FAM­ILY OP­TIONS

Your choices for be­com­ing a par­ent

Pride Life Magazine - - SPONSORED FEATURE -

There are many op­tions for be­com­ing a par­ent with your same-sex part­ner.

Whilst adop­tion and fos­ter­ing may be the an­swer for some cou­ples, oth­ers may wish to have a child that is bi­o­log­i­cally re­lated to one of them.

Op­tions open for same-sex cou­ples who wish for their child to be bi­o­log­i­cally re­lated to one of them in­clude donor in­sem­i­na­tion (for les­bian cou­ples), sur­ro­gacy (for gay cou­ples), and co-par­ent­ing.

DONOR IN­SEM­I­NA­TION FOR LES­BIAN COU­PLES

You can choose an un­known donor through a fer­til­ity clinic or you can re­ceive do­nated sperm di­rectly from a known friend or some­one you have met through a con­nec­tion ser­vice such as Pride An­gel (pridean­gel.com).

Donor in­sem­i­na­tion or intra-uter­ine in­sem­i­na­tion (IUI) can ei­ther be per­formed within a fer­til­ity clinic or in your home en­vi­ron­ment us­ing a home in­sem­i­na­tion kit.

Ad­van­tages of us­ing a known donor in­clude the abil­ity to un­der­stand more about the donor’s per­son­al­ity traits and the donor hav­ing in­volve­ment in the child’s life as an “Un­cle” fig­ure, for ex­am­ple, with­out them hav­ing full parental re­spon­si­bil­ity, or through a co-par­ent­ing ar­range­ment. If you are us­ing a known donor it’s ad­vis­able to get some le­gal ad­vice and a donor agree­ment drawn up.

IUI OR IVF TREAT­MENT?

If you are a les­bian with no known fer­til­ity is­sues, then it may be worth try­ing the less med­i­cally in­va­sive fer­til­ity treat­ment known as IUI or intra-uter­ine in­sem­i­na­tion, whereby washed sperm is in­serted di­rectly into the uterus. IUI is cheaper and can of­ten be ef­fec­tive when the woman is healthy and un­der 35 years of age.

If you sus­pect fer­til­ity is­sues, or are over the age of 35 years, then the fer­til­ity clinic may rec­om­mend IVF (in vitro fer­til­i­sa­tion). Al­though more ex­pen­sive, the pro­ce­dure has a higher suc­cess rate and is there­fore more suit­able when try­ing to get preg­nant faster.

SUR­RO­GACY

Sur­ro­gacy is an op­tion for gay cou­ples who wish to have a child who is bi­o­log­i­cally re­lated to one of the fa­thers.

The sur­ro­gate’s own eggs can be used, and this is known as “Tra­di­tional Sur­ro­gacy” and the child will be ge­net­i­cally re­lated to the sur­ro­gate.

Al­ter­na­tively, the eggs of an egg donor can be used. This is known as “Ges­ta­tional Sur­ro­gacy” and the child will not be ge­net­i­cally re­lated to the sur­ro­gate. In this process, the em­bryo is cre­ated by us­ing sperm from the in­tended bi­o­log­i­cal father and an egg from the egg donor (bi­o­log­i­cal mother) through the process of in vitro fer­til­i­sa­tion. The egg donor could be a known donor found through a con­nec­tion ser­vice such as Pride An­gel.

Some cou­ples pre­fer to use a ges­ta­tional sur­ro­gate as the sur­ro­gate will not be bi­o­log­i­cally re­lated to the child and there­fore this helps with any at­tach­ment is­sues a bi­o­log­i­cally re­lated sur­ro­gate could have.

Ar­rang­ing sur­ro­gacy in the UK can be dif­fi­cult. One dif­fi­culty faced with sur­ro­gacy in the UK is that in the eyes of the law, un­til the Parental Or­der has been is­sued af­ter the baby’s birth, the baby is not “yours” and there­fore the sur­ro­gate could choose to keep the baby. For this rea­son some gay cou­ples may choose sur­ro­gacy abroad in coun­tries such as the United States, where a le­gal con­tract en­sures that the baby is handed over.

It is im­por­tant to seek ad­vice and gain knowl­edge of the sur­ro­gacy law be­fore con­sid­er­ing sur­ro­gacy as an op­tion.

CO-PAR­ENT­ING

Co-par­ent­ing is an ar­range­ment where two peo­ple of the op­po­site sex agree to con­ceive and raise a child to­gether when they are not in a re­la­tion­ship. For in­stance, a sin­gle gay man and a sin­gle les­bian team up to­gether to bring up a child to­gether. Some­times friends choose to co-par­ent or of­ten a suit­able co-par­ent is found through a con­nec­tion ser­vice such as Pride An­gel.

Co-par­ents can choose to con­ceive ei­ther through a fer­til­ity clinic or us­ing home in­sem­i­na­tion as long as the health screen­ing checks and le­gal co-par­ent­ing agree­ment have been com­pleted.

With co-par­ent­ing, parental re­spon­si­bil­ity is shared and a num­ber of de­tails need to be con­sid­ered, such as the role each par­ent will have in their child’s life, how much con­tact the child will get with each par­ent and how the fi­nan­cial costs of bring­ing up their child will be split.

It is ad­vised that you seek le­gal ad­vice be­fore con­sid­er­ing co-par­ent­ing as this op­tion can be com­pli­cated.

SAME-SEX PAR­ENT­ING

Whichever op­tion gay and les­bian cou­ples de­cide is best for them in or­der to have chil­dren, the most im­por­tant val­ues are that chil­dren are raised in a safe, se­cure and lov­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

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