You are here
Surrogacy for Gay Men, Selecting The Surrogate and Egg Donor
Guy Ringler M.D a Los Angeles fertility doctor at California Fertility Partners is in the midst of some serious legwork. For the past 20 years he’s been helping gay men have their own biological children, but recently he’s been fielding more requests than ever from men, who are interested in exploring surrogate and egg donor options.
“There is increased awareness of the options available in reproductive medicine,” says Dr. Ringler of the uptick he’s seen in the last five to 10 years. “And I think reproductive centers are opening up and making themselves accessible to the gay and lesbian community as never before.”
When gay men come to Dr. Ringler with the desire to have children, he walks them through what he does on the medical side, from the screening process to drawing up the treatment calendar.
He starts by matching the men with a surrogate mother, typically a woman who is roughly between the ages of 20 and 40 with the history of at least one normal pregnancy and delivery.
“She initiates her social screening with a surrogacy agency, which then matches the surrogate mother with the intended parent and then refers the surrogate candidate to me for a complete medical screening,” Dr. Ringler explains.
The woman undergoes a thorough review of her past obstetrical history, complete physical exam, and a uterine evaluation to determine if she is an ideal candidate for surrogacy.
Simultaneously, the men will select an egg donor. Egg donors are generally a little bit younger between the ages of 20 and 30 and are usually selected from an egg donor agency.
“The men receive a lot of information on the potential egg donor candidate,” says Dr. Ringler. “They’ll see pictures, profiles, and perhaps a video. They may elect to meet the egg donor or remain anonymous.”
Once the egg donor is selected she completes a complete medical screening, genetic screening, and psychological screening to determine if she is a suitable candidate for egg donation.
Once everyone has completed their medical screenings; the surrogate mother, the egg donor, as well as the intended parent sperm providers, a treatment calendar is then drawn up.
“In the treatment calendar we start by synchronizing the menstrual cycles, because the goal is to have the surrogate’s uterus in the receptive phase of the cycle when the eggs and embryos are ready,” Dr. Ringler explains. “So to make that happen, we turn off the natural cycle of the surrogate mother and we turn off the natural cycle of the egg donor with medications.”
The next step entails starting the surrogate mother on estrogen hormones to begin to prepare her uterus for pregnancy. This hormone will thicken the uterine lining.
A couple of days later the egg donor donor will start fertility hormones; primarily injections of FSH to stimulate the development of multiple eggs. Approximately eight to 12 days later the egg retrieval process will take place through a simple outpatient procedure.
Once the eggs are fertilized with the parent sperm, the embryo will be transferred and the journey toward fatherhood continues.