By Mindy Berkson

Lotus Blossom Consulting

The pull of parenthood is expanding among homosexual, bi-and transgender couples, and it is my privilege to help them build families as I have others for more than 10 years.

On November 2, 2014, I will share how I provide that assistance and support via my business, Lotus Blossom Consulting, when I join others from the reproductive industry at the 10th annual Men Having Babies Surrogacy Seminar and Gay Parenting Expo in New York, November 2, 2014 at the JCC in Manhattan (334 Amsterdam Ave., at W. 76th Street)

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 1,898 babies were born via gestational surrogate in the United States in 2012, more than double the number in 2004.

Last year alone I assisted 60 gay couples discover the thrill of parenthood when I guided them through what can be a complicated maze of laws and information to build families through egg donation and surrogacy. In my experience, couples from this demographic tend to be more-than ready to launch the process by the time they contact me. After all, challenges they face in a society that is still adapting to same-sex unions and in many cases, is still fraught with prejudice, has prepared them to tackle any difficulty that may arise with their search for egg donors and surrogates.

Among challenges gay couples discover when they travel the road to parenthood are many of the same experienced by heterosexuals and singles that want children by means other than natural conception. Additional issues involve laws that vary from state to state; insurance; and emotional and psychological issues of the ups and downs of not just hoping to be parents, but of the often previously complicated relationships with finding means to have children.

Gay couples’ donor and surrogacy processes differ than heterosexuals

Gay men must rely on egg donors. The process of finding one is similar to their heterosexual counterparts in that they typically want donors to meet physical and psychological health criteria, as well as have similar physical characteristics such as hair color, body build and more.

I have counseled couples since 2005, and many gay couples that come to me each choose to be biological fathers, which means that they fertilize half the eggs with each intended father’s sperm. One embryo from each intended father is transferred to the surrogate. If twins result, the babies are half biologically related to each other.

Laws for gay couples to have children differ among states

Surrogacy laws vary from state to state and some are friendlier to gay couples than others. For instance, while surrogacy in New York is illegal, even for heterosexual couples, gay couples can become parents when they legally engage surrogates in other states.

Insurance before, during and after a baby is born

Gay couples must insure themselves when they seek egg donors and surrogates, during the process and pregnancy and after a child is born. While it’s becoming legal in more states, some same-sex couples do not enjoy the same insurance benefits as heterosexual couples and must accommodate for themselves and their child or children.

Psychological challenges

Like all people who have tried to conceive children, gay couples experience the rollercoaster ride that is the wonder and hope that they become parents. They anticipate that their sperm successfully fertilizes an egg, and their chosen surrogate is able to carry a healthy child to term. Then, of course, there is the lifelong realization that they will be responsible for a tiny person and nurturing him or her!

About Lotus Blossom Consulting

Lotus Blossom Consulting works with couples and individuals to develop and implement comprehensive plans to address infertility and options to create families, reality. Mindy Berkson enjoys and fosters relationships with respected professionals in the infertility field, and helps build teams to help couples thrive with each step of egg donation, In-Vitro and/or surrogacy processes.