two lesbian mothers with child

An LGBTQ pregnancy is very much the same in many ways as a pregnancy in a heterosexual relationship, yet there may also be some extra challenges. Like with other couples (or singles), choosing to become a parent is a big decision. Once you have chosen to expand your family, there are several options for the pregnancy and choosing the birth parent is often the first step. It is important to understand that there is rarely a right or wrong decision regarding the choice of the birth parent as long as all parties involved understand the end result is a new baby and a new life with loving parents.

According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), there is  "no sound ethical basis for licensed professionals to deny reproductive services to unmarried or gay and lesbian persons." However, on a case-by-case basis, you still may encounter resistance from some doctors. In addition, laws for gay and lesbian parents can still vary depending on in which state you plan to have your baby.

For example, in some states fertility treatments are denied by insurance companies to LGBTQ couples unless they prove that they are infertile.

In a number of states, a person who is not a legal parent does not have any legal decisionmaking authority over a child, even if that person lives with the child and functions as the child’s parent. Read more here.

So consulting a lawyer before pregnancy is advisable so you know your legal rights.

LGBT pregnancy surrogate two men

The surrogate

One path to parenthood in a gay and lesbian pregnancy is choosing a surrogate mother. This option can be utilized by both a gay couple and a lesbian couple who do not wish to carry their own child. The surrogate will often be impregnated via in-vitro fertilization with the sperm coming from a donor that is either a friend of the family or from a donor sperm bank.

The most important part of surrogacy to remember are the legal ramifications. The surrogate will need to agree to carry the child for the duration of the pregnancy and give the child up for adoption to the “parents” after the baby is born. In cases of surrogacy, there have been times when the birth mother chooses to keep the baby after birth and a legal battle ensues.

pregnant lesbian couple

Donor sperm

In a lesbian relationship, donor sperm can be used to impregnate one or both of the parents. The use of in-vitro fertilization will often be used with the one of the lesbian couple being the biological parent of the baby.

Co-parenting

One of the most popular choices in gay and lesbian pregnancy parenting is the co-parent option. Co-parenting occurs when a gay and lesbian couple comes together to raise a child. One or both of the lesbian couple will be impregnated with the sperm of the gay male parent. After the baby is born, the couples choose to raise the child together as one family. The impregnation may occur through sexual intercourse or in-vitro fertilization.

Adoption

While there are a few cases where gay and lesbian couples have successfully adopted children, the red tape and legal paths are stringent at best. Gay and lesbian couples often face the prejudices of those involved in the adoption process when trying to adopt a child.

The cost of LGBTQ regnancy

Surrogacy in a gay and lesbian pregnancy is, without a doubt, the most expensive option. Not only will the parenting couple be responsible for the medical costs of the pregnancy, but the surrogate is often paid to carry the baby for the duration of the pregnancy. The cost of a surrogate tends to be a minimum of $20,000.

Donor parenting and co-parenting are the least expensive options. Generally, there is very little added cost to these pregnancies outside of the traditional prenatal and birthing care. Any extra costs would occur as a result of receiving the donor sperm and in-vitro fertilization.

Becoming a parent is an exciting time filled with love and joy. When a gay or lesbian couple wants to expand their family the options are vast and the chances of becoming a parent are high.