fact check

Everyone Keeps Saying Gay Surrogacy ‘Is Growing.’ Prove It

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“More and more, gay couples are choosing the surrogacy route,” claims Miami Herald‘s everything-gay scribe Steve Rothaus. It’s in a piece titled “A growing number of gay couples are using surrogacy clinics to become fathers,” and probably got the okay from his editors because CNN is out promoting its gay In America series “Gary and Tony Have a Baby,” premiering June 24 at 8pm, about Gary Spino and Tony Brown’s $150,000 journey to have a son, and it puts gay parenting back in the news. In that same program, host Soledad O’Brien wonders aloud, “Why is this happening now?” Except Rothaus doesn’t cite a single piece of evidence — whether from a scientific study or even a quote from a single fertility doctor — to prove true his thesis about the “growing number of gay couples” going the surrogacy route.

At least this 2008 AFP story cites one surrogacy clinic reporting an increase in business from gay couples all over the world. But is that because another clinic in town shut down, or are gay couples suddenly finding themselves with an extra six-figures lying around to truly set off this boom in surrogacy? None of these reports cite any hard numbers — but that might not necessarily be their fault. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t seem to have the hard data, or at least I couldn’t find it. “Coupled with adoption, the number of families with gay parents is growing,” the AFP reported. “According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, between one million and nine million children under the age of 18 have same-sex parents today.” Okay, but let’s uncouple that figure from adoption and find out just how much this type of thing is “growing.” One study from the AAP I could find that talked about gays and children, titled “The Effects of Marriage, Civil Union, and Domestic Partnership Laws on the Health and Well-being of Children,” contained no hard data.

I have little doubt the hard evidence would show what’s anecdotally accepted to be true is, in fact, true. But before another one of these “GAY SURROGACY BOOM!!” pieces gets published, how about some actual research to support the claims?

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  • Andrew

    My personal opinion is that surrogacy is kind of selfish. How about we leave it to the breeders to create children they can’t take care of? There are millions and millions of children whom don’t have a loving family to take care of them.

  • Lamar

    @Andrew: I don’t think surrogacy is immoral for gays, we have as much right to naturally related children as straight couples.

  • Andrew

    @Lamar: Did I ever use the word “immoral?” No. And you’re right. We should have the right to use surrogacy. I simply expressed an opinion that while millions of children are starving on the streets of third world countries, it may be [slightly? C’mon, even you gotta admit] “moral” in itself to…I don’t know, help them instead of bringing another mouth into the world?

    And while I again state that gay people should have the option, same as straight people, — we are also uniquely positioned to become a leading force in helping these children. Although my position still extends to all people, gay or straight.

  • Devonasa

    Not that I’m against adoption, but why should it be the gay communites job to and take care of all the kids the straight community were either unfit, unable or too selfish to raise.

    Not to mention, that in most cases when we want to right the wrong of what the straight community has done, we aren’t even able to in some countries or states because it’s illegal.

  • Andrew

    @Devonasa: … You do realize we’re talking about innocent, blameless children here? I don’t really care about whose “job” it is. And do you think that child cares about his or her biological parents morality in bring them into the world? The fact is, they are here, and need loving parents.

  • Devonasa

    I know who I’m talking about, I said I’m not against adoption. I was just referring to the fact that it annoys me to no end when people act as if it is soo wrong for the gay community to par-take in surrogacy for the simple fact that we could adopt instead, comments from people like Rupert Everett ring to mind in scenarios like this.

    Adoption is not always an option for some of us, as it’s illegal for us to do do so in some cases (I for example, live in Florida).

  • Andrew

    @Devonasa: I understand that. I never said you did, nor that it was.

    Although I feel the need to point out. If Gay adoption is illegal, — chances are gay surrogacy is illegal as well, in whatever jurisdiction.

  • 7

    Is there any research on copying sperm cell DNA onto a ‘blank’ egg? I wouldn’t care if it’s in a woman of a test tube, my finacee and I would just kinda like to have a child that is genetically both of ours. I hope that doesn’t sound selfish. I’d just like to raise a child that’s his and mine, not just one of ours.

  • Ron

    Selfish! Are you freaking kidding me? If it’s selfish for a gay couple to use a surrogate as means to have a baby then it’s also selfish for the thousands of so called “breeders” who also use surrogates. My husband and I have a beautiful baby daughter from the use of a wonderful surrogate and now lifelong friend. There is absolutely nothing selfish in the desire to procreate and raise a child from infancy.

    Yes, you are correct there are unfortunately many kids that need to be adopted but perhaps you didnt know that adoption is not a viable option for most gay couples becasue most states make it very difficult for gay couples to adopt and a few (such as Florida) outright ban such adoptions. So what does that leave for us??? Surrogacy. I know you were just stating your opinion but you really should do let this topic marinate in your head and/or do a little more research on the topic before stating such blatant ignorance.

  • Rodney Cruise

    There is hard evidence in the increase in number of gay men creating families via surrogacy (at least in Australia). Gay Dads Australia has been tracking this for quite a few years and the term “boom” whilst relative, certainly describes what has been happening in Australia with gay men and choosing surrogacy as a way to create a family. It should be noted that there are virtually no children available for adoption in Australia (it is about 20 odd a year!) and even if there were significant numbers available, gay men are excluded from accessing Adoption in all states except one.

  • Andrew

    @Ron: I think you’re confusing me stating it’s selfish with being morally wrong. Once again, — I do believe surrogacy is equally selfish for gay and straight people alike. However because I am apart of the former community, I was focusing my opinions on that community. And even if I believe it’s selfish doesn’t mean I’m calling the people whom use it bad people.

    I’m sure you and your partner have a wonderful child and they shouldn’t be treated any differently than any other child. They are already here, and this kind of discussion is pointless in regards to that. But my opinion stands that surrogacy is a bad idea. And the worst way of going about getting a child. And no one will convince me different.

  • Rodney Cruise

    @Andrew: Andrew…I understand what you are saying that surrogacy is the worst way of going about “getting a child”. But for some people, eg Gay men in Australia, it is the ONLY way to have a family. Adoption is not allowed here.

    As to “selfish”. Having children, however it is done, by straight or gay is “selfish”. It is impossible to have a child for the child’s sake. But selfish-ness is not inherently wrong or bad. Selfish-ness is part of our species makeup, to propogate the species. Granted humans are able to make choices regarding it, but even tho it is selfish, it not necessarily a bad thing. I agree with you on that point.

  • megan

    Back to the comment to the poster on this blog.

    Oh yes, surrogacy for gay couples is getting much bigger. Also for het couples, and singles.

    Why even question this? Do you live only in your own small town and mind?

    This show may well be a CNN promo, but the fact remains gay couples are doing surrogacy, not just in USA, but India, Ukraine, Thailand, Guatemala, Russia …. and other countries.

    I personally don’t care about the country chosen by a couple, provided it is safe for them and their surrogate mother and their child.

    I refuse to get into the:whether gay men should or should not be allowed surrogacy”… for me that is a no-brainer and if anyone is STUPID and IGNORANT enough to deny a loving couple – regardless of gender, the chance to be parents. then I won’t debate you.

    It’s happening and it’s happening is leaps and bounds … go do some research.

  • megan

    @Andrew: Why bother to read these articles if you are going to make such an inane, ill-conceived comment.

  • Kenny

    It’s really not anybody’s business how any couple had a child, provided they didn’t kidnap the kid from somebody. People ask my partner & me all the time how we’re able to have kids – adoption or surrogacy. I simply don’t answer the question. Doesn’t matter how we got them all that matters is that we love them and provide them with a safe, secure, and loving home.

  • Ron

    @Andrew: Since it’s bad enough that we get blown BS from the heteros who party with the right wingers I guess I will have to admit to being ignorant myself when it comes to expecting other GLBT folks to support other GLBT folk , especially when it comes to our quests to create our own families, but again that’s my naiveté.

    I do wonder however why you (Andrew) have such general disdain about surrogacy. Have you been through the process? If so, was it a horrible experience? Do you know someone who had an unfortunate experience with a surrogate? If all of these answers are NO then I suggest you not knock til you try it. You have yet to give any reasons( valid or not) as for why “getting a kid” via surrogacy is sooo bad. You’re your lack of arguments are just as bad if not worse than those who say gays shouldn’t get married. At least they offer reasons, silly and contradictory reasons of course, but still reasons. I can’t change your mind, not trying to nor care to but please provide something to back up your claim of why surrogacy is the big bad boogie man of creating families?

    I encourage any GLBT person who wants to experience the joy of welcoming a child into their lives to explore ALL options. Surrogacy can be an absolute WONDERFUL experience. I and several of my friends have gone through the process and would do it again in a second.

    With that said, I wish all of the gay, bisexual and transgender fathers out there a very Happy Fathers day regardless of how you became a father (surrogacy, adoption, general custodianship, etc). You are making a difference in how we as gay men are seen and most importantly you are making a difference for some kid who’s lucky to have you.

  • Andrew

    @Ron: You have quite the case of selective bias, don’t you? I stated my reasons quite clearly, and just because you choose to not read them (or are willfully ignoring them) doesn’t mean they aren’t there. To summarize: I maintain that while there are millions of children starving to death every year, it is selfish to bring another child into the world. Your attempts at getting sentimental about that fact are idiotic. If someone has no other choice but surrogacy, then I may think different, — but the vast majority of people whom choose it due so because they think that somehow a child isn’t worth taking care of if you don’t have a genetic bond to them. Genetics isn’t what makes a parent a parent, unless of course those whom choose surrogacy (but have the option of adoption) would say that the none surrogate parent is not as much a parent as the one partaking in the surrogacy.

    As for saying I’m just as bad as those trying to stop us from getting married, really? Do you even hear yourself? Or are you just making connections where none exist in order to make your argument look more valid than it actually is? I’m not campaigning for the criminalization of surrogacy, simply expressing my opinion that while someone has the option of adoption, — surrogacy is selfish on the larger, human scale.

    And in regards to the questions about why I hold the opinions I do…it’s nothing but sensationalism to say that because I’ve never partaken in surrogacy I can’t hold an opinion about it. It’s been said before about everything, but that doesn’t make it any less fallacious an argument.

  • Hilarious

    There’s no such thing as selfishly bringing a child into the world. Raising a child is a selfless act.

    Adoption isn’t for everyone, nor should it be forced on any group of people.

    There are very valid reasons so few people adopt and it’s not just because of the discriminatory practices that so many states have concerning adoption either. Do some research before you preach about it.

  • Ron

    @Andrew: Your comments are clearly from the mentality of someone who is NOT a parent and really doesn’t have a good grasp on the CURRENT plight for GLBT couples in America. No one so far on this issue, including myself has said anything about genetics is what makes a parent. If you’re looking for an idiotic comment, your genetics rant was one of many.

    Your sole so called reason of being against surrogacy is based on “millions of children starving to death every year, it is selfish to bring another child into the world” is NOT a reason at all in my opinion. It is a statement of fact- there always has been, are and unfortunately will always be orphans as part of life. So, what do you suggest Andrew? That every straight couple that accidentally gets pregnant go out and get an abortion and all those that want a kid (gay or straight) all go out and adopt and that ALL new pregnancies cease? Yeah, that’s really going to happen. You keep living in that fantasy world and I’ll again suggest that gay couples do what’s best for them in their goal of becoming parents within the reality of a legal discriminatory gay world we live in.

    Bias? No sir. What I am doing is sharing MY experience (which I presume you have none of in this department) with surrogacy. I am not knocking adoption, if I were that would be biased. As a matter of fact we are in the process of trying to adopt for our second child. I was genuinely trying to get an actual reason (and not a statement of a fact of life) and dialogue from you about why surrogacy is so bad. Yet you want to chalk up my questions to sensationalism because you apparently cannot come up with a single reason. Talk about transparency!

    No one (at least I have not) ever said that you were trying to make surrogacy a crime but you have made it crystal clear that you just don’t simply like the idea of surrogacy you think it is a BAD idea and simply saying that because there are many adoptable children out there is not an adequate reason as for why surrogacy is good or bad. They are two separate entities. Your argument, as you say, is sensationalism and (I say) not realism.

  • Ddawg

    @Andrew: Are you a Republican plant? That is the only logical reason I can think of why a “gay” man would come in here calling it selfish for someone to bring a child into this world. I’ll give you that there are already a lot of children that need homes, and I for one am part of that by being a foster/adoptive single parent. But adoption is not an option for many people, especially couples. In Texas a couple can not adopt together, one adopts and the other has to wait 2 years for a 2nd parent adoption and their name does not go on the birth certificate. Good reasons if you ask me to want to use surrogacy. Not to mention having your own biological child being a big reason, and not a selfish one as you suggest. I would use surrogacy had I the money to do it.

    Since it is your opinion that the GLBT community should not use surrogacy, and should instead adopt one of the children already here, can I ask how many of those children have YOU adopted?

  • Ddawg

    @Ron: Congrats to you Ron, and Happy Fathers Day! I am close friends with two couples who have both used surrogacy. They are both married, and both wanted their own child. They are also both open to adopting a child and one of the two couples is ready. They support me and my foster children, and in fact we are more like a great big family than just friends. I commend you and people like you who have the courage to go out and make your own way in a world that all too often discourages us from being who we are and living our lives like others do. We have more legal battles to go through, and we pay a lot more money to have our families. And to me that says a lot about how unselfish it really is to use surrogacy- those children come into the world being wanted and loved more than any others. All too often our straight counterparts just pop them out, and those children unfortunately suffer from not being loved and wanted and end up in the very system some of us end up adopting out of.

    Any way a gay person or couple welcomes a child into their world it is a good thing. People like Andrew just don’t get it, and that is OK because we know better.

  • Ron

    Wow, Thanks DDawg. It’s refreshing to read that someone else has a voice of reason, common sense and a good understanding about the challenges that gay couples face and respects all families regardless of how they came to be.

    Good luck in your fostering and hopefully soon adoption. I take my hat off to those like you. I can only imagine that fostering can be an even bigger challenge in some ways than having full custody of a child.

    Again, good luck, Happy Fathers day and thanks for putting your money where your mouth is.

  • counterpoll

    Surrogacies sure do to be seem to be increasing in number but I haven’t heard or seen any data on whether there’s been an the increase in % of gay men versus straight couples using surrogates. Maybe we just reflect the greater population of couples dealing with “infertility issues?”

    I know just a few people who work with reproductive endocrinology, but the issue I do hear talked about in hushed tones –hushed because people hate to sound racist even when they sometimes blatantly are —is how some couples/singles [same/opposite sex] are using foreign surrogates outside the US, ostensibly because the fees are lower. You’ve heard similar quibbles before in regard to foreign adoption.

    The ethical and “professional” standards with surrogacy are still being debated, but if the US swings to the right again after the next big election, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more states setting limits on adoptions by single or coupled LGBs, ++plus++ barriers to surrogacies as well.
    That scares me.

  • Ron

    Very good points. I think that one reason that accurate surrogacy percentages will be hard to gather is that all surrogate arrangements are not done via fertility clinics and/or even with the use of attorneys. As scary as that sounds, it does happen.

  • steven25

    Get real. Surrogacy, whether from heterosexuals or gays is a flat-out self-serving act, no matter how you look at it. Bringing yet another child into a world where millions upon millions of others are starving to death simply because you cry this phantom right to a “biologically-related child” as if it were some kind of product (the same way surrogacy agencies treat them as) is morally reprehensible and dehumanizing. I am dealing entirely with the child and their safety and stability (disregarding conception), but I would indeed say that simply heterosexual couples bearing children in today’s world is reprehensible as well. The current situation and inadequacy of many adoption agencies absolutely calls for a change and restructuring, but don’t try and pretend that all forms of parenthood are equal simply because they all center around a child. Discussions on this turn downright vile when this “instinct” that is used to justify surrogacy is invoked; yet again spitting on the face of humanity.


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