Same sex parenting – Parenting by openly gay couples is still a relatively new area because society as a whole has yet to catch up with this new way of parenting. While in many societies, you may still encounter suspicion or even hostility if you’re parenting with a same-sex partner, breaking prejudices and stereotypes is a work in progress. You’re in a unique position to show, through your own example, that gay parents can make good parents and that gay families can be happy families as well as standard families, if not more. All the research to date suggests that the children of gay parents are at no significant disadvantage compared to children of straight parents. Parenting is not gender specific, all people are equal and everyone who is capable of giving and receiving love is a candidate to be a good parent!
Considering the legal complexities and time frames involved in adoption, surrogacy has become a very promising avenue for gay couples wanting to complete their families with a baby. Recognizing this trend, many agencies have started fighting over who gets their own share of the gay community! As with all growing industries, the quality of these agencies varies greatly, and it is very important that gay couples looking for surrogacy services take the time to become well-educated consumers. This is particularly true for gay couples because of the complexities involved in protecting gay families. (Deborah Wald, Esq; 2009). It is of essence that you do your homework and make sure that you understand all the legal, monetary and emotional aspects of a surrogacy journey.
We do not see gay surrogacy as an “industry” waiting to be exploited. Just like we help heterosexual couples have babies, we also help gay couples have babies, it is as simple as that! Our treatments are not gender oriented and neither are our attitudes! However, this is not enough. Surrogacy is a very complex process and the legal aspects involved in surrogacy cases are to be taken seriously. This is not a trial and error kind of deal. You need to be legally protected by a contract which needs to be very well crafted in a country where there exists a legal basis for gay parenting. Otherwise, you might be in for a gamble and that is not what you want when it comes to your child.
Nowadays, we hear about surrogacy options in the third world countries where majority of people don’t even have access to safe drinking water. That is not to say that these countries are incapable of offering treatment. However, if the country is suffering from large deficiencies of many kinds, can its legal system be there for you should you need them? Is this a risk you would be willing to take?
Our same-sex parenting program works in a dual way. We combine the legal system of the United States with affordable treatment costs of Northern Cyprus and present you with CASS! CASS is short for Cyprus-America Surrogacy Services. It has been operating since 2008. All the legal aspects of your contract, your surrogate recruitment, legal proceedings, child birth and registration take place in the United States. The state in which your baby is registered depends on where your surrogate is recruited. However, your surrogate will always be recruited in one of the many gay friendly states in USA.
The initial step is for you to have a semen testing performed to make sure that your sperm parameters are within acceptable standards so that we can move onto the next stage.
The next step is to fill out your intended parent application form so that you can let us know what you are looking for in a surrogate. This allows us to narrow down the options and match you up with a gestational surrogate who matches your requirements. With the application form, you will get to specify things such as whether you would like to consider having twins, whether you would want to consider fetal reduction in the case of a multiple pregnancy, whether you want you surrogate to be married or single. These are just basic examples of the factors you can pick and choose. If you are considering having twins, this is something that needs to be specified in order to avoid any future conflict with your surrogate.
Once you have chosen your surrogate, it will then be the time to choose your egg donor. Unless you would like to bring your own egg donor, we will ask that you fill out a second form to specify your requirements for your egg donor. Our egg donors are anonymous, therefore, we will be able to provide you with a profile information but we will not be able to share pictures or put you in contact with your egg donor.
Once all of the arrangements have been made, you will be able to sign your contract and get started with the IVF treatment part. During the actual IVF treatment, both you and your surrogate will come to Cyprus and this is where your treatment will be finalized. Upon finishing treatment, your surrogate will go back to the United States and that is where her pregnancy will be monitored. After 9 months of gestation, you will be required to fly to the US and be present for your child’s delivery.
Once you have chosen your gestational carrier, the next step would be to match you up with a suitable egg donor. At this point, you wil be provided with a donor/recipient form to fill out so that you can tell us about your specifications for your egg donor. With your specifications, our donor coordinator will be able to narrow down the egg donor options and you will be provided with suitable matches to choose from. At North Cyprus IVF Centre, our egg donor recruitment criteria are as follows:
-An egg donor must be aged between 20-35 by the regulation in North Cyprus. However, at North Cyprus IVF, we have our own age bracket of 20-25 for egg donor selection in order to offer you a higher chance of success via younger and healthier eggs.
-An egg donor must undergo an extended infectious disease screening (communicable disease screening) in order to make sure she is free of infectious diseases that might put your child at health risks.
-Egg donor candidates are administered relevant genetic testing if they come from a region where higher incidence of certain diseases is observed such as cystic fibrosis for donors of Israeli origin, sickle cell anemia for donors of African origin, beta thalassemia for donors of mediterranean origin.
-All egg donors must have a BMI in the recommended healthy range of 18-25.
-All egg donors must provide an acceptable family history for evaluation by our specialists.
-Most of our egg donors are returning donors where they have contributed to a positive pregnancy outcome via prior donation.
These are the standard criteria used by North Cyprus IVF Centre. Our patients are welcome to request additional tests for their egg donors once they make a choice. However, while certain additional tests can be a good idea if there is a sound medical reason behind it, tests that are not a medical necessity will only increase your cost of treatment. Majority of the egg donors at North Cyprus IVF Centre are international university students studying at universities in Cyprus.
Due to our IVF laws, donor anonymity is an important criteria when mathcing patients with egg donors. Therefore, you will only receive certain information about your egg donor such as physical features, hobbies, personal note and medical history. We cannot show pictures or put you in touch with your egg donor. However, if you would like to have a known egg donor for your surrogacy program, then we can organize this through an egg donor agency we work with. The additional cost of using a known egg donor would be around 10,000 USD including the egg donor’s agency fee, donor’s compensation, medical expenses, travel fees and accommodation expenditures.
Surrogacy for gay couples or for single men works the same way as gestational surrogacy for heterosexual couples. The only difference is, gay male couples will also need an egg donor as well as a gestational surrogate in order to achieve pregnancy, which is something that slightly increases the cost of treatment. The general costs of a surrogacy cycle can be listed as follows:
Agency plus Legal fees: 20,000 – 22,000 USD These are the fees received by the US surrogacy agency as well as the legal counselors. This fee includes your surrogacy contract, legal fees and the expenses for your child’s birth certificate and US passports. All the court proceedings for the legal paperwork are also included in this figure.
Medical and IVF expenses: 12,000 – 18,000 USD. This is the cost received by our clinic in North Cyprus. This fee is inclusive of your medical treatment, IVF protocols, egg donor’s compensation and her medication, embryo transfer to surrogate, freezing of unused embryos for a future cycle, all your required testing as well as your hotel accommodation for the duration of your stay in Cyprus. In other words, the 15,000 USD covers all the medical fees and your accommodation expenditures in Cyprus.
Surrogate’s compensation: 20,000 – 25,000 USD. Compensation of a surrogate depends on how much each surrogate asks to be compensated. Experienced surrogate mothers usually ask for a higher compensation compared to inexperienced surrogates. First time surrogates who have their own children are usually our preference since they ask for a lower compensation but at the same time have proven their ability to carry pregnancy to a full term.
Insurance and Miscellaneous fees: 5,000 USD. Insurance is a very important part of a surrogacy arrangement. Without an insurance, medical fees in the US and your child delivery will not be covered. For this end, we require that all surrogates are insured with an appropriate insurance plan so that most of your expenses during pregnancy are covered.
Surrogate’s travel expenses: 4,000 – 6,000 USD. Travel expenses are used for plane tickets and accommodation of your surrogate while in Cyprus. If your surrogate is single and is traveling without a companion, the cost of travel is likely to be around 4,000 USD. If traveling with a companion, the cost will be higher.
Additional Expenditures: These include miscellaneous fees that are not covered as a single item on their own. These small fees, however, accumulate to be around 3,000 – 4,000 USD.
Given that pregnancy can sometimes be unpredictable, certain additional expenditures may be faced under certain circumstances. However, since we have been offering surrogacy services for quite some time, we are able to predict all possible likely or unlikely events that may happen during pregnancy. That way, we can discuss all these likely/unlikely possibilities and inform you about the possible costs of these events should they occur. Additional fees may be faced in the event of:
-Twin pregnancy: Most surrogates ask for additional compensation if carrying twins. This additional compensation is likely to be around 5,000 USD. This is something that is discussed with your surrogate beforehand. When you decide to proceed with treatment, you will be asked to fill out an intended parent application form where you will specify your choices for your surrogacy arrangement which includes the possibility of a multiple pregnancy. If multiple pregnancy is something that you would consider, then your contract will address this likelihood with a corresponding fee. That way, you will know exactly how much of an additional payment will be made in case of a twin pregnancy.
-Problems during pregnancy: Even though most pregnancies go to term without any problems, in rare cases, your surrogate may have a problematic pregnancy where she is ordered bed rest. Should this be the case, she is likely to ask for additional compensation to cover her lost wages for the duration of her bed rest.
Nevertheless. you should know that you will NEVER have a surprise payment during the course of your surrogacy arrangement. Every single likely cost item will be summarized in your contract, therefore, before you sign, you will know how much you will need to pay for your surrogacy program as well as what your additional expenditures may be in case of unlikely events.
Embryo parking is a term which emerged out of necessity due to unfortunate events occurring in many developing countries with respect to surrogacy bans and change in surrogacy laws. Unfortunately we have seen that all of the “cheap surrogacy” programs in developing countries have been shut down due to shaky legal systems. This has lead to bans on surrogacy programs offering treatment to gay couples or single gay men. While this precludes many same-sex couples from pursuing these programs in the future, thousands of intended parents are currently suffering from these legal changes where they may have their embryos stuck in these countries with no prospects of a future treatment. If you are in a situation like this, we will be more than happy to help organize a shipment of your embryos to our facilities until you are ready to decide what you would like to do with them at a future time. You do NOT need to utilize our surrogacy program, you can simply park your embryos here at North Cyprus IVF Center at a fee of 2,000 Euros until you decide how you would like to proceed. If you decide to use our own program, then this fee is later deducted from your surrogacy program fee, making this service free of charge. If you decide to move your embryos to another clinic in the future to pursue another program, then we will help facilitate this via a cryoshipping company of your choice and your only cost will be the 2,000 Euros of storage fee. This embryo parking fee is valid for two years. For each additional year, there is an additional 500 Euro fee.
Some of our patients ask us about our surrogacy options when they have their own surrogates. If you already have a surrogate mother who is willing to help you complete your family, then the procedures will be much more simplified. In that case, we will simply ask that your surrogate mother has her fertility check-up to make sure that she is fit for pregnancy.
The second step is to match you up with an egg donor, which is described above.
The cost of treatment when you have your own surrogate mother will be substantially lower than the standard surrogacy program costs. The cost of our surrogacy option with own surrogate is 8,000 Euros and includes the following:
– IVF Protocol and preparation
– Egg donor preparation, compensation and medication
– IVF procedures
– Embryo transfer
– Freezing of all unused embryos
– Airport transfers for all parties.
Please refer to our “Frequently Asked Questions” Section for more information about our surrogacy program.
Whether you are a gay couple or a single gay man, you have equal rights to parenthood just as heterosexual couples. Sexual orientation is not a justification for denying rights to parenthood!