My Family is OK, Your Family is OK: New Hampshire Surrogacy and Different Types of Family Structures in the Gay Community
Family isn’t about biology. Family is about the choices your heart makes. Family includes the people whom you choose to bring into your family circle. This is especially true for surrogacy pursued by non-traditional intended parents. At New England Surrogacy, we are in tune with the special needs of LGBTQ surrogacy. What are some of these special needs?
Gay hopeful dads seeking to have a baby through gestational surrogacy know that their family won’t be 100% biologically related in the traditional sense. Same applies for two mom families. And single mom families. And single dad families, too.
Non-traditional families definitely do have some unique biological and legal considerations to think about. Let’s talk about biological considerations first: When there are two dads, how do you decide who the biological parent will be?
Well, you can create embryos with both of your genetics and have the laboratory staff pick the best quality embryo for you—that’s as close to leaving it up to chance as you can get. If you don’t want to know who the biological dad is, you don’t have to find out. New Hampshire law does not require paternity testing to establish your legal rights as parents. Keep in mind that this path will require a fresh egg donor cycle (a bit more $$$) so that you have enough eggs to fertilize in two batches.
A variation is to use an embryo from one dad for your first surrogacy and an embryo from the other dad for your second surrogacy. Two kids from the same egg donor cycle. Twins born a few years apart—pretty cool what science can do. A good cost savings option since you don’t have to redo your egg donor cycle.
Another option is to try to use two embryos at once, one from each dad. Surrogates have gotten savvy over the past few years and many choose to steer away from double embryo transfers due to the risks involved. Understand that it may take longer to match if you want to pursue this path. And know that a twin pregnancy can easily end up more expensive than two singleton pregnancies.
We get that surrogacy is expensive, so doing it all at once can be appealing when it seems like you are getting a deal! But, twin pregnancies come with more risk for the babies with early births and NICU stays or other, much higher, medical costs. There are risks also for the surrogate with a higher chance of bed rest (these expenses can add up quickly) and needing a c-section. Because of these higher risks, Reproductive Endocrinologists often recommend transferring only one embryo at a time.
Another option is to forego using either of your genetics and use donated embryos, which can be a very cost effective option depending on the matching program you utilize.
Ladies, some good news for you—two mom families have it a bit easier because obtaining donated sperm is easier and less expensive than getting donated eggs or donated embryos. You also have the choice of using donated embryos as a cost saver or if neither of you have suitable eggs. It’s good to have options!
A legal note: surrogacy in New Hampshire does not require the intended parents to have a genetic connection to the baby, so all genetic options are on the table for a New Hampshire surrogacy journey.
So let’s talk more those about legal considerations: You (well, really, your agency and your lawyer) need to think about whether two dad (or two mom) family building is a legal option that will allow you to obtain a birth certificate with BOTH of your names on it.
Typically, we look to the state where the surrogate lives to find out the answer; however, this can be a bit more nuanced in New England where, with our small states, it’s common for the nearest hospital to be right over the state border (think Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire serving many Vermont moms-to-be). Your lawyer will help you sort through all this!
For New Hampshire surrogates (and births taking place in New Hampshire), the good news is that New Hampshire can issue birth certificates listing both dads’ names (or both moms’ names). The parentage order that your attorney will seek during the pregnancy establishes which parents can be on the birth certificate. (This is similar to a pre-birth order that you may hear about in other states).
New Hampshire is surrogacy friendly and LGBTQ surrogacy friendly, so both parents, no matter the gender, can be listed on the birth certificate! (Did we mention that one of our Co-Directors, Catherine Tucker, wrote the law that turned New Hampshire into a LGBTQ surrogacy friendly state? We’re thrilled to have been part of this process!)
Some states do not allow two individuals of the same sex to be on the birth certificate. At New England Surrogacy, we will, of course, match you with a surrogate who lives in an LGBTQ law friendly state.