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Same Sex Reproduction for Men

a blog by Dr. Mark Payson, Dominion Fertility, January 28, 2015

In my last blog, I addressed issues related to same sex reproduction for female couples. Now I will look at the options and challenges facing same sex reproduction for men.

When I think about reproduction I like to keep it simple. What is it you really need to have a child? Sperm, eggs, and a uterus. Whereas female same sex couples only need to obtain sperm, for men the situation is a little more complex. It will require obtaining both an egg donor and a woman to carry the pregnancy: a gestational carrier (sometimes referred to as a surrogate). This is all very feasible but does require a little work!

Most clinics have egg donors, and there are also egg donation agencies, so there are generally many options for egg donation. Most egg donors are anonymous, that is neither the recipient couple nor the donor knows who the other one is. This is the easiest and most common form of egg donation.

Some couples use a friend or family member to donate eggs. While this can be a great option, it does raise a few issues. What role will the known egg donor have in the life of the child? How will it affect existing relationships? What is the child going to be told? It is important that all of these issues be addressed ahead of time, which tends to limit problems in the future. It is also vital that a legal contract be drawn up between a known egg donor and the recipient couple which describes the various responsibilities and legal rights of all parties involved. And, of course, the egg donor cannot be genetically related to the male partner who is providing sperm.

A gestational carrier (GC) is the woman who will carry the pregnancy. These can be arranged through various agencies or sometimes with the help of a reproductive attorney. Sometimes friends or family members offer to be GCs. Whomever the GC is, she is not anonymous and needs to be someone you trust and can get along with as she will be working very closely with you for at least nine months. Note that a GC cannot also be the egg donor, this is what is called “true surrogacy” and is not legal.

It is important that all this is done in consultation with not only your reproductive endocrinologist, but also a reproductive attorney. Laws change from state to state and many of these laws are changing rapidly. In some states using a gestational carrier is still illegal, even if rarely enforced. Further it is important to know whose names will be on the birth certificate and what rights each member of a couple will have as a parent. These rights and obligations are dependent on state laws, marital status, and who is the biological parent.

This can all seem daunting, but taken step by step is very achievable. As fertility physicians and practices, we can help guide you through the process. Good luck with your plans for having a family!


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