LGBTQ+ Family Building Rights to Advocate For

Published on Thursday June 16th, 2022 by WCS

Same-sex couples and LGBTQ+ single parents often require the help of third-party reproduction, including gestational surrogacy. Our agency has worked with many growing LGBTQ+ families throughout the years, and we know that to be a member of the community means that there are specific hurdles in place that aren’t necessarily part of other families' journeys. As part of our commitment to being a positive member of the LGBTQ+ fertility community, we want to bring attention to some of the additional hardships that same-sex families face when they want to have a child.

Surrogacy Rights for LGBTQ+ Families

Gestational surrogacy is subject to state laws, so what is legal and supported in one state can be without any legal standing in another or even entirely off-limits. In terms of surrogacy arrangements, the state laws that matter are the ones in the state that the surrogate resides in, not the intended parent(s). For example, if you currently live in a state where surrogacy is not allowed (e.g. Michigan), you can still work with a surrogate that lives in a state that has surrogacy-friendly laws (e.g. California).

However, even in states where surrogacy is allowed, there may be some restrictions that make it exceedingly challenging for LGBTQ+ families to work with a surrogate that resides there. For example, there may be laws on the books that make it difficult for LGBTQ+ individuals and couples to establish parentage. As such, LGBTQ+ intended parent(s) have an inherently smaller pool of surrogate candidates available to them.

Although surrogacy agencies will always make sure to connect LGBTQ+ intended parent(s) with surrogates from states where the laws are inclusive to families of all kinds, this still represents an inherent unfairness that LGBTQ+ families face when trying to have children, one that many reproductive rights advocates have pushed to change in their local states.

Insurance coverage

Similar to issues with differences in state surrogacy law, insurance coverage for LGBTQ+ families using fertility care (i.e. IVF) is typically not guaranteed. Even for heterosexual individuals and couples, language for coverage is not promised even in states where a mandate exists.

For example, IVF may be covered in some cases of infertility, but almost never covers the use of a surrogate. LGBTQ+ families, especially same-sex male couples who need an egg donor and a surrogate to have a child, may find that they face an additional lack of benefits. Because most fertility insurance coverage rests on a medical need due to narrow definition of infertility, many LGBTQ+ individuals are considered to be ineligible for coverage. In recent years, there has been a growing push from advocates to redefine these terms to be more inclusive of LGBTQ+ individuals. Redefining the terms of fertility and insurance coverage would help guarantee that LGBTQ+ families would have at least the same level of coverage as a heterosexual couple.

Education and Awareness

Outside of the LGBTQ+ community, education and awareness about modern family-building efforts for same-sex couples and single parents can be mixed in terms of up-to-date information and accuracy. Adoption is typically considered to be considered a go-to for same-sex families, and while it may be the ideal choice for some, it is by no means an easy process. Surrogacy, sperm donation, and egg donation deserve to be better understood across our culture. When we know what is involved in building a family through modern means, we can work together to advocate for making these paths easier.

If you have any questions about surrogacy for LGBTQ+ family-building, we encourage you to connect with us at West Coast Surrogacy. We have helped many LGBTQ+ individuals and families navigate the world of third-party reproduction and surrogacy. Contact us today.