Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"Details" reports on the gay fatherhood boom, often with surrogacy


Details, which has always been a hetero magazine with a lot of gay-appealing fashion pictures, talked about dads of gay sons in April (blog entry here on March 27, see archives), and in May 2008 ran (on p 78) a big story by Edward Lewine on gay male surrogate parenthood, “The Gay Baby Boom: using adoption or surrogacy, more homosexual men than ever before are becoming fathers. It’s not a novelty – it’s a movement. Look for it at a playground near you.” The link is this.

Men (such as gay men in a relationship, or sometimes single men desiring to be parents) create a “genetic cocktail” which is implanted in the surrogate mother, through IVF. The procedure is expensive, ranging from $50000 to $150000 (including compensating the mother) and tends to work only for the affluent. Some clinics report that 90% of their business comes from gay men. There seems to have occurred a major sea change on the idea of gay men becoming parents in the 1990s, as behaviors changed as a result of HIV and as social policy debates centered more on service and personal commitment (ranging from gay marriage and civil unions to gays in the military). This probably was much too late for those of my generation.

Gay men may see surrogacy as emotionally more desirable and adoption, and they can avoid intrusive investigations about "fitness" from social workers (as well as laws in a few states like Florida that prohibit gay adoptions -- something Rosie O'Donnell has fought).

I've wondered, if a man donates his sperm to a woman desiring children and does not agree to be the father, could he be held responsible later, at least without a contract? Maybe a visitor knows.

One can imagine that surrogate parenting does partially answer ideological moral objections (regarding homosexuality, as from the Vatican) concerning "openness to new life" and participation in raising the next generation, although it does not connect these with sexuality would not answer claims that children have a "birthright" to opposite gendered parents.

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