Gay couples who want to have children will need an egg donor, who provides the eggs, as well as a surrogate, who will carry the pregnancy. The egg donor and surrogate can be two different women (uses gestational surrogate), or one in the same (known as a traditional surrogate). Note that some states, however, mandate that the donor and surrogate must be two different women.
These roles may be provided for gay men by their female relatives or friends. Alternatively, some fertility clinics, agencies and attorneys facilitate connections with surrogates and egg donors.
1. Traditional surrogacy with Artificial Insemination (AI)
In this case the surrogate is artificially inseminated with the intended biological father's sperm.
2. IVF and Egg Donation and Gestational Surrogate
Using this scenario, two women are involved. IVF (in vitro fertilization) is used to control the ovulatory process, removing eggs from the donor's ovaries and letting sperm fertilize them in a fluid medium (in vitro). The resulting embryos are then transferred to the surrogate's uterus with the intent to establish a successful pregnancy.
There are options if both partners want a biological connection to their child/children.
- Some clinics are able to combine the sperm of each partner with separate batches of the donors eggs. This could result in twins, each with the same biological mother, but separate dads. If only one child is born, a DNA test will be needed to determine which donor is the father.
- One partner's female relative (e.g., a sister), could serve as the egg donor while her eggs would then fertilized by the sperm of the other partner. In this way, the child would be biologically related to both men.
- A gay couple may first have a child that is genetically related to one partner. Later on, if a second child is desired, sometimes the other partner's sperm is used to achieve a second pregnancy with the same surrogate. In this way, each may would have a biological connection to one child, and the children would be related to each other through their shared biological mother.
It is important that couples considering surrogacy retain an attorney who specializes in reproductive law to draft surrogate/egg donor agreements and obtain advice on other protections throughout the process.