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Understanding How To Start AFamily As A Gay Man

As a gay man who has always dreamt of one day starting a family, understanding the options available to my partner and I in Australia has often felt a little daunting and complex. That’s why instead of relying on Dr. Google, it’s helpful to speak with those who really know what they’re talking about – like specialist Dr Andrew Davidson from Rainbow Fertility, who has made it his mission to communicate the numerous advancements of fertility treatments associated with surrogacy.

Baby born Baby born 💫🌸

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As I’ve previously written about at length, my sister has offered to donate an egg for my partner’s sperm, which we hope to have carried in a third party surrogate – ideally a close friend. While this method is becoming increasingly common and we don’t plan on having children in the immediate future, it’s always nice to feel informed when it comes to planning for the years ahead.

Hanging out.

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For the convenience of our readers, I recently sat down with Dr. Davidson to flesh out some of the important decisions that gay couples should look to make before starting a family, while also addressing some of the facts worth considering in the process. As Dr. Davidson points out, your personal circumstances, medical history and previous attempts to conceive (where relevant) will all play an important part in determining the best path for you.

First, what is surrogacy?

Surrogacy refers to an arrangement where a woman (the surrogate) agrees to conceive, carry and birth a child for others (the commissioning or intended parent/s) to raise. A surrogate can assist either gay couples or single gay men in their attempt to become parents.

What is traditional surrogacy?

In this case the surrogate provides her own eggs and is therefore genetically related to the child. With traditional surrogacy the surrogate can achieve a pregnancy either through Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) or In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) with sperm from the intended gay parent(s) or from a sperm donor.

What is gestational surrogacy?

In this case the surrogate has no genetic link to the baby. Through the process of IVF, the egg (from a separate egg donor) is fertilised in the lab with sperm from the intended gay parent(s) or from a sperm donor, and the embryo created is then placed into the uterus of the gestational surrogate in order to achieve a pregnancy.

How do you find a surrogate?

In Australia, surrogacy must be altruistic as commercial surrogacy is illegal and you cannot advertise for a surrogate. However, often some gay men and couples are lucky enough to have a friend or female family member willing to donate an egg or carry the pregnancy.
You may also find a surrogate through your networks, through word-of-mouth or other means. It may be that a friend-of-a-friend has been considering acting as a surrogate for some time and offers when she hears of your experience. Some people say, potential surrogates are everywhere they just need to know you are looking. You may also find it helpful to contact Gay Dads Australia (gaydadsaustralia.com.au) and Families Through Surrogacy (www.familiesthrusurrogacy.com.au) for further information.

How do you find an egg donor?

If you have got a surrogate lined up but they won’t be using their own eggs to conceive, you’ll need to find an egg donor. Egg donors are classified as “known” and “clinic-recruited”.

A “known donor” is where the egg donor’s identity is known eg. often a friend or family member. “Clinic-recruited” are where the identity of the donor is unknown although identifying information is available when the child reaches 18 years (or younger, depending on the relevant state legislation or regulations). Clinic-recruited donors are only available through a fertility clinic. Further information on the Rainbow Fertility egg donor program can be found on www.rainbowfertility.com.au.

WHAT ARE THE METHODS FOR CONCEIVING THE BABY?

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)

During an IVF cycle the ovaries are stimulated to produce more eggs than a natural cycle. The eggs are then collected and fertilised with the sperm. The healthiest embryo is transferred into the uterus of the surrogate carrying the pregnancy. The procedure requires a mild sedation and the woman is able to go home the same day.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

ICSI is a technique developed to maximise the chance of fertilisation and is recommended for people who have had a poor or no fertilisation during standard IVF. A single sperm is injected directly into an egg. As with IVF, the healthiest embryo is transferred into the uterus of the surrogate carrying the pregnancy.

For more information about family building for gay men go to www.rainbowfertility.com.au

To discuss the best options available to you for starting a family talk to one of their experienced fertility advice centre coordinators on 1300 222 623.

Rainbow Fertility centres are located in Adelaide, Brisbane Coast, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney.

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