The Choice to Become Parents: Why More Gay Couples are Choosing Surrogacy Over Adoption

For LGBTQ+ couples and individuals, becoming parents has historically been a difficult and often impossible journey. Over the years, gay couples have had to rely on adoption or other alternatives to build their families; however, in recent years, more and more gay couples have been choosing surrogacy as their preferred way to become parents.

Surrogacy offers the opportunity for gay couples to have a biological connection to their children and the satisfaction of having gone through the entire process together.

In this blog post, we discuss why more gay couples are considering surrogacy over adoption and provide an overview of the pros and cons of each option.

What is surrogacy?

Surrogacy arrangements tend to fall within two categories, the difference being whether the child is biologically related to the surrogate.

Thanks to advances in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), the vast majority of couples today choose to have a gestational surrogate. Gestational surrogacy is when the surrogate (also known as a gestational carrier) carries a child not genetically related to her, using either the intended mother’s eggs or a donor’s eggs.

A less common choice is traditional surrogacy, which is when the surrogate uses her eggs and is inseminated with the intention that the child will go to the intended parents at birth.

How common is gestational surrogacy?

According to the CDC, nearly 80,000 babies were born in the United States due to 326,471 Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedures performed in 2020. Of those births, 5.4% (17,089) of the ART procedures used a surrogate/gestational carrier. That is a notable increase from the CDC’s numbers from 1999-2013, which show that about 2% of ART procedures used a surrogate/gestational carrier during those years.

Surrogacy in the United States is unregulated at the federal level, so each state has different surrogacy laws. International surrogacy for U.S. citizens is possible, though many countries ban foreign intended parents, and those that do allow surrogacy may lack medical and legal regulations.

Benefits of surrogacy for gay couples

Many same-sex couples may want to consider gestational surrogacy because of the possibility of maintaining a genetic link to their child(ren). In addition, for same-sex male intended parents, surrogacy provides the choice for one of the men in the couple to deliver their sperm for IVF.

Gestational surrogacy also lets IPs decide where they receive the donated eggs. It could be from a friend, relative, clinic, frozen egg bank, or an anonymous donor. If you are an intended parent seeking specific desired traits in a donor, surrogacy provides that option.

Another great benefit for same-sex couples and individuals considering gestational surrogacy is the relationship they can build with their gestational carrier. Involvement in the process can be an important aspect for same-sex couples and individuals pursuing gestational surrogacy, so having the opportunity to actively participate in prenatal care allows intended parents to have a greater sense of control over their journey to parenthood.

The barriers to adoption for gay couples

Parents interested in adopting should be judged on the likelihood of providing a loving home for the child. We believe this should be the primary consideration, not someone’s sexual orientation. Sadly, though, most states lack legal protections to guard against favoring heterosexual parents over gays and lesbians in adoption and foster care placements.

Currently, 18 states lack explicit protections against discrimination in adoption based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and 13 states permit state-licensed child welfare agencies to refuse services to LGBTQ people and same-sex couples if doing so conflicts with their religious beliefs.

It’s also worth noting that legal problems for gay couples extend beyond the U.S. While U.S. federal law does not impose restrictions on LGBTQ U.S. citizens or same-sex couples from becoming adoptive parents, the situation varies when it comes to international adoption. Many foreign countries may have policies that prohibit LGBTQ individuals or same-sex couples from adopting, posing challenges and limitations for those seeking to expand their families through international adoption.

How to find a suitable surrogate

You can take two main paths to find a gestational carrier: working closely with a surrogacy agency or pursuing an independent surrogacy arrangement.

While pursuing surrogacy independently can be less costly than working with a surrogacy agency, an agency can also provide a greater sense of peace of mind and a higher level of support and guidance throughout your journey. In addition, a surrogacy agency can also take a lot of responsibilities off your plate, from screening potential surrogates to navigating the complex legal and financial processes.

At Fairfax Surrogacy, decades of research and experience have led us to develop a list of requirements for surrogates to ensure the highest success rates for pregnancies and the best outcomes for both the surrogate and the baby. Surrogates have had at least one successful pregnancy and delivery, have a child or children, and want to give other families the hope and joy of pregnancy.

Working with an agency is the safest way and most likely to lead to the best results for all, and we encourage you to contact us about becoming a parent through surrogacy as you consider your future family.