Steps to Fatherhood for Gay Men

gay men with baby

Steps to Fatherhood for Gay Men

Are you a gay man interested in becoming a father? Do you and your male partner want a more intimate connection with your child’s pregnancy, labor, and delivery? There are multiple steps to fatherhood for gay men.

The first one is to connect with a fertility center near you to begin the process. Fertility centers are primed and ready to support whatever steps are necessary to help the LGBTQ+ community make their family-building dreams come to life.

Guide to Same-Sex Male Fatherhood

Here are the steps most same-sex male couples go through to become fathers.

1. Decide whose sperm to use

Is only one of you interested in a biological connection this time around? Are you both interested? Have you opted to use a donor to keep things equitable? You have several options:

  • Using one dad’s sperm. If you already know who the father will be, he will contribute a sperm sample to the fertility center. Some couples realize they want more than one child and decide to take turns with each one.
  • Using both dad’s sperm. Some couples opt to submit both sperm samples and mix them, letting fate decide who the father is.
  • Using donor sperm. If male infertility factors are an issue or you’ve opted to take genetic connection out of the equation for equity’s sake, a sperm donor is an answer. The fertility clinic has referrals to high-quality sperm banks, and you can go through the sperm donor selection process to choose the best donor for your goals. Click Here to read more about that process.

2. Select a gestational (or surrogate) carrier

The next step determines who will carry the baby for you. Some gay couples have family members or friends who are willing to be a gestational or surrogate carrier. Others use agencies to select a surrogate or gestational carrier.

In all cases, gay couples should meet with a lawyer specializing in same-sex couple parenting to ensure the proper legal documents are in place. We also recommend meeting with a fertility counselor to discuss each option’s emotional ramifications and discuss the future social-emotional groundwork to support your child’s experience.

A surrogate carrier

A surrogate carrier contributes her egg and signs away her legal ties to the child. For example, let’s say one of your sisters is willing to donate an egg (for genetic similarity) and carry the baby. This would be a surrogate situation, and your partner would be the sperm donor. A woman with a healthy reproductive system and viable eggs would begin using IUI to get pregnant. If IUI treatments aren’t successful, IVF is the next step. The same could happen using a close friend or stranger who volunteers her eggs and womb for surrogacy.

Gestational carrier

In other cases, a friend or family member may be willing to contribute her body and womb to the cause, but not the egg. In that case, she is a gestational carrier, and you’ll need to find an egg donor. Your fertility center will help you with that part of the process. Gestational carriers go through IVF, which means embryo adoption is also possible depending on your situation and preferences.

Gestational carriers are contracted through agencies, where you pay an agreed-upon amount for her service as a gestational carrier, as well as all of her medical bills related to the pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum period. Some couples continue paying the gestational or surrogate carrier to pump breastmilk after the baby is born for a specific length of time (typically three to six or nine months).

Read Who Benefits from a Gestational Carrier to learn more about that process.

3. Finding the Perfect Surrogate

If you are going the surrogate/gestational carrier route, you’ll want to take the additional step of finding the best one for your future nine or more months. You’ll be forming a close and intimate relationship, so compatibility, shared views on pregnancy lifestyles, and agreeing on what will or won’t happen around prenatal appointments, the labor/delivery, and the postpartum period is essential.

Visit Finding the Perfect Surrogate to learn more about important considerations and how to conduct interviews.

4. Choosing the Egg Donor

We touched on this above, but most gay couples wind up using both an egg donor and a gestational carrier. Most egg banks have online registries where you can view photos and bios of prospective donors. While things like education level and shared hobbies/interests are important, most couples look for an egg donor who physically matches the phenotype (race, coloring, physical features/traits) of one or both of the dads.

5. Making Financial Arrangements

The total costs for a gay couple to become parents depend on the methods they select. However, the costs for the most common arrangement (your sperm, donor egg, IVF with gestational carrier) typically run around $100,000. Fortunately, most fertility centers offer financing options that break that amount down into more manageable monthly payments.

Are you interested in learning more about the specific steps to fatherhood for gay men? The Fertility Center of Dallas is here to help. Contact us to schedule a consultation. We look forward to supporting your journey to fatherhood.

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