Wednesday, October 6, 2010
ABC News recently spotlighted a surrogacy agency in California primarily serving gay and lesbian couples wanting to become parents:
...Growing Generations, a surrogacy agency based in Los Angeles ... has become the destination of choice for many gay families nationwide. According to the company, it has helped bring approximately 850 babies to couples since it launched in 1996.
"About 75 percent are gay couples," said Growing Generations CEO Stuart Miller. "We initially started the company specifically to help members of the gay and lesbian community. It's a very complex, complicated process that involves attorneys, doctors, psychologists, insurance."
With the cost of a surrogate birth ranging from $125,000 to $200,000, the agency has attracted celebrity couples ...
The Growing Generations process is a curious mixture of courtship and online shopping. Prospective parents begin by scrolling through the company's database of pre-screened egg donors, where there is information on everything from ethnicity to education, as well as video of the potential donors.
Once an egg donor is selected, prospective parents begin a similar search for another woman to act as a surrogate. Once the couple has met their chosen surrogate and definitively confirmed she will carry the child, the eggs from the egg donor are fertilized with sperm collected from one or both gay men and implanted into the surrogate, who aims to carry the baby to full term. Many couples mix the sperm so they won't know which man is the biological father.
Growing Generations uses strict guidelines to ensure there are no legal entanglements between prospective parents and surrogates. The surrogate must be someone other than the egg donor, and must have already given birth to a child.
"It does make the process emotionally easier for the surrogate and the intended parents that she's not biologically connected to the child that she's carrying," Stuart said. "We want to make sure that the surrogate understands what it's like actually having a baby and how she's going to feel about giving that baby up, even though it's not her biological offspring."
Surrogates can earn $30,000 for carrying embryos to term and are screened to determine their psychological fitness for the job.
"We work with a psychologist and she has screened and evaluated probably over a thousand surrogates," Stuart said.
As a result of the thorough process, Growing Generations has never had a case where a surrogate tried to assert parental rights and keep the baby, he said.
Read more here.