Egg donation can help women who have had hysterectomies, have gone through IVF treatment but did not have success with the fertility medications, and women who are 40 years of age and over and have a reduced chance for a live birth. Donated eggs can also help male couples who need eggs to develop embryos.
Most often, in cases of same-sex female couples, egg donation isn’t needed because one or both of the partners are able to provide eggs needed for embryo transfer. However, in the case of same-sex male partners, an egg donor is needed, and also a surrogate mother.
In a typical surrogacy arrangement, the gestational carrier shares no biological connection with the baby being carried. Sperm from one or both partners is used, and eggs are donated. Once the embryo has developed, the mature embryo is implanted into the surrogate’s uterus. LGBTQ couples can choose an egg donor and a surrogate by reviewing a fertility agency’s database. Alternatively, some couples choose a close friend or family member.
The first step to same-sex male parenting is to decide who will be biologically related to the child. Some couples prefer to designate one partner, while others prefer to fertilize multiple eggs using sperm from both partners, allowing one or both of them to father a child.
Gestational surrogacy is a great option for LGBTQ couples who wish to start or continue a family, but is not suitable for everyone. As well as benefits, this process does have some challenges. The benefits include providing a solution for same-sex couples to fulfill a lifelong dream of having a family and allowing same-sex couples to have a child or children with a biological bond to one or both parents. Many couples choose to form a long-term relationship with their gestational surrogate.
Surrogacy is a legally complicated process that can be even more difficult for same-sex parents, depending on state laws. Surrogacy tends to come at a high price, and there are fewer financing options for prospective parents than for couples who wish to adopt. LGBTQ couples may experience discrimination from some donors or surrogacy professionals.
Regardless of sexual orientation, every prospective LGBTQ family should consider the advantages and disadvantages of gestational surrogacy carefully while developing a plan. Couples or individuals who wish to make this choice, would also benefit from legal advice. Talking to other LGBTQ couples who have gone through this procedure may also help.