The Surrogacy Landscape in 2015

Surrogacy in US or abroad can be wonderful. Our family is living proof.

Surrogacy in US or abroad can be wonderful. Our family is living proof.

A lot has happened in the 2 years since DJ and MJ were born in India.  India has implemented the discriminatory regulation that surrogacy can only be offered to heterosexual couples married for more than two years.  Gay couples looked toward Thailand as an alternative only to have it shut down amidst military coup and scandal last year.  The next destination, Nepal, was hit with an earthquake earlier this year, and yesterday a court in Nepal suspended commercial surrogacy pending further review.  The options for gay couples seeking to become parents through surrogacy have become much more limited, and so my 2013 comparison of international vs. domestic surrogacy is no longer accurate.  International surrogacy has become a treacherous path to parenthood that I cannot in good conscience recommend because of possible disastrous situations like this one and this one.  I will be taking down the comparison page and leave the original 2013 entry in my archive for historical purposes.  Surrogacy in the US remains a safe option, and costs have decreased somewhat as more agencies come into operation to compete for clientele.

Josh and I are forever grateful for our positive surrogacy experiences in both California and India.  We are saddened that the options for gay couples hoping to become parents through surrogacy around the world have dwindled so.  I can only hope that in places like the UK, Israel, and Australia, their respective governments can recognize the extraordinary lengths gay couples have gone to have children, and better allow for well-regulated fair practices of surrogacy closer to home.

Surrogacy and Other Paths to Gay Parenthood

In my previous post, I have alluded to discussions I have had with people extremely critical of us as gay parents through surrogacy. My position is that while questionable surrogacy practices do exist, problematic situations can often be avoided by intended parents who proceed with caution, and prevented by government with regulation that better protects the babies, the surrogates, and the intended parents. I believe that surrogacy when done right can be a positive experience for all involved.

With that said, I recognize and respect the many different paths to parenthood, which can be quite varied for LGBT people from adoption to surrogacy to co-parenting. We recently contributed our story to a book about these many paths to gay parenthood. We are pleased to announce that the book has been picked up by a publisher and will be released next year! I encourage any LGBT people considering their many options in becoming parents to check out the Author website at: http://www.ericrosswood.com/

Taking a fair and balanced view of surrogacy is important

Taking a fair and balanced view of surrogacy is important

Crisis in Nepal

Nepal_Map1

A major earthquake hit Nepal last weekend.  Thousands have died, and many remain in peril amongst the ruins.  My thoughts are with the people of Nepal and I hope they are able to recover with the help of the international community.

After surrogacy in India and Thailand was shut down, international surrogacy shifted to Nepal.  Disasters like this highlight the lengths many intended parents are willing to go, the risks they take venturing far from home in effort to have children.

A group of Israeli parents through surrogacy and their babies are being airlifted out of Nepal back to Israel.  Most of these parents are gay because Israel only permits domestic IVF and surrogacy for opposite sex couples.  In the future, I hope that domestic surrogacy expands for gays in places like Israel and Australia, so that people who prefer to go through this process closer to home have the option to do so.

Worrisome Situation

A very upsetting story has brought worldwide attention to international surrogacy in Thailand. A straight Australian couple that had twins through surrogacy in Thailand allegedly abandoned the boy twin with Down’s Syndrome while taking home the healthy girl twin.

Baby Gammy, a boy with separated from his twin sister

Baby Gammy, a boy with separated from his twin sister

There is conflicting information about who knew what when. Regardless of what actually happened, it is clear that this surrogacy process was horribly mismanaged, and now the military controlled government in Thailand is looking into shutting down surrogacy as a whole because of this case. I am very worried for the intended parents with surrogacy in process over there. Given the amount of worldwide attention this is getting, I would not be surprised if there are is an international backlash against surrogacy.  I would not recommend starting any international surrogacy process anywhere right now.

Trick or Treat

What a difference a year makes.

Exactly one year ago, my sister and brother-in-law came to Florida to stay for 10 days so they could take AJ and JJ to school and to trick or treat on Halloween, while Josh and I made our first trip to India. We were very quiet about our plans, and not many people knew we were even going to be away. We were so secretive because we felt there was a lot of uncertainty pursuing international surrogacy, and we didn’t want it to be public knowledge if we were about to be swindled.

Investigating our options in 2012, my medical background and our prior experience as parents through surrogacy had already served us well in weeding out some questionable situations. We knew in some cases immediately that we were being lied to: “No need to make the trip to India beforehand. We can just ship your stuff to India because frozen is as good as fresh for IVF.”  – LIE; “To ensure success in one cycle, we can transfer to two surrogates. I know you just said you would prefer singleton. The two surrogates have never gotten pregnant at the same time like that, and certainly not with multiples.” – LIE.

But some claims were not as easily disproven, and we had to see the operation for ourselves to make sure things were legit. Once we met Dr. M, we felt comfortable enough to proceed. However, throughout the pregnancy, nagging doubts remained. We had recurring nightmares that we would return to India to find that Dr. M’s Infertility Clinic had been replaced suddenly with Mrs. M’s Nail Salon, and none of the nail techs would know anything about babies… how about a manicure?

One year later everything obviously turned out well, and we were treated with a sweet outcome. But we are also sadly aware of many intended parents pursuing international surrogacy with other agencies who appear to have been tricked into paying for unnecessary medical fees, multiple IVF procedures and possibly even whole pregnancies that may have never really happened. International surrogacy can be a gamble. We feel extremely fortunate for ourselves and sympathy for other IPs who gamble with their wallets and their hearts trying to create families abroad. Trick or treat?

Take your pick - heroes or pirates?

Take your pick – heroes or pirates?