The decision to have a child can be exciting, and, at times, overwhelming. There are so many things to consider: accepting impending changes to one’s lifestyle, accounting for financial needs, and determining whether or not your current home and school district will suffice. Some parents will face additional stress and uncertainty when they need the help of assisted reproductive technologies. Almost all parents ride the planning and preparation roller coaster. LGBT intended parents are no exception.
Figuring Out the Details
Before LGBT IPs can begin to grow their family, there are several details to consider. First, the IPs need to decide how they want to grow their family: by way of adoption, foster care, or surrogacy.
When choosing surrogacy, LGBT IPs need to learn if their insurance plan will cover any part of the process. Parenthood is a significant expense in all cases, however, LGBT IPs may need to budget expenses for IVF, and a surrogacy agency and gestational surrogate. While IVF and surrogacy are costly, they can be phenomenal options.
Ensuring their parentage is absolute is a common concern for LGBT individuals during family planning.
LGBT IPs will also need to consult their employers, at some point, to learn what maternity or paternity leave the employer offers. This can be intimidating as not all employers are open minded and lifestyle disclosure has led to unnecessary discrimination in the workplace
Unique Options for Lesbian Couples
For lesbian couples that choose IVF, it is possible for both women to contribute to the pregnancy. One partner can contribute the egg and the other partner can carry the pregnancy. This allows both women to feel like they are equally involved in their parenting experience. Of course, as with any family plan, this is not a guarantee. Unforeseen reproductive challenges may prevent one of the moms from donating a viable egg or carrying the pregnancy. Also, one of the women may not want to donate eggs or be pregnant. These are just some unique options for lesbian IPs.
Unique Options for Gay Couples
Gay men have unique options when pursuing gestational surrogacy to grow their family. One option is to have both fathers contribute sperm to fertilize eggs. The fertility clinic may be able to fertilize one embryo with one man’s sperm, a second embryo with the other father’s sperm, and then transplant both embryos at once. If both embryos implant, the gestational carrier may become pregnant with twins.
Finding a Gestational Carrier
Like any intended parents, LGBT IPs want to find a gestational surrogate who will share common views on prenatal care, who will make every effort to be the best carrier for the child, and who will respect their family dynamics. Some LGBT parents have shared that they felt compelled to choose the first gestational carrier who agreed to work with them, simply because they felt like they did not want to miss a chance. However, a professional, experienced surrogacy agency will assure all IPs that they are entitled to find the best surrogate for their journey.
One of the most important things to keep in mind during the process is that each family planning experience, regardless of lifestyle and family dynamics, is unique. A professional agency will accept all family dynamics, and support parents wholeheartedly through the journey they undertake in order to reach the goal of creating a family unit.