In the past, same-sex male couples and single men who didn’t have children through prior heterosexual relationships had just two basic paths to parenthood: Conventional adoption or the creation of a non-traditional co-parenting arrangement with a lesbian couple or a single woman.
Today, the ongoing advancement and increasing availability of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) make it possible for gay couples and single men to have biological children of their own, using many of the same cutting-edge techniques that have helped infertile heterosexual couples become parents for decades.
Although the journey to biological parenthood for non-traditional families involves medical and legal challenges, these obstacles can be overcome with the right expertise and guidance.
Here at California Center for Reproductive Health, we’re dedicated to helping all aspiring parents — including single adults and members of the LGBTQ community — find the fertility solution that helps them fulfill their family dreams. If you’re a single man or part of a same-sex male couple, ART can help you build your family on your own terms. Here’s how.
ART and non-traditional family building
The desire to have biological children isn’t unique to the traditional nuclear family. Many single adults are ready to become parents on their own, just as countless same-sex couples want to have children who are biologically related to one or both partners.
For single men and gay male couples, assisted fertility typically involves combining their own sperm with donor eggs and enlisting either a traditional surrogate or a gestational surrogate to carry the pregnancy to term.
A traditional surrogate is a woman who agrees to be both the egg donor and the gestational carrier for someone else’s baby. For single men as well as same-sex male couples, this relatively simple option is generally the most straightforward and cost-effective way to bring a child into the world, as it can usually be accomplished through basic fertility techniques.
When a traditional surrogate has a good supply of viable eggs, ovulates normally, and has a healthy uterus, artificial insemination, also known as intrauterine insemination (IUI), is often all it takes to achieve a healthy pregnancy.
During IUI, a highly concentrated solution of viable, washed sperm, either from a single donor or a mix of two donors, is injected directly into the uterus during ovulation. If basic IUI techniques fail to result in pregnancy after a few natural cycles, the surrogate may be given fertility medications to stimulate egg production and promote optimal ovulation.
It’s important to keep in mind that even though a traditional surrogate has a genetic connection to the child she’s carrying, she must legally concede all parental and custodial rights to the intended parent or parents before the treatment cycle begins.
It’s also important to note that California is surrogacy-friendly state, meaning it supports the legal rights of all intended parents, regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation, both prior to and after the birth of their child or children.
A gestational surrogate also carries a pregnancy to term for another individual or couple, but unlike a traditional surrogate, she isn’t the egg donor and has no genetic link to the baby.
Gestational surrogacy is accomplished via in-vitro fertilization (IVF) using either a single man’s sperm or a mix of sperm provided by each partner in a same-sex couple, to fertilize a donor egg for implantation in the womb.
During an IVF procedure, donor eggs are fertilized in a carefully controlled environment and placed in specialized incubators that support optimal development. Once the fertilized eggs become viable pre-embryos, they’re transferred to the surrogate’s uterus for implantation.
Whether donor eggs come from a family member, a close friend, or are sourced anonymously from an egg bank, all donors are required to undergo a thorough medical evaluation and psychological exam, an FDA-mandated infectious disease screening, and a complete genetic disease assessment.
The gestational carrier — who likewise may be a family member, close friend, or professional paid surrogate — must also undergo a complete medical evaluation and consent to receive ongoing prenatal care and any necessary medical treatment throughout her pregnancy.
Expert guidance and impartial support
Understanding your fertility options is just the first step on the road to parenthood. Once you know what your choices are, you’ll have to undertake the often-formidable process of deciding which path is best for you and your family.
At California Center for Reproductive Health, we take pride in providing expert guidance and impartial support for non-traditional families from all walks of life — whether you’re having trouble choosing an egg donor, finding a gestational carrier, or navigating the associated legal hurdles of using a traditional surrogate, we can help.
To learn more, call today or schedule an appointment online at one of our conveniently located Los Angeles area clinics in Encino, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Alhambra, or Valencia, California.