We have been helping gay men have children through egg donation and surrogacy for over two decades. In those twenty-plus years the resources available for gay men interested in family building have greatly increased, making this treatment available to men from most parts of the world.
California has always been one of the safest places in the world for surrogacy because the laws are very protective of the rights of the intended parents. In addition, California has some of the finest centers for reproductive medicine anywhere in the world.
There are five basic steps gay men will need to take to build a family through surrogacy.
Step one: Schedule a consultation with a fertility specialist to initiate your testing with a semen analysis, baseline infectious disease screening, and genetic carrier screening. We often freeze sperm on this first visit to be used in the treatment cycle. Your doctor will provide an overview of the treatment process and the decisions you will need to make along the way.
Step two: Select an egg donor. The selection of your donor is one of the most important parts of the process because not only will she provide the genetic material for your children, but also her egg quality will have a significant impact on your success rate. We work with dozens of different egg donor agencies to provide you a wide selection of candidates. We are able to help you in your selection by reviewing select profiles.
Once your egg donor is selected she will complete medical screening, contracts will be signed, and the treatment can begin.
Step three: Create embryos. The egg donor takes daily injections of hormones to stimulate the development of eggs. We hope to retrieve 20-25 eggs per cycle, which should generate 4-10 blastocysts for freezing. Many patients elect to have genetic screening of the embryos – pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) – to identify which embryos contain the correct number of chromosomes and which embryos are abnormal. Once frozen, the embryos will be stored until the surrogate is ready for transfer.
Step four: Surrogate selection. We work with some of the world’s best surrogacy agencies that will help match you with a carefully selected candidate for the process. The surrogate then completes extensive review and medical screening by your physician before contracts are prepared. Once the reproductive attorneys have completed your contracts we can begin treatment.
Step five: Embryo transfer. The surrogate is given hormones in amounts that mimic a perfect natural cycle to prepare the uterus for embryo implantation. The morning of the procedure one or two embryos (blastocysts) are thawed. The embryo(s) is carefully loaded into a narrow catheter that is passed through the surrogate’s cervix into the uterine cavity under ultrasound guidance. The intended parents are welcome to be in the room for the procedure if that’s their wish.
The pregnancy rates are very high due to the high quality eggs provided by the young donors and the fertile and receptive environment of the surrogate.