend – from those who are just beginning to weigh their parenting options to those who are already in process.

Some of the other sponsors of the Dallas conference are also major supporters of GPAP, including Simple Surrogacy and Fertility Specialists of Texas, which have already helped several couples that have had children or are currently pregnant.

“For a same-sex couple, conceiving a child through third-party infertility treatments can be incredibly expensive,” said Jerald S. Goldstein, MD, medical director and founder of Fertility Specialists of Texas. “Through strong support initiatives like the Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP), having a biological child is becoming more of a reality for intended fathers worldwide. We are proud to partner with Men Having Babies and to be a continued participating infertility center with GPAP.”

NEW YORK, NY (PRWEB) JUNE 16, 2016

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Children’s Books To Help Discuss Gender and Being Different With Your Kids

Some time ago, our blogger Stephen Stratton wrote an excellent article entitled “How to Talk About Gender and Trans People With Your Kids.”

We are republishing Stephen’s list of good children’s books dealing with being different, gender, and trans people. Reading them with your kids could be a great starting point for conversations in your family about these topics.

In Stephen’s words, “When we start to break it down, the easiest way to talk to your children about trans people is just to make space to talk about gender, early and often. The more we as a community normalize openness and honesty around gender and trans experience, the more space we make in the world for families like mine to feel safe, welcome and celebrated.”

I Am Jazz – Jessica Herthel

The story of a transgender child based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, who has become a spokesperson for transkids everywhere

“This is an essential tool for parents and teachers to share with children whether those kids identify as trans or not. I wish I had had a book like this when I was a kid struggling with gender identity questions. I found it deeply moving in its simplicity and honesty.” — Laverne Cox (who plays Sophia in “Orange Is the New Black”)

From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn’t feel like herself in boys’ clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz’s story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers.

My Princess Boy – Cheryl Kilodavis

Dyson loves pink, sparkly things. Sometimes he wears dresses. Sometimes he wears jeans. He likes to wear his princess tiara, even when climbing trees. He’s a Princess Boy.

Inspired by the author’s son, and by her own initial struggles to understand, this is a heart-warming book about unconditional love and one remarkable family. It is also a call for tolerance and an end to bullying and judgments. The world is a brighter place when we accept everyone for who they are.

10,000 Dresses – Marcus Ewert

Every night, Bailey dreams about magical dresses: dresses made of crystals and rainbows, dresses made of flowers, dresses made of windows … Unfortunately, when Bailey’s awake, no one wants to hear about these beautiful dreams. Quite the contrary. “You’re a BOY!” Mother and Father tell Bailey. “You shouldn’t be thinking about dresses at all.” Then Bailey meets Laurel, an older girl who is touched and inspired by Bailey’s imagination and courage. In friendship, the two of them begin making dresses together. And Bailey’s dreams come true!

This gorgeous picture book — a modern fairy tale about becoming the person you feel you are inside — will delight people of all ages.

Red: A Crayon’s Story – Michael Hall

A blue crayon mistakenly labeled as “red” suffers an identity crisis in the new picture book by the New York Times-bestselling creator of “My Heart Is Like a Zoo” and “It’s an Orange Aardvark!” Funny, insightful, and colorful, “Red: A Crayon’s Story,” by Michael Hall, is about being true to your inner self and following your own path despite obstacles that may come your way. “Red” will appeal to fans of Lois Ehlers, Eric Carle, and “The Day the Crayons Quit,” and makes a great gift for readers of any age!

Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let’s draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a playdate with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can’t be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He’s blue! This funny, heartwarming, colorful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone!

Jacob’s New Dress – Sarah Hoffman

Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be. Some kids at school say he can’t wear “girl” clothes, but Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Can he convince his parents to let him wear what he wants? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don’t identify with traditional gender roles.

Meet Polkadot (The Polkadot Series Book 1) – Talcott Broached

Have you been looking for a story with which to begin and/or continue meaningful and accurate conversations about gender identity?

Perhaps you wish to have dialogues that center and normalize transgender identities but you feel worried you may not have accurate information?

Maybe you ARE trans or you have a child/family member who is trans and you are ready for a book that honors transgender experiences rather than sensationalizes transgender lives and bodies?

Meet Polkadot is the first in a series of books that introduces readers to our main character Polkadot, a non-binary, transgender child. This book is an accessible introduction and primer to the the diversity of gender identity, the importance of allyship, and the realness of kids like Polkadot.

Gayswithkids.com – April 25, 2016

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Anonymous Sperm Donors threatened by growth of genetic testing

The rise of personal genetic testing and growth of international DNA databases could put an end to anonymous sperm donors and anonymous egg donation as donor-conceived individuals may unintentionally discover biological relatives, according to UCL researchers.

 

The paper, published today in the journal Human Reproduction, reinforces the need for parents using  anonymous sperm donors and anonymous egg donors to be fully informed that their children’s DNA will identify that they are not the and that they should be encouraged to disclose their use of . Anonymous sperm donors should also be informed that their anonymity is not guaranteed, irrespective of whether they are donating in a country that practises anonymous donation or not.

Over 3 million people have already used direct-to-consumer genetic testing, often via online companies without the input of healthcare professionals, to find out information about their ancestry and health and many are participating in international genetic genealogy databases that will match them with relatives.Surrogacy Abroad

Professor Joyce Harper (UCL Institute of Women’s Health) explained: “DNA tests are increasingly being used to solve unknown parentage cases for adoptees and donor-conceived persons. People are finding half-siblings and even biological parents in online databases that are open to the public. A sperm donor does not have to be in the database to be identified as identification can be made from matches with other close relatives such as second or third cousins.”

Using these genetic databases, donor-conceived adults who have not been informed of their status may find out that they are donor-conceived, which may lead to traumatic breakdown of trust with parents.”

Recently, there has been a concerted effort within the scientific community and more widely to foster greater openness about genomic data. These developments indicate that many more healthcare clients are going to know information about their genomes in the future. The situation is further complicated by the fact that different countries, even with the EU, have different laws surrounding gamete donation, donor anonymity and parental disclosure.

by Rowan Walker, MedicalExpress.com, April 14, 2106

Click here to read the entire article.

LGBT Parental Rights: A new family form but an old question

LGBT parental rights in a changing world.  Will the law catch up to our families?

Lesbian couples raising children conceived through assisted reproduction made front-page news last month when the Supreme Court rebuked Alabama’s refusal to recognize the Georgia adoption decree that made two women legal parents of the couple’s three children. On Tuesday, the Maryland Court of Appeals will take up a related issue.  LGBT parental rights are in the news.

In 2009, after nine years together, Michelle Conover, a transgender man now known as Michael Conover, and Brittany Eckel decided to have a child. They used Shady Grove Fertility Center, selecting semen from an anonymous donor chosen for characteristics similar to Conover. Eckel was inseminated, and, in April 2010, Jaxon was born and given Conover’s last name. Conover was present at Jaxon’s birth and was his stay-at-home parent. When Jaxon was 5 months old, the couple married. About a year later, they separated, although they continued to raise Jaxon together until Eckel allegedly cut off Conover’s access. In their subsequent divorce action, Conover sought visitation rights, but the trial court and the Court of Special Appeals ruled that he was not Jaxon’s legal parent and, as a third party, not entitled to continue his relationship with him.

lesbian family law

The family form is new, but the legal question in the case is not: Who is a child’s legal parent? Extramarital affairs and nonmarital births have always provided challenges for courts grappling with that question, but assisted reproduction has added another dimension.

When married heterosexual couples with an infertile husband began using donor semen in the mid-20th century, some courts called the practice adultery, and legal authorities opined that the child was “illegitimate.” The result was statutory reform in many states, including Maryland, delineating that a child conceived through a married woman’s insemination with the consent of her husband is the “legitimate” child of both of them.

Several state courts have read those statutes to apply to the child of a married lesbian couple. But what about Jaxon, whose parents were not married when he was born? Unmarried couples — gay and straight — now regularly use assisted reproduction. The District has recognized since 2009 that a child born to a married or unmarried couple that uses donor insemination is the legal child of both members of the couple. Had Jaxon been born in a D.C. hospital, Eckel and Conover would both be listed as his parents on his birth certificate.

Washington Post – April 3, 2016, by Nancy Polikoff

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Kiwi dads speak out from Mexico – Their Story

Meet Lachlan, Kelly and Blake: the newborns who are about to find themselves at the center of an international legal storm.

The “triplings” were born to surrogate mums in Mexico, in an arrangement with their Auckland parents, David and Nicky Beard, and an Argentinian egg donor.

Kiwi dads, the Beards have now decided to publicly identify themselves on Stuff, to raise awareness of their battle. They believe they were the last gay couple allowed to use international surrogates to give birth to their children, as Mexico tightens its IVF laws to bring them in line with most other nations.

David Beard, 41, the biological dad, is a prominent lawyer and the owner of Auckland law firm LegalStreet. His husband Nicky Leonard Beard, 32, is originally from Ireland. The couple issued a simple plea early on Tuesday morning: “David, Nicky, Lachlan, Blake and Kelly simply want to come home to their family.”

international surrogacy

Speaking openly early on Tuesday, David Beard shared his emotions at becoming a father.

“I cannot describe the feeling. It was beautiful. It was instant love and caring, like a lion with its cubs, I looked at them and could not believe that they had come from me.

“I looked at their eyes and their faces and I cried. I only cry when I am happy – which is weird in itself! They are beautiful, and no matter how smelly the nappies are, they are still beautiful.”

The couple desperately wanted to get their children home from Villahermosa. They were pleading for help from friends and family around the world but, most of all, from the New Zealand and Mexican governments.

Click here to read the entire article.

by JONATHAN MILNE, NICOLE LAWTON AND ANNA BURNS-FRANCIS – Stuff.co.nz March 29, 2016

Gay Family Planning: Options For Your Family

For thousands of New York couples each year gay family planning is a daunting and intricate process. If you are part of a same sex couple, there are extra complications as you must decide what route to go down in order to have or adopt a child.

Gay family planning options include adoption, a surrogate NYC carrier, pregnancy by donated sperm, or IVF. Here we cover the basics for each of these options to help you consider the right option for your family:

 

Adoption

There are over 130 adoption agencies in New York State, and each of the 58 social services unit districts has an adoption unit. There are no fees for adopting children who have special needs or are in custody of the local social services commissioner, although there may be fees for adopting those children in the legal guardianship of local voluntary agencies. The fees are based on the adoptive family’s income, however, and help may be available in the form of grants or fee waivers, so don’t let finances put you off from looking into this as an option to start your family.

gay adoption

After deciding on an agency, the application forms must be completed. Information is taken about your current family, your background and the type of child you feel you would be able to give the best life to. Criminal history checks will also be made, with particular attention paid to whether someone in the prospective adoptive family’s home has previous mistreated or neglected a child. A criminal record does not necessarily mean that you will be refused for adoption, as it depends on several factors including the type of crime committed.

Within four months of submitting the application, a home study is started and carried out on the prospective adoptive family. This is a series of meetings, training sessions and interviews that enables the family and social services to ascertain the readiness of the family to adopt, and any issues that they may need help with. After the home study has been completed the caseworker writes a summary about the family, which the adoptive couple can also add comments to. Training is also required to cover some areas that are specific to adoptive parenting, such as the needs of foster children and what kind of child they would be most suited to as a parent.

Once the study and summary are complete, the work then begins to match the family with a child. There is no set process for this as it is individual according to the child’s situation and needs. The Family Adoption Registry provides information about waiting children, and adoptive parents can ask for more information about children they are interested in, in exchange for a copy of the home study. The process goes from there and hopefully ends with a child or children finding a loving home with their new parents!

Pregnancy via sperm donor

Lesbian couples have many options in their own gay family planning. Sperm donors may be someone known to the couple or, alternatively, screened samples from a sperm bank. Donors can be anonymous or known, and even with anonymous donors there is usually information available about the donor’s height, hair colour, eye colour, education level and nationality. Ensuring that you use an approved fertility clinic is essential in order to avoid potential diseases that can be transferred through sperm. If you are using a known donor, insist on having him medically pre-screened before insemination and it is a very good idea to consult with an attorney familiar with known sperm donation.

Traditional Surrogate

gay surrogacy

Traditional surrogacy involves the sperm of the intended ‘adoptive’ parent fertilizing the egg of the traditional surrogate, so the child will be biologically related to both parties. Surrogacy contracts in NYC are not legally binding as they are declared ‘contrary to public policy’. This means that you cannot pay someone to carry a baby for you, or create a contract that mandates that the traditional surrogate mother has to give the child to the intended parents, (IPs) upon delivery. Surrogates, whether traditional or gestational, cannot accept money apart from expenses and medical fees directly related to the pregnancy, and heavy fines are levied for anyone involved in a surrogacy agreement – $500 for those involved and up to $10,000 for anyone found to be arranging such contracts (which are void and unenforceable in NYC).

Despite this, surrogacy has continued to be a pathway to family life that many gay male couples choose to take, and there are agencies that help to match potential parents with potential surrogates who live in other, surrogacy-friendly States. When needed, New Yorkers are able to complete second or step parent adoptions in New York to finalize parental rights for a child that has been delivered through a surrogate from another State.

Gestational Surrogate

The difference between gestational and traditional surrogacy is that the baby resulting from gestational surrogacy is not related to the surrogate mother. An egg and sperm create an embryo which is then transferred to the surrogate via IVF. For a male same sex couple, both partners can contribute sperm so that each have an equal chance of being biologically related to the child; they would also need a female third party to donate the egg.

Having the options of different pathways for gay family planning (adoption, surrogacy or pregnancy via donor sperm) can be reassuring to a couple looking to have children, but it can also be overwhelming when trying to decide what is best for you. For a reputable and trustworthy attorney in New York who specializes in helping same sex couples have families, call Anthony M. Brown, head of Nontraditional Family and Estates division of Albert W. Chianese & Associations, at 212-953-6447 or email questions to Brown@awclawyer.com.

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