Founder and Managing Director of Egg Donor & Surrogacy Institute (EDSI) Parham Zar answers the top five questions asked by same-sex couples.
- Is Surrogacy Legal For Same-Sex Couples?
In the United States, surrogacy laws vary from state to state. There are some states that prohibit surrogacy, while other states have surrogate friendly laws or courts. For example, in California, it is completely legal for same-sex couples to have a family through surrogacy. The main factor to consider is in what state your surrogate resides – not where you live. Most laws require the surrogate to live and deliver in a surrogate-friendly state. Therefore, you can live in any US state – or internationally – and follow the laws of the state where your surrogate resides.
- Who is Considered the Legal Parent?
Surrogacy allows for many choices for you and your partner. In surrogacy friendly states, no matter the source of the egg or the sperm, your names will be placed on the birth certificate as the parents through a pre-birth judgment or a post-birth judgment. This is a legal document which grants parental rights to you when the child is born. Through this birth order, the hospital is instructed by the Courts to place your names in the parent section of the birth certificate. Therefore, you will be the legal parent(s).
3. How to Decide Who Will Be the Biological Parent?
This can be a difficult conversation to have but an important one. You may be surprised to learn that there are more options than you think. The process of the egg being fertilized with a single sperm creates what’s known as an embryo. The decision to use one partner’s egg or sperm, or to form embryos with both genetically related and donated egg or sperm is yours. Ultimately, you will have to decide whether that genetic relation is important to you.
As an example, we had a same-sex male couple each create their own embryos with their sperm. They decided to transfer both embryos from each of their sperm to their surrogate, with both sticking. They ended up having fraternal twins, one son genetically related to one parent and the other son related to the other parent. It was beautiful to see both parents represented in their blended family.
- How Much Does Surrogacy Cost? Does Insurance Cover It?
The cost of building your family varies depending on your treatment plan, donor/surrogacy costs, agency fees, legal and psychological fees, and additional expenses. There are many resources available to make this process as affordable as possible. If either yourself or your partner has fertility issues that you know about, there are still lots of options. For example, you could try a male fertility supplement (if you’re a male!) or even IVF. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable.
Some of the costs such as IVF treatments may be covered by insurance. It is important that you call your insurance company to verify whether your policy covers all or some of the costs of fertility treatment. Don’t be discouraged if your insurance doesn’t cover treatments, as there are other options such as grants, special discount programs, and financing through fertility clinics and agencies like us.
- Can We Choose the Gender of Our Baby?
The simple answer is, yes. Once your embryo is created, your IVF doctor can, through Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) & Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS), inform you of the quality and gender of your successfully fertilized embryos. You will then have the option to choose which of your embryos, either female or male, to transfer to your surrogate.
Choosing features of your child is limited to just gender. Features like hair color, eye color, and even height are still up to genetics and is what is so fun about the wait.
About the Author:
Parham Zar is the Founder and Managing Director of the Egg Donor & Surrogacy Institute (EDSI) and a leading expert within the third party assisted reproductive industry. Over his 20 year tenure at EDSI, Parham has helped thousands of intended parents bring their dream of parenthood to fruition. He is deeply invested in creating a more compassionate and open dialogue around infertility and reproductive challenges; issues that commonly impact individuals and couples around the world.