Monday, September 17, 2007

Surrogacy and Gay Couples

More and more men are choosing surrogacy to create their own families, rather than adoption. California law does not restrict a couple's right to be a parent based on marital status, so gay couples can place both their names on the birth certificate of their child. Please see the article below:

Men having babies
Panel discusses issues of surrogacy and gay couples

by amy zimmer / metro new york

WEST VILLAGE. Minnette Trent, a married Texan with three kids, became a surrogate and carried twins for a gay couple more than a year ago. She’s already signed up to do it again for another couple.

“Be not afraid,” Trent told the crowd gathered yesterday at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center’s third annual “Men Having Babies” workshop. The LGBT center is trying to help the rising numbers of people in their community who are interested in surrogacy navigate the complicated medical, legal and emotional process.

“What your focus should be on is how you’ll decorate the nursery and whose mother you’ll name it after,” Trent said. “Surrogates don’t go into the process because we want another child of our own. We do it because we like being pregnant and we want to help people. We don’t want phone calls every day asking if we’re taking vitamins.”

New York and New Jersey outlawed surrogacy following the notorious “Baby M” trial 20 years ago. Panelists talked about looking for surrogates in other states, such as Massachusetts or Connecticut.

“When my husband and I started the process [of surrogacy] in 1991, we turned to this center and they connected us with the only two agencies at that time that did this work,” said John Weltman, a lawyer who founded the Boston-based Circle Surrogacy, Ltd, 12 years ago.

His agency carefully screens surrogates, who must already be mothers. Only one in 30 become “carriers,” and, while a few years ago, only one in 10 wanted to work with a gay couple, now Weltman said it’s eight in 10.

“They don’t have to deal with issues of infertility,” he said. “And gay men know how to treat a woman. They know how to send her flowers.”

Weltman and his husband have two sons, one from each, and both from the same mom. Weltman borrowed money from his family to pay for one child. For the other, he traded legal services.

Stuart Miller, CEO of Growing Generations LGBT surrogacy and egg donation firm, took out a second mortgage on his house for the process.

He and his partner are “16-weeks pregnant with an egg donor and surrogate. … We didn’t want to meet our egg donor, but said our child can meet her after the age of 18.” But they’re friends with the surrogate. “We just sent [her] to see BeyoncĂ©.”

It ain't cheap...

There are two forms of surrogacy. Gestational surrogacy is when a surrogate is impregnated through in vitro fertilization using the couple’s sperm and a donor egg. Traditional surrogacy is when the surrogate is artificially inseminated. For gestational surrogacy, lawyers’, psychologists’ and doctors’ fees, plus the surrogate’s $20,000, add up to roughly $110,000, according to Circle Surrogacy, Ltd. That doesn’t include a $25,000 Lloyd’s of London health insurance policy in case a carrier’s insurance won’t cover the pregnancy.

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