Finding Your Path To Fatherhood
Fertility options for gay couples can feel overwhelming. We wanted to provide a simple guide to available options and how to begin. If you’re a gay man looking to start or grow your family, congratulations! We believe everyone should have the opportunity to build a family. Thanks to advances in reproductive medicine, there are fertility options for same sex male couples who wish to have a genetic relationship to their children.
An Overview to Fertility for Gay Male Couples
The main paths to fatherhood for cisgender gay couples are through adoption or collaborative reproduction with a fertility clinic. With a collaborative reproduction approach, male couples need a gestational carrier (often known as a surrogate) and donor eggs. The eggs are fertilized through IVF with sperm from one or both partners and one embryo is transferred to a carrier to achieve pregnancy. At PNWF, we have extremely high success rates (over 80%) for this process.
Donor Eggs for Cisgender Male Couples
Most gay men use non-directed egg donation to create embryos, meaning that the egg donor is not known to the intended parents. Non-directed egg donation can involve either fresh or frozen eggs. All non-directed egg donors pass extensive medical and psychological screening and cede any parental rights. PNWF recruits and manages our own pool of amazing egg donors. We help to coordinate fresh donor cycles, or we work with our sister egg bank SIMPLIFY to provide high quality embryos created from frozen eggs. PNWF can also help collaborate with outside egg donor agencies, depending on the preference of the intended parents.
Some men may have a friend or family member willing to donate eggs. We call this directed egg donation. Using a directed donor is a more complicated process, with unique social, emotional, and legal ramifications. PNWF has years of experience in guiding gay couples through all their fertility options, including directed donation.
Gestational Carriers for Gay Couples
PNWF partners with gestational carrier agencies to help with the surrogacy process. In 2019 compensated surrogacy became legal in Washington state. This provided a key fertility option close to home for gay couples in Washington. Patients work with an agency to match with a carrier, and our medical team reviews the candidate’s history and provides approval to move forward. Unlike non-directed egg donation, there is a personal relationship between a carrier and intended parents, and it is important to find a good fit. You’ll work with a legal professional to draw up contracts that protect the rights of both the carrier and intended parents. All parties will also speak with a counselor specializing in third party reproduction to discuss the nuances of building a family in this way. Starting a surrogacy journey can be daunting, but we are here to guide you every step of the way.
Financial Options for Gay Couples Pursing Fertility Treatment
Collaborative reproduction requires a large financial investment. Unfortunately, these costs fall especially heavily on gay men, as they need both donor eggs and a gestational carrier to pursue biological family building. In response to this, however, many organizations provide grants specifically to gay men seeking fertility treatments. These include the Gay Parenting Assistance Program, provided by Men Having Babies. Additional financial options include crowdfunding and fertility loans. We have a team of financial counselors to provide you with additional resources and strategies to help afford your fertility journey.
PNWF Provides Affirming Fertility Options for Gay and LGBTQ+ Couples
Building your family through collaborative reproduction is a complex and emotional experience. Make sure your medical providers are experienced in LGBTQ+ fertility care, so you can feel supported through your journey. At PNWF, we are extremely proud of our longstanding history of supporting our LGBTQ+ community. We’ve helped hundreds of same-sex couples, gay and lesbian single parents, and gender-diverse individuals start and grow their families. If you are a gay man considering your fertility options, we’re here to help: contact the Center for LGBTQ+ Fertility at PNWF for a consultation today.