Foster care, surrogacy, and adoption are three paths many GBTQ men follow to start a family. All of them exact something of a price, both on the wallet and the emotions. And the costs to men who prefer same-sex relationships start piling up far earlier than for many of their heterosexual counterparts.
But wait. Can’t a man simply ask a close female friend to carry his child without going through needless bureaucracy? Actress Jodie Foster is said to have done just the opposite, coaxing a man to help her conceive rather than going through a more formal donor/surrogacy experience.
Some men might enjoy a close enough relationship with a woman to try that route. For the vast majority, though, hiring and paying for a surrogate to carry a child proves less risky than hoping a friend doesn’t have second thoughts a few months into the pregnancy.
First off, though, consider the other available options.
With costs ranging from $0 to about $2,000, fostering a child in hopes of adopting them can amount to something of a relative bargain. Still, Ellen Kahn, Director of the Children Youth and Families Program for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, tells the Chicago Tribune that efforts for foster kids are initially focused on reuniting them with their family of origin – a process that can last upwards of 18 months.
While it’s possible that reunification will occur – a situation that could cause considerable heartbreak and disappointment for foster parent and child alike – men in same-sex relationships seeking to look out for a child in need are paid a stipend to cover transportation, medical care, food, and other necessities.
Given the wild card presented by potential reunification, though, such men might instead opt for outright adoption. But that comes with a much steeper price tag – anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 or more, says the Tribune. Thinking of using an adoption agency? Costs start at $30,000 and go up from there – provided you can find a match as well as be deemed a fit parent-to-be.
Which brings us to the option of surrogacy, where men don’t have to worry about losing a foster child or navigating the maze of adoption.
The costs of surrogacy, however, appear daunting, adding up to somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000, according to FertilityIQ co-founder Jake Anderson.
Even so, says Anderson, more men who identify as GBTQ have chosen surrogacy in recent years, in no small part because employers are more open to shelling out cash for fertility treatments for heterosexual couples, and women who prefer same-sex relationships have become more persistent in seeing that those same benefits cover them, as well. Men, to be sure, will understandably continue to join the ranks of those pushing for surrogacy benefits.
“We think this is going to be pretty darn commonplace,” Anderson says. “Maybe not tomorrow, but five years from now, 10 years from now, everybody will know a few people who have built their families through gay surrogacy.”
Make that through more affordable gay surrogacy, thanks to company benefits as well as more and more people participating in the process.
And although a more affordable surrogacy process can seem expensive relative to other options, it’s important to remember that, as with anything involving the health of you or your family, certain levels of cost are unavoidable. If you’re going to pay a surrogate to carry your baby, you want that process handled with the utmost care, with all screenings and routine procedures included.
That’s all the more reason why, for men who prefer same-sex relationships wanting to conceive children of their own, it is vital to preserve donor assets in the very best possible condition. Which means doing so now, so that, as surrogacy becomes more commonplace for gay families, and predictably more affordable, their assets remain in top shape when the time is right to conceive.
Even if they somehow manage to have a movie-star friend who’s willing to go the distance with them on their quest to start and raise a family.