As UK Same Sex Marriages Celebrates first anniversary, Family Building Priorities Grow
Deciding to become a parent is not an easy decision. Until recent years, same-sex couples never imagined there would be a choice.
One US-based surrogacy and egg donation agency has changed the family creation experience for same-sex couples. By perfecting the art and science of surrogacy, same-sex couples from around the world are building families in a safe, secure and compassionate environment. Surrogacy is not a swift or simple process for any couple, particularly outside of the US, but with the right agency partner, such as ConceiveAbilities, there can be less anxiety and a streamlined process to follow.
Brian and Shawn are a same-sex couple who welcomed twins through surrogacy in 2012 thanks to ConceiveAbilities. “As a gay man I thought I’d never be able to have children of my own. With new laws in many regions of the world, the family dream has become a reality for LGBT couples,” parent Shawn said. “It’s hard to convey the gravity of our gratitude for both our egg donor and our surrogate, who gave up her body for a year so that we could have a family,” said Shawn.
The UK is familiar with assisted reproductive technologies. In 1978 UK citizen Louise Brown became the world’s first child born from in-vitro fertilisation. Five years later, the first successful surrogacy embryo-transfer took place in the US, demonstrating new possibilities for future families. Now more intended parents from around the world are applying in-vitro technology to surrogacy. The US is leading the charge, as more states pass supportive legislation. Guided by expert agencies, intended parents rely on a patchwork of state legislation and deep industry experience to move surrogacy engagements forward with more security.
And security is crucial in the surrogacy industry. With loose international laws, the US is quickly becoming an obvious destination for discerning intended parents seeking surrogacy. But geography is not enough to ensure success. It takes industry experts from agencies such as ConceiveAbilities, who have spearheaded thousands of successful surrogacy pregnancies over two decades. Their experience makes them a natural choice when considering surrogacy, one of the most viable family-building options today for same-sex couples and individuals. In fact, surrogacy and egg donation has surged for same-sex couples and individuals.
As Brian and Shawn experienced, ConceiveAbilities sets the highest standards with an uncompromising commitment to quality and its Matching Matters™ proprietary methodology that includes the industry’s first pre-screening of surrogates.
Where do same-sex couples seeking to build a family start? Selecting an agency to help is the most critical step. It is rare to find an agency with the experience and resources required to guide international same-sex families as they pursue family-building in the US. There are many topics to consider besides finding your right match in your desired timeframe. A thoughtful agency will educate you early about making the smart, tough decisions, and line up choices for legal, insurance and financial experts.
“We gathered knowledge and then determined our options. An agency like ConceiveAbilities makes sure there are few surprises and that expectations are set every step of the way,” said Shawn.
Couples outside the US place additional factors at the top of their priority list which ConceiveAbilities can help address such as: navigating the complicated US healthcare and insurance system; legal requirements for establishing parentage and citizenship, and returning home with a baby. If it sounds complicated, that is because it is. Luckily, with the right agency, intended parents can rely on a network of experts to develop a personal strategy and be guided forward.
Marc and Txema, a couple from Spain had a baby girl through a surrogacy matched and managed by ConceiveAbilities in November said, “We chose the US because it is a country that offered us the best medical and legal guarantees during the surrogacy process. We wanted both to be the legal parents of our child from the beginning and to be sure that we were surrounded by the best medical staff and IVF specialists.”
US laws in more than 35 states have legalised same-sex marriages and the country awaits a Supreme Court decision. ConceiveAbilities’ experience with same-sex couples seeking to build their families has grown as laws have changed around the world. While the UK continues to pass more progressive legislation supporting same-sex legalisation in Wales, England and Scotland, surrogacy arrangements are not enforceable in the UK.
“At birth, UK law treats your surrogate as your child’s legal mother. If she is not married, you might be the other legal parent but any foreign birth certificate which names you both as the parents will not be recognised by UK law,” says Helen Prosser, founder of UK-based Brilliant Beginnings, a nonprofit agency based in the UK that supports intended parents through surrogacy and egg donation. Prosser claims the biggest family building concern when more than two people are involved is “making sure that things are set up so that the wished-for family dynamic is protected emotionally and legally.”
Legal experts advise that UK intended parent couples need to apply to the UK family court for a parental order within six months after the birth. The court has to be satisfied that the order is in the child’s best interests and that at least one parent is the child’s biological parents.
“We selected an agency with the experience of building relationships for two decades. There were very few surprises. We kept our focus on bringing a healthy child into this world and keeping our surrogate safe. We wanted to be a very active part of this process,” said Brian.
Sound like a lot to manage at one time? Shawn and Brian found that with the right agency and network of experts, they had a very positive experience. “Thankfully it’s a regimented process with a beautiful outcome,” noted Brian.
Marc said the human factor and working toward a common goal of making them a complete family were the most important factors of their experience. “We were in contact with several agencies before ConceiveAbilities. Txema and I decided to work with them because we had a great impression when we talked to the director – a great, caring and kind professional. We were told that this agency attended to the surrogates very well. We thought this was the best option for our baby. We couldn’t be happier with our choice.”
Nazca Fontes, CEO and President of ConceiveAbilities believes, “It is important that the entire surrogacy engagement has trust, respect and confidence. Adding a US agency like ConceiveAbilities to manage your family building adds an unwavering layer of professionalism, safety and security to the relationship. We excel at determining possible solutions for every unique need – all within one of the industry’s shortest timeframes.”