If you’re trying to conceive then you probably know by now that there’s not just one route to having a baby. The medical community are making new and innovative developments in fertility all the time – not just for heterosexual couples, but for LGBTQ+ couples too. In a new world of surrogacy, sperm or egg donations, IVF and even womb transplants, there’s no standard route to growing your family.
This Pride Month we wanted to talk about a route that helps thousands of LGBTQ+ couples become parents – surrogacy – and how you can find support and resources to help you on your journey.
What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is when a woman carries and gives birth to a baby for a person or couple who can’t. There’s…
Full surrogacy, where the eggs of the intended mother or donor are fertilised with the sperm of the intended father and implanted with a treatment such as IVF. This means the baby has no genetic connection to the surrogate but does to the intended parents and/or donors.
Partial surrogacy, where the surrogate’s egg is fertilised by the intended father through IUI (artificial insemination), so the baby will have a genetic connection to the surrogate but not the intended mother (unless the mother and surrogate are related, which isn’t uncommon!)
Who can benefit from surrogacy?
Many couples who have babies via surrogate are cisgender (meaning non-transgender) heterosexual couples who were unable to conceive. There are also single women and men who begin their families through surrogacy.
But surrogacy offers an alternative to adoption for many LGBTQ+ couples looking to have kids, but can’t do so naturally. This may be same-sex couples, couples who don’t have a womb such as trans women, or any variation of a couple who want to be parents but can’t carry a baby themselves.
Just like heterosexual couples who can’t conceive, it can be difficult for many LGTBQ+ couples to let go of the dream of having biological children, and adoption isn’t the right option for everyone. So for some, surrogacy is the perfect route to parenthood!
Things to consider
Surrogacy isn’t always the easiest process, and going down the surrogacy route includes a lot of different decisions and considerations:
- Who will be the surrogate? How do you find her? How do you make sure she’s safe, healthy and happy throughout the process?
- Whose DNA will you use? If you have two sperm options, how do you decide which to choose?
- If you need an egg donor, where do you find one?
- The journey may be emotionally difficult for everyone involved, how do you make sure everyone is supported?
- What are the legal rights of the surrogate and intended parents that you need to consider?
It may seem stressful and difficult to navigate, but don’t worry, there is support out there to manage everything surrogacy-related – and we know just where you can find it.
What is My Surrogacy Journey?
Introducing our wonderful partners Two Dads UK and their organisation: My Surrogacy Journey.
Michael and Wes (Two Dads UK) became fathers to Talulah and Duke through surrogacy, and they built this family through a trusting, solid relationship with their gestational surrogate and her family. They are passionate to improve the journey of parents and surrogates and bring an inclusive platform of support through My Surrogacy Journey.
My Surrogacy Journey is a not-for-profit organisation that supports and facilitates the journeys of their Intended Parents members. They provide tailored support based on relationship status, gender and sexual orientation, so you can bypass unhelpful information. And not only do they provide practical help in the form of health screenings, counselling and surrogacy contacts, there’s even the possibility of finding donors with close resemblance to the parents through facial recognition software. This means even if you can’t be genetically related to your child, they could still look like you.
A surrogacy journey involves a lot of people – the parents, surrogate, donor(s), and all the connected families. MSJ practices transparency and support for everyone in the equation. So when it comes to starting a family, everyone stays safe.
Part of My Surrogacy Journey’s support is our own ExSeed at-home testing kits. If you’re in a couple with two options for sperm, deciding whose sperm to use can be easier when you know which is stronger! Not only this, but testing can help you make lifestyle choices in your fitness or diet in order to produce healthy sperm, and altogether have a smoother, more successful surrogacy journey. You can read more about our partnership if you follow this link to our introductory blog.
With at-home testing kits, it’s now easier than ever to check in on your fertility health, and it’s more accessible for LGBTQ+ people.
How does this benefit LGBTQ+ couples?
Empowerment. Knowledge is power when it comes to your fertility journey and both ExSeed and My Surrogacy Journey are dedicated to empowering you with all the information you need – about your choices and your body. This way you can take control of your own decisions when it comes to building a family.
Privacy and safety. Going to a fertility clinic isn’t fun for anyone, but can be pretty difficult or even risky for some. At-home sperm testing is not only ideal for men, but for trans women who may feel safer testing at home.
Inclusivity. Heterosexual women are often the centre of focus when it comes to fertility, which can exclude many parents TTC! ExSeed and My Surrogacy Journey provide everyone with the help they need, no matter what their journey looks like.
If you and your partner are looking at surrogacy as an option, go to mysurrogacyjourney.com and get started on your journey to parenthood.