While same-sex couples having children is nothing new, there are now more options than ever for those who long to increase the size of their family but are unable to conceive by traditional methods. While lesbians have long utilized artificial insemination to have biological children, gay men have had three options when it comes to raising kids: coparenting with women, adoption, or surrogacy. Fed up with legal headaches and adoption discrimination, many gay and bisexual men have begun thinking outside the box—and out of the country—to fulfill their dreams of becoming parents.
Based in Hyderabad, India, the Kiran Infertility Center has been a leading presence in international surrogacy and infertility for four years, assisting people from 21 countries around the globe. The center offers an all-inclusive surrogacy package for international clients, regardless of nationality or sexual orientation, that handles medical procedures, counseling, lodging, and post-birth legal guidance. As a bonus, there's some local travel and sightseeing, says Samit Sekhar, MD, the clinic's chief embryologist: "The only things intended parents need to do is to inform us of their schedule and arrive in Hyderabad. We take care of the rest."
Sekhar says that unlike at many American clinics, there's no waiting period at Kiran. Once the client signs on, the clinic begins the process by preparing the surrogate and allowing the parents-to-be access to its database of egg donors.
Kiran employs case managers in various cities across the U.S. and Canada (it recently announced its latest addition in Seattle) to assist with medical and other issues and keep clients in the loop with weekly updates. That stateside access offers peace of mind to many would-be dads. And once the baby is born, the clinic provides the legal assistance that helps the new parents obtain a passport and exit visa for their bundle of joy.
The total bill typically comes to $25,000-$40,000, depending on whether the egg donor is a local woman from India or a woman flown in from North America or Europe. It's a far cry from the more typical $80,000 bill for a surrogacy handled in the United States. A U.S. surrogate's fee alone can be up to $25,000, with medical costs, legal fees, additional fees for multiple births, and miscellaneous extras on top of that.
And couples who have previously run into legal or religious barriers while trying to adopt a baby from India needn't fear. Sekhar points out that adoption and surrogacy are two separate legal matters in that country.
"To date, we have not faced any issues regarding surrogacy for same-sex couples from any religious group or from the government," he says. And the proposed Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill 2010, awaiting approval, will codify that surrogacy is available to all couples as long as their relationship is recognized in their own country.