Surrogacy is a collaboration between fully informed, consenting adults wherein a person who can carry a pregnancy offers to help expand another person’s family. It’s a common path to parenthood for LGBTQ+ couples who cannot or do not want to become pregnant.
Whether you’re exploring surrogacy options and egg donation or just looking for an introduction to all the paths you might take to build your family, consider this page a starting point for your parenting journey!
Surrogacy for LGBTQ+ parents
First, congratulations! Embrace the excitement, joy, and unexpected surprises that come along with this new journey.
As you dive into this process, understand that there might be unexpected challenges or delays — but it’ll all be worth it in the end. Lean on your support system, develop a plan for the ups and the downs, work to find providers you can trust, and continue to cater to the activities that bring you joy.
Types of surrogacy
There are two types of surrogates: Traditional and gestational. A traditional surrogate is a person who carries a pregnancy using their own egg and a donor or intended parent’s sperm. Traditional surrogates have a genetic link to the baby or babies born as a result of the pregnancy.
What to know about traditional surrogates:
- Traditional surrogates will need to surrender their parental rights to the baby upon birth.
- Traditional surrogates sometimes require in vitro fertilization (IVF) in order to conceive.
- Traditional surrogates are typically friends or relatives of one of the intended parents.
A gestational surrogate is a person who carries a pregnancy using another individual’s egg and sperm. Gestational surrogates do not have a genetic link to the baby or babies born as a result of the pregnancy.
What to know about gestational surrogates:
- Often, people who use gestational surrogates need to first secure an egg donor through egg donation agencies.
- Gestational surrogates always require IVF in order to conceive.
Both traditional and gestational carriers will typically undergo both physical and psychological evaluations prior to attempting pregnancy, as will egg donors.
Working with egg donor and surrogacy agencies
If you opt to work with a gestational carrier and an egg donor, note that the quality of care you might receive will vary greatly.
Reputable surrogacy agencies have partnerships and measures to ensure that you and your family find success across the board. In addition to conducting both physical and psychological screenings prior to attempting pregnancy, egg donation agencies will also usually provide a full medical history and current and/or baby photos of the egg donor to help you make your selection.
If you’re looking for providers competent in LGBTQ+ family-building specifically, Family Equality recommends you explore our provider directory!
Because working with a surrogate also frequently involves IVF, you might want to explore our resources on assisted reproduction.
At or before your first visit, consider asking the following questions:
- Do you offer both egg donation and surrogacy?
- What is your success rate?
- What percentage of your clients are LGBTQ+?
- Can you recommend an assisted reproduction attorney experienced in surrogacy and egg donor arrangements in my state of residence as well as in the states where my surrogate and egg donor reside who is also familiar and up-to-date with family laws affecting the LGBTQ+ community?
- How do we become matched with a surrogate?
- How do we become matched with an egg donor?
- Will we have a surrogacy contract and an assisted reproduction attorney available to represent us?
- How can we assure the health and well-being of both our gestational carrier and our egg donor throughout this process?
Securing legal parentage