Having Babies

For same-sex couples

Having Babies

Many same-sex couples have shared the dream of having children and building a family. They want to be parents and have the same joys of raising children as opposite sex parents have always had. In fact, many same-sex couples are already parents and are doing a wonderful job of nurturing and raising their children.

There are four basic ways for lesbian, gay or bisexual parents to have a child.

  1. The parents can adopt a child who was born to someone else. Couples can apply to adopt through a local authority or adoption agency. However, this process is often frustrating and time-consuming. When it results in an adoption, the sentiments are pure joy. When it fails, it can be heartbreaking.
  2. The parents can conceive a child using sperm or eggs of their own and sperm or eggs donated by a third party.
  3. A gay couple and a lesbian couple can co-parent a child. This typical scenario is where a lesbian and a gay man team up to have children together, although one or the other may also be straight or bisexual. The man donates the sperm and both parties may share the rights and responsibilities for their child, as agreed between them. Major decisions to be worked out in such arrangements include: what role each parent will have and the degree of involvement each will have with the child, and, how financial costs will be managed between them.
  4. They can conceive a child with the assistance of a surrogate sometimes referred to as a “gestational surrogate,” who will carry the child until birth.

Surrogacy presents two options. The first option provides for choosing a woman who serves as the source of both the egg and the uterus. She could get pregnant just with intrauterine insemination. It is not legal to pay a surrogate, but expenses related to pregnancy can be covered.

However, a more popular second option would be to choose one woman as the egg donor, and a second woman as the surrogate. The male same-sex couple needs to decide whose sperm is going to be used. Or alternatively, half of the eggs are fertilized with one partner’s sperm and the other half fertilized with the other partner’s sperm.

For lesbian couples, assisted reproductive technology most commonly relies on one partner receiving medically assisted donor sperm insemination. Some couples might arrange for in-vitro fertilization so that one partner may donate the eggs and the other gestates the pregnancy. This way both partners can have a biological connection to their child.

To have a legally viable surrogacy agreement, both the future parents and the gestational carrier must sign a surrogacy agreement before conception. Then a surrender agreement is concluded after the child is delivered. Neither of the gay parents have to adopt their child. They just have to register the birth and note their names as the parents on the birth certificate.

For same-sex parents wanting to have a child, the adventure can be both amazing and rewarding. What is most important to remember is that all parents bring children into this world from a desire to love and provide a happy and healthy environment for their development and growth.