Despite your political affiliations, you’ve probably picked a favorite candidate for the 2020 Presidential race. And while we usually stay away from politics, we couldn’t help but notice a particularly interesting candidate from our home state of Indiana – Pete Buttigieg. “Mayor Pete”, as he’s more commonly referred to among his constituents, is a Rhodes Scholar, Afghanistan War veteran, and would be the country’s first openly gay nominee from a major political party.
One discussion that got our attention was his announcement to the press that he and his husband are hoping to have children soon. Now, we certainly do not know the route that Mr. Buttigieg and his husband will choose to build their family, but the fact that they have options is encouraging. In the past, adoption was one of the only options male gay couples had to build their families. And while adoption is a beautiful way to build your family, it is not a solution for everyone. It has only been recently that openly gay male couples could build their families through pregnancy with a genetic link.
Surrogacy as we know it has only been around for about 30 years. However, the history of surrogacy goes all the way back to biblical times. In the book of Genesis, Sarah cannot give Abraham a child so she gave her servant, Hagar, to her husband as a surrogate. As medical science advanced, the 1980s and 90s brought forth several high-profile surrogacy cases (most famously “Baby M”), but during this time, traditional surrogacy was the norm. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate uses her own egg and carries the child for another couple or person to raise. Traditional surrogacy, while still an option in some states, can be legally risky and often allows the surrogate to be able to establish parental rights to the child(ren). In the late 1980s, the first gestational surrogacy cases began to pave the way for surrogacy as we know it today. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate has no biological connection to the child, as the egg is provided by the intended mother or an egg donor. As legislators have better refined a safe and legal framework for intended parents to establish their parental rights, gestational surrogacy has become a more common practice.
As surrogacy became a more common practice, it was still predominantly an option for heterosexual couples to build their families. Once gay marriage became legal, it became more socially acceptable and legally sound for gay couples to go through fertility treatments and to have babies with a biological connection. While there are no statistics on how many gay men are turning to surrogacy to build their families, surrogacy providers estimate that they have seen a 30-40% increase in gay men clientele. In fact, our agency is a proud supporter of Men Having Babies, a non-profit organization geared specifically to help educate and support men embarking on gestational surrogacy journeys to build their families.
So, Mayor Pete, if you think that gestational surrogacy is the right route for you and your husband to build your family, we’re here (in your home state) and would love to talk. Just sayin’.