Over the past couple of decades, we’ve made strides towards equality for the LGBT community. This has led to more LGBT friendly providers and more options for LGBT people to start their own families.
While there’s still a lot more progress that needs to be made, it’s possible for LGBT people to become parents through adoption, foster parenting, surrogacy, IVF and donor/artificial insemination.
Adoption & foster parenting
A foster parent is someone who cares for a child but doesn’t have legal custody of the child. Adoption, on the other hand, allows a parent to become the legal guardian. In deciding to adopt or foster parent a child, the following should be considered:
- Does the parent prefer a domestic or international adoption? Domestic adoptions involve children located in the United States whereas an international adoption is outside the U.S.
- Would they want to go through a public or private agency? Public agencies are funded by the federal government and are normally used for foster parents and domestic adoptions. Private agencies usually non-profit organizations and charge a fee for their services.
- Do the adoptive parents and child want to communicate with the birth parents?
If so, an open adoption will allow both the adoptive and biological family to be known to each other. On the other hand, a closed adoption won’t allow the biological family to communicate with the child and adoptive parents.
Surrogacy is an agreement where a person carries and births a baby for another. There are two types of surrogates, gestational and traditional surrogacy.
- Gestational surrogacy is when an egg is fertilized and implanted in the surrogate’s cervix.
- Traditional surrogacy utilizes the surrogate’s own egg(s) and sperm is inseminated into the surrogate.
In the United States, some states have laws that protect surrogacy agreements. Surrogate friendly states include California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia (Washington D.C.), Maine, New Hampshire, Nevada, Oregon and Rhode Island.
It’s important for parents who want to use surrogacy to start a family to have an assisted reproduction lawyer to guide them in their state’s laws and help through the surrogacy process.
IVF & donor/artificial insemination
IVF, also known as in vitro fertilization, is a procedure where an egg and sperm are fertilized in a lab and inseminated into the birth carrier’s uterus. The donor, or artificial, insemination is a process when a person’s sperm is injected into an ovulating woman with the hope of fertilizing an egg.
In artificial insemination, the donor can be a known or unknown person. Donor insemination has flexible options as it can be carried out at home or a medical facility.
Transgender men (FTM) and women (MTF) can have their eggs and sperm frozen for insemination. A transgender woman can have her sperm frozen before a medical transition. A transgender male can have their eggs frozen as well as carry and birth a child if he’s retained his female reproductive organs.
Today, there are various options and support for the LGBT parents. From lawyers to medical providers, there are agencies and professionals who are there to help attain family hopes and parenting dreams.