In the years since same-sex marriage has become legal in most of the Western world, advancements in fertility treatments have made it possible for people of any gender to become parents. But those same-sex parents face a specific challenge: someone has to do the gestating. That's why gay parents often opt to pursue surrogacy, a family-building option that's become increasingly popular as same-sex couples have moved into the mainstream and have seen their numbers grow.
For some gay men, using a surrogate is the only way to fulfill their dream of fatherhood. Known as gestational surrogacy, this process involves a sperm donor fertilizing an egg from a surrogate, who then carries the child to birth. The resulting baby shares the surrogate's genetic makeup, but not the biological father's.
Some gay couples choose to work with a surrogate who's a friend or family member. Others use an agency to find a suitable surrogate, which can help make the arrangements easier. It's important for intended parents and their surrogate to communicate throughout the journey. That means having a clear understanding of things like lifestyle during the pregnancy and how money will be handled.
Intended parents also need to understand state laws around things like parental rights and compensation, and have an attorney on hand who can guide them through the process. For some, the most challenging part of the surrogacy journey is dealing with friends and family members who may not fully understand or empathize with their decision to build a family this way.