When it comes to creating the family of their dreams, most gay and queer men have two very different paths to consider: gay surrogacy or gay adoption. While both options can be incredibly rewarding, neither is easy; they each involve working with several family-building partners and both are costly.
At GWK, we strongly believe that there is no right or wrong path to choose. Some have always known that one day they’d become a father through adoption or foster-adopt; just as others look forward to creating biological offspring. Either way, the decision is a personal one that can only be made by each dad-to-be, whether single or as part of a couple.
For those who don’t know their options, or don’t even know how or where to get started, we created the GWK Academy app, which provides an in-depth review of surrogacy & IVF, adoption, and foster-adopt. We encourage you to download the app and enroll in our free “Intro to GWK Academy Course” to learn more. Of course, if you’d like to get started now, we invite you to read below to get a high-level overview of surrogacy and adoption.
Surrogacy offers gay couples and single men an opportunity to become biological dads. The first step involves getting a semen analysis along with receiving medical clearance…in the case of couples, it is possible that one or both of the partners tries creating embryos by providing the semen used to fertilize eggs of a donor. It is important to note that the egg donor is not the same person who will be carrying the embryos through birth. Rather, surrogacy involves a different woman having the embryos implanted and carrying through to birth.
The process of arranging for a surrogate requires legal contracts and typically involves significant out-of-pocket costs on top of medical and other expenses (like insurance, for example) associated with the pregnancy itself. However, going this route allows single gay and queer men and same-sex couples to experience parenthood together by creating a child through their own DNA—an invaluable experience that many would argue makes the extra time and expense worth it in the end.
Depending on the laws in the state where a couple is considering to pursue surrogacy, they may require a legal process that involves establishing parental rights for both partners before and/or after birth. It’s important to do your research and seek professional advice before pursuing surrogacy, as doing so will help ensure that all parties involved are aware of their legal rights and responsibilities during each step of the process.
Not all surrogacy and egg donor agencies or fertility clinics have ample experience in, or a special passion for, LGBTQ+ family-building. Therefore, it is especially important that gay and queer intended dads conduct their research and due diligence to find reputable family-building partners with a long and proven track-record supporting our families. It can be overwhelming to try and select these partners, which is why GWK has partnered with an exclusive network of hand-selected family-building partners who also offer discounts to GWK Academy enrollees.
With proper planning, single gay and queer men, as well as those who are partnered, can successfully build families through surrogacy and IVF. While the entire process can be intricate, at its core, gay surrogacy and IVF provides a beautiful opportunity for biological family-building.
Finally, it is important to understand that as of 2023, the average surrogacy & IVF journey takes up to two years and typically costs from $140,000 to $220,000+ USD.
This large gap in the overall cost reflects several variables, some of which you will be able to control and some of which you will not. For more information on the details behind the cost of a surrogacy journey, or for help to pay for it, enroll in GWK Academy’s Surrogacy & IVF course.
When it comes to gay adoption, the first thing to understand is that there are several different forms of adoption: domestic infant, international, or foster-adopt.
Adopting a newborn here in the U.S. is called domestic infant adoption, and it can be done through an agency or a private attorney. Either way, you should plan to spend between $40,000-$60,0000 and expect about two years for the entire journey.
There are currently just two countries in the world that allow openly gay men from abroad, regardless of relationship status, to adopt: Columbia and South Africa. These kids range in age from toddler to young teens, though they typically are between 5-8 years of age. The journey and overall fees will be similar to a domestic infant adoption, although including the cost of staying in the host country for 8-12 weeks can increase your overall costs.
Foster care adoption occurs when you adopt out of the foster care system. While it’s possible to foster-adopt babies and young toddlers, the typical age of these kids runs between 6-9 years of age. It can take several months to fulfill all the paperwork and training to be certified; once you are certified, you could be placed very quickly. In addition to the quicker timing involved, foster-adopt doesn’t cost any money.
When it comes to gay adoption, though, there is an important factor to consider: while some states allow single-parent adoptions, the laws vary from state to state and may not be favorable in all cases. Furthermore, if you are in a same-sex relationship, or gay, you should find an agency that specializes in LGBT adoptions or risk facing discrimination during the process.
Gay adoption laws vary from state to state in the United States. Generally, same-sex couples have the option to adopt when they meet certain criteria, such as being over the age of 18 and financially stable. Some states also require background checks and/or home inspections before approving a gay couple to adopt a child. They must also consider what type of adoption is best for them (i.e., open, closed, or step-parenting).
The best way to get started is to download the GWK Academy app. The Academy offers adoption and foster-adopt dads-to-be with an ever-growing list of adoption and foster agencies, including several that offer national programs and/or have long been supportive of LGBTQ+ family-building.
In addition, it is important for gay adoptive couples to consider their family dynamics if they wish to adopt a child from a different racial or ethnic background than their own. Gay couples should talk openly among themselves and with potential birth parents and/or adoption professionals about how they will navigate cultural differences, how they will ensure the child’s success in school, and how they plan to maintain strong relationships with extended family on both sides. Same-sex couples should also consider potential religious and spiritual differences when they plan to raise a child of another faith.
Adopting a child is an incredibly meaningful experience and gay couples should take the time to research the process thoroughly and decide if it is right for them. With supportive agencies, resources, and legal rights in place, single gay men and same-sex couples have the opportunity to provide loving homes to children who need them.
Comparing Gay Surrogacy vs. Adoption
Once you understand how surrogacy works and the various options for adoption, as well as the overall costs involved for each path, you likely are able to make a decision about which path is best for you.
While both options can be extremely rewarding in different ways, it’s important for anyone considering either route to do their research first so they understand the implications of each choice before making a final decision about which one is right for them. No matter which path you choose in your journey toward parenthood, make sure you have all of the information necessary so that your experience can be as stress-free as possible!
In 2022, Gays With Kids launched GWK Academy – a one-of-a-kind mobile app that provides users with a wide range of resources such as informational videos, blog posts, webinars, and more from adoption and surrogacy / IVF family-building partner experts. The app also includes introductions to mentors – gay dads who have recently traveled your journey to fatherhood – as well as connections with proven and vetted family-building partners from across the USA.
Finally, for those wondering if they can expect a different relationship with adopted children versus biological children, Gays With Kids founder Brian Rosenberg says, “My husband and I created our family through a combination of adoption and surrogacy. I am the biological parent of our twin girls born through surrogacy and can share that there’s absolutely no difference between the love I have for my adopted child versus the love I have for my biological children. To those who are wondering whether or not to pursue adoption or surrogacy, I can assure you that you will have the exact same feelings of love, joy and pride for one that you would have for the other.”