Saturday, March 05, 2016

Surrogacy Agencies -- Part 1

When starting our research into various agencies, we found to be very helpful. The site has reviews on both agencies and IVF clinics with breakdowns of various stats from reviewers. One of the critiques we have about this site is that anyone can create a review, negative or positive, but the agencies have no recourse to respond on the site. Some agencies have reviews on Google Maps and Yelp which could be useful.

After reading through all of the reviews, we finally decided to interview four agencies: Creative Family Connections, Circle Surrogacy, Growing Generations, and All Families Surrogacy.

We narrowed our choice down to these four based on the following factors: popularity, ranking, high percentage of gay Intended Parents, location, reviews, and cost.

If you browse over to, you'll quickly realize that none of our chosen agencies met all of our criteria. Clearly we had to sacrifice some factors over others. Each of the four excel in one of the categories.

Circle has a high number of reviews, many of them very positive, but the few negative ones did give us pause. They aren't the most expensive, but neither are they the cheapest. They also work with a high percentage of gay parents and are one of the oldest agencies.

Creative Family Connections has a decent number of reviews and a high ranking on surrogacyadvisor. Costs are about average, they've been around awhile, and they work with a large number of gay parents.

Growing Generations is the only US based agency used by a couple of our acquaintances. Because of this, we decided to interview them. They are described as the Ferrari of agencies. They are able to and willing to accommodate many requests of IPs in regards to privacy, and like Ferraris, are one of the most expensive. They are perhaps the most corporate and business-like of the agencies, and as such some people reported their journey not being very personal.

All Families Surrogacy doesn't have a rating yet on surrogacyadvisor, but when we very first started our research, they were one of the only agencies located in the Pacific Northwest and almost exclusively used by gay couples.

A note on expense. High expense isn't necessarily a bad thing in surrogacy. As a same-sex couple, this is perhaps the most personal journey you will ever be on with your spouse. The journey is fraught with risks, and you want to make sure the woman bearing your child is well supported and taken care of. We'll take a closer look in a few weeks at the various costs and the differences among the four agencies.

Next week we'll review in detail one of the four agencies.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Why go through surrogacy in the US and not abroad?

After deciding to have children through surrogacy, the next logical question is: Should we pursue surrogacy here in the U.S. or abroad?

The answer to that would have been more complicated just 18 months ago, but in a short period of time, and after a few international scandals, most LGBT "friendly" countries have banned commercial surrogacy.

A quick aside - commercial surrogacy refers to a surrogacy in which the surrogate is paid above and beyond the direct costs related to the pregnancy. Alternatively, when a surrogate is only compensated for the direct costs, it is considered an altruistic surrogacy. Due to the risks and invasiveness of pregnancy and surrogacy, usually only family members agree to be an altruistic surrogate.
So what has happened abroad?
India banned non-Indian citizens, including those of Indian heritage holding what is called an Overseas Citizen of India card, from participating in commercial surrogacy as of November 4, 2015. It is possible that if India recognizes LGBT marriages and allows OCI card holders to contract commercial surrogacy services, we could still go to India to have our children.

The Mexican state of Tabasco had allowed commercial surrogacy for some number of years, but after a string of scandals involving agencies scamming Intended Parents and even surrogates out of their money, the state quickly passed a revision to the law banning all foreigners from contracting commercial surrogacy. As of January 14, 2016, commercial surrogacy for foreigners and even Mexican gay male couples is now banned.

On August 25, 2015, commercial surrogacy was banned in Nepal.

After the infamous baby Gammy case of an Australian couple leaving one of their twins, who has down syndrome, in Thailand, Thailand quickly banned commercial surrogacy to foreigners. This case is particularly infuriating because an IVF clinic can easily test for Down syndrome prior to the embryo being implanted, but we'll get to that in a future post on the IVF process. As of February 19, 2015, Thailand is closed to foreigners.

Only altruistic surrogacy is allowed in Canada. It is also against the law to contract an agency or advertise to arrange a surrogacy. While agencies still operate, they are heavily scrutinized. In Quebec province, by law, surrogacy contracts are unenforceable.

After India, Thailand, and Nepal restricted commercial surrogacy, surrogacy agencies fled to Cambodia where there are no laws directly related to surrogacy. However, government officials are not happy with this outcome and have threatened to prosecute international intended parents on charges of human trafficking. Clearly when heading into such a deeply personal journey such as parenthood and surrogacy, one would want clear laws and a proven history of positive outcomes.

Only altruistic surrogacy is lawful and only in some states. Some draconian Australian states go so far as to ban Australia citizens from pursuing surrogacy abroad!

Given all of these new restrictions, we chose to pursue surrogacy in the good ol' U. S. of A. The US really is the best when it comes to surrogacy options, although not all states are equally as good, as we'll discuss in a different post.

So why list all of these countries here when I could have just provided a link to the wikipedia page? This list represents the information we have available now, while we are considering where to pursue our surrogacy. And given the fluid legal environment and seemingly rapidly closing doors, we have to pursue surrogacy now, or perhaps we'll never have the opportunity.

Next week we'll start our series on surrogacy agencies!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Welcome to our journey to fatherhood! I'm D! In 2013 I met and fell in love with my now-husband R.  We know that there are other blogs about gay dads that are very open, but we are fairly private, so for now, this blog is going to be semi-anonymous. Over the course of the next year and a half, we'll be posting about our journey through surrogacy, and we hope to bring you reviews, interviews, and reflections on our experience.

So now for the backstory:
We have been married now for a year and a half, in our early thirties, and have decided it's time to start our family. We both want children biologically related to us, and we want our children related to each other, so that means surrogacy and using the same egg donor for our two children. R is Indian and D is Caucasian, and in order for our kids to have a chance of looking a little bit like each of us, we hope to find an Indian-Caucasian woman as an egg donor. But we'll get to that search in a later post.

Right now, we are at the beginning of our journey to be Intended Parents. We didn't find a lot of information out there, and while there are a couple rating and review sites, and even some blogs of young women during their journey as surrogates, we thought it would be great to offer our first hand insight during our journey. Now, if you have looked into surrogacy at all, you know that it is a VERY expensive journey. In some parts of the US, you can buy an entire house for the cost of one surrogacy journey. Which is why this blog is going to feature ads and soon a GoFundMe site. We're excited to be on this journey and look forward to sharing it with you!

We hope to post once a week, so stay tuned for next week when we share why we decided to pursue surrogacy in the United States.