How to Determine if Surrogacy is Right for Your Same-Sex Family

Choosing to grow your family is an exciting experience. For LGBT couples, there are several options. One is to consider fostering and adoption. For lesbian couples, artificial insemination may be an option. For those who cannot or who prefer not to undergo pregnancy, surrogacy is another option. In this post, we’ll outline a few items to ponder as you consider whether surrogacy is the right choice for your LGBT family.

How important is it that the child is biologically related to a parent?

There are two main types of surrogacy. The first is gestational surrogacy, which implants an embryo into the uterus of the surrogate. This means the embryo shares no biological connection with the surrogate. Instead, the parents-to-be may choose to utilize one of their own egg or sperm, and may also utilize the egg and sperm donor database at a fertility clinic. A less popular option is traditional surrogacy, which involves the artificial insemination of the surrogate. In this case, the embryo will be biologically related to the surrogate, but the parents-to-be can choose the sperm source. If a biological relationship is not of importance, you may also wish to consider adoption.

Are we prepared to take on the cost of surrogacy?

Surrogacy is not cheap, in some cases easily reaching $100,000. Though some financing options do exist, it is advisable that the couple has saved a good amount to put towards surrogacy costs. Further, as California has some of the strictest laws preventing LGBT discrimination, LGBT individuals and couples often travel from out of state to access surrogacy. This demand further drives up the cost of surrogacy. In contrast, adoption through an agency is often less than ⅓ of this cost, and adoption through fostering is usually nearly free. In cases where one or both partners are infertile, and this has led to the use of a surrogate, LGBT couples are entitled to access to infertility insurance. This right was coded into California law in 2013, as another step protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination.

Will I be discriminated against?

Even though LGBT discrimination is illegal in California, the reality is that discrimination can still happen, which is why it is recommended to hire a same-sex surrogacy attorney to assist you throughout the process. However, new legislation has further cemented LGBT surrogacy rights with the Surrogacy Parentage Protection Act. This bill clarifies that even if an individual or couple utilizes surrogacy in California, their parentage rights must be recognized in other states. This is particularly important for the LGBT community, who are more vulnerable to weak parentage laws than heterosexual individuals and couples.

Are there any legal barriers?

Throughout the surrogacy process, there are multiple stages which require legal decisions and paperwork. For example, you will need a legal agreement with the surrogate, and possibly with any egg or sperm donors. Also, you must ensure that legal parentage for the parents-to-be is correctly established. Further complications may arise should any medical concerns or extra costs arise. Overall, when the surrogacy process is done correctly, there should be no legal barriers for the LGBT community. However, having sound legal advice is integral to a smooth surrogacy process.

If you are considering surrogacy, call us to set up a free consultation with one of our expert attorneys. We are highly experienced in navigating the ins and outs of LGBT surrogacy, and will be there every step of the way to ensure the best outcome for your family. Our attorneys are based in Palm Springs and West Hollywood, serving the entire Los Angeles area.

Photo by Andrew Seaman